1935 (Depression Era): Mondays with the Supes; Tuesdays with the Coastside Civic Union

[Below: I’m trying to make sense out of a politically charged  tiff, in 1935, between some county supervisors, including Supervisor Witt, and the editor/publisher of the Half Moon Bay Review.

There’s been a meeting at the Half Moon Bay Inn. Speeding up mail delivery, farm modernization and the revival of the Ocean Shore Railroad has been discussed. I have also included an article about the Coastside Civic Union’s meeting which took place at the same time.

From the Half Moon Bay Review, October 17, 1935

Coastside Civic Union Meets at Half Moon Bay

The Coastside Civic Union held its regular monthly dinner meeting at the Half Moon Bay Inn, Tuesday night, with president M.J. Bettencourt presiding.

The matter of improving the Coastside Mail service was taken up. The postmasters present: W.R. Bailey of Rockaway Beach, R. Guy Smith of Moss Beach, Mrs. Charlotte Cavalli of Half Moon Bay and R.F.D. Carrier Harry L. Nelson of Half Moon Bay spoke on the benefits of an earlier mail arrival. The organization asked Secretary R. Guy Smith to take the matter up with the Post Office Department and find out what could be done in reference to it.

After Major Chas. Gans, county health director, told of the huge population in the north end of the county and its population being 35,000, he said that the hog owners were certainly remodeling their ranches to conform with all the state and county laws and if one were to visit that district now he would see much activity.

Dr. Gans then introduced Sid F. Dommes, Jr., district supervisor of community sanitation, U.S. Department of Health, who spoke at length about sanitation for the rural districts and asked for cooperation stating that the county health department was assisting in the campaign being waged under the WPA for modernizing farm sanitation. The farmers are now required to supply about $24 and the federal government will supply the work for building privies.


October 17, 1935

From the Half Moon Bay Review

Dunn Answers

Blast From Witt,

Kellogg at Meet

After being introduced by President M.J. Bettencourt at the monthly meeting of the Coastside Civic Union Monday night, Supervisor Al Witt and County Executive Walter Kellogg condemned the press of San Mateo county in general and the Half Moon Bay Review in particular for not publishing a correct interpretation of the meetings at the board of supervisors. Both stated that the activities of the board did not warrant the headlines in the public press.

Answering these accusations, Editor George E. Dunn stated that the press of San Mateo county and particularly the Half Moon Bay Review and Pescadero Pebble were not given to making misstatements, and if anyone present wished to find out the facts all they need do is to attend the meetings of the board of supervisors and they would readily be convinced at the correctness of the press’s statements. Moreover, the papers did by far not publish the complete acts and facts happening  at these meetings and that quite a number of these unsavory circumstances deserved much larger headlines. Both of them dealt at length on the so-called efficiency inefficiency of County Engineer Carl R. Scott.

In his talk, the county executive said, “This is my first public statement on why I selected Urban S. Marshall as county engineer to replace James S. James and Carl Scott, I, as executive of San Mateo county, went out of the county for Mr. Marshall because I believe it to be to the best interest of the county, to get an outside engineer, as all engineers were working for or had been working either for James or George Kneese.”

Chairman Francis of the San Mateo county board of supervisors pledged the directors of the Joint Highway District No. 9 support to the Ocean Shore Railroad officials where and when possible and added that the Joint Highway district had turned over $125,000 to the state highway department for the building of the Pedro sector on the boulevard , it was now up to the state for actual construction of that much needed section of the road.

Others who spoke were Mrs. Elsie McGinn, Mrs. Stein, president of the San Mateo Women’s club, Mayor C.A. Buck of Burlingame, Supervisor Walter High, Marshall, Dr. C.C. Gans and others of the county political officialdom.

At the conclusion of the meeting everyone present expressed praise for the notable success of the flower and agricultural fiesta just closed and expressed the wish that it would be a yearly occurrence with ever-growing success.


From an  unidentified “newspaper” that brags: Largest Number Coast Readers than all the county Newspapers Combined

Friday, October 19, 1935

Let’s Tell The Truth

Just why a real pleasurable, enthusiastic meeting such as was held by the Coastside Civic Union at the Half Moon Bay Inn on Tuesday evening last, the aftermath of which should be vilified, is what the 100 or more persons who attended are asking each other. As all know, there is no valid reason for the printing of such stories as have been printed in the several newspapers since the meeting, except to give one man some cheap notoriety, practically all which stories are untrue.

Both County Executive Kellogg and Supervisor Al Witt used practically the same expression in speaking of the newspapers of the county: “That the county newspapers did not seem to understand and many times misconstrued the actions of the county board and county officials….”


[Looks like this may be from a political newsletter. There’s no identification.]

Supervisors Aver Stories

Do Injustice

But Dunn, Publisher, Says Press Often Spares Board

That the press stories printed about the supervisors’ meetings every Monday were “incorrect” and “unfair” was charged at a meeting of the Coastside Civic Union last night by Supervisor Albert Witt, Jr., Colma, and County Executive Walter Kellogg.

But George Dunn, Half Moon Bay publisher, who attended the meeting, arose to the defense of the press and asserted that more than often the stories were written to lessen the controversies which actually took place and were not exaggerated, he said.

[Supervisors] Witt and Kellogg next turned their guns of attack on County Engineer Carl Scott and charged that he assertedly was “inefficient.”

Kellogg told the gathering that his purpose in securing the services of Urban S. Marshall,  former Piedmonter, now residing here, was to get an outsider who had not had contacts with either former County Engineers George Kneese or James S. James.

Assurance was given the Coastsiders that Harry Cole and associates intend to proceed with the rehabilitation of the Ocean Shore railroad.

Manuel Francis, coast representative, told the gathering that the Ocean Shore highway district recently had turned $125,000 over to the state for work on the coast  road.


[This is from an unidentified sheet of paper]

One month ago at the meeting of the Civic Union, I said, among other things, that the people were often given incorrect impressions by our local newspapers at what the Board of Supervisors did at their meetings–that unfavorable headlines which were not justified by the facts, often gave this county unfavorable publicity.

You all who were present heard Mr. Dunn’s feeble defense–scarcely a dozen words–which I now recall your Secretary has quoted quite correctly in his minutes just read.

Next day Bay Dailies carried screaming headlines “Dunn delivers STINGING REBUKE to Witt,” then followed half columns purporting to quote what Dunn had said – In Dunn’s own paper he makes himself use some one hundred words to again mis-inform his readers – he stands convicted of exactly what I accused him of – misstatements in his paper.

If Mr. Dunn cannot correctly quote himself, it’s no wonder he misquotes others.