Clay Fountain One-Of-A-Kind Man (Part II)

Clay12JPG.jpgClay Fountain was one of many Coastsiders I interviewed in 1980-81 for a documentary called “The Mystery of Half Moon Bay”.

Here are more of Clay’s comments. (See the earlier post for more information on his background).

–The Coastal Commission–

“I think the Coastal Commission has worked quite well although I know a lot of resentment has built up against it recently.

“The opponents of Prop 20 weren’t able to deflect it at the polls and so then they set up about working at it, in all sorts of other ways, at local levels, running advertising, getting groups together which sometimes misrepresent what the Coastal Commission is trying to do.

“In the interim the Coastal Commission has tended to soften some of its attitudes somewhat.

“And I disagree with that.

“I think they shouldn’t have softened under this underground and sometimes open attacks by people who are interested in getting richer, getting fatter and having more power.

–Coastside Roads–

“I’m perfectly happy with the roads the way they are.

“I think Devil’s Slide is dangerous and I would agree to having a bypass on the other side of the mountain—but not a massive freeway.

“Like we try to get off our side street on a Saturday or Sunday and sometimes you gotta wait 20 minutes before you find a break in traffic.

-Coastside Fog—

“Enduring fog is worth it to me because there are so many aspects…I can hear the surf pounding at night and I can hear the sea fowl calling down there and there’s a school of smelt or anchovies and I can hear the wind in the trees.”

“I find that they [newcomers] change after they get here…they become excited about the coastside and wish that so many more wouldn’t come…

“I was a naturalist and I loved the outdoors and a clean environment from the time I was a child. I’ve spent time in big cities and I don’t like big cities…”

-Environmental Movement-

“My feeling is that the ecology and environmental movement is growing. It’s growing steadily and will one day be the cause of a spiritual rebirth…

“I think we’re marking time. There’s population trickling in. The sewer plant is now going to be built but there’s been some limits put on what can happen with the sewer plant.

“I think there will bew a continuing increase in the population but we’ll still be able to keep it under what the developers want to do……”

Clay Fountain: One-Of-A-Kind Man (Part 1)


During 1980-81, I worked on a t.v. documentary, called “The Mystery of Half Moon Bayâ€?.

Clay Fountain, whose comments follow, had campaigned for the 1976 California Coastal Act and had been the El Granada postmaster. Yes—he was eccentric– today some would say radical—but he was also very kind. I remember one time he called me after the post office had closed—he told me a special package had arrived (it was my birthday) and he waited for me to come and pick it up.

Clay Fountain is no longer with us. A Half Moon Bay friend brought me along to visit him before he passed—he was then living in a Foster City “homeâ€? but the elderly widower suffered from Alzheimer’s….

–On Growth—

“…that all started in 1971 when the Granada Sanitary District and the Half Moon Bay City Council voted to form a joint powers agency which would have authority to get grant funds and build a $5 million sewage disposal facility….

“A group of citizens banded together in opposition to building that disposal plant because it was meant to open up the area for high-density housing and industry and commerce.

“We were able to get an injunction. Fred Lyon (who became a County Supervisor) came into the picture at that time. He was just a law student but he helped to prepare it.

“We had an organization called SOS, Save Our Shoreline..”

–Living On The Coastside–

“I came here because it was a pastoral scene—it was pleasant and serene and I’d like it to kind of stay that way.

“The whole massive growth thing—big institutions, big government…everything seems to keep getting bigger and bigger. And the individual is either being turned into a zombie or is being made into a kind of slave for this massivity.

“I campaigned hard for Prop. 20 [1976 California Coastal Act which greatly limited Coastside construction) and I was glad it passed and it passed very strongly in this area because [pause] natural beauty, scenic majesty ought to be like the air, you shouldn’t have to pay for it and it shouldn’t be cluttered up.

“The cosmos gives us these things.”

–Clay Fountain’s Philosophy–

“I have a very peculiar sense of what ownership is…I think the cosmos owns everything and that it’s improper for people to buy it or steal it or seize it and say, now this is mine, and I’m the only one to use it.

“I think the cosmos owns everything. The earth belongs to all of us and we ought to be humble about that and use it not for vain glory, not to get fatter than anyone or richer and use what abundance there is on earth in a fair and pleasant way.”

…to be continued…