Ed Bauer Talks About Growth In 1980


Ed Bauer moved to Half Moon Bay in 1960 where he became the publisher and editor of the Half Moon Bay Review for about 25 years.

(In 1980 I interviewed him for my documentary, “The Mystery of Half Moon Bayâ€?. Here are some quotes that did not air).

On Growth:

“The community was essentially rural [when Ed arrived in 1960]. A rural community with an emphasis on agriculture. And it was just beginning to change from an agricultural area to a commuter or suburban area.

“When I came here they were building 9-10 houses a year on the whole Coastside—that would be from San Gregorio into Montara.

“And the cost of lots in Montara was from $300 to $400 which was less than the sewer assessment for the lot. So it was still pretty much…I’d describe it s a rural area in transition….

“…In the 1960s I made a statement that I didn’t want to see Half Moon Bay become another Pacifica. We wanted balanced growth. We didn’t want to see ultra-high density population and rows and rows f houses with no open space.

“What we were looking for was balanced growth. There’s enough area over here for a balance in the growth.

“I think this is what the City of Half Moon Bay has been attempting to accomplish—of having a balance between open space and housing.

“One of our biggest concerns was the people of San Francisco—we could see them pouring into Pacifica which had this ultra-high population density. And, with this came problems in schools, crime, and traffic, public activities and taxes.

“You get what’s called a ‘bedroom community’ which has an economic imbalance.

“We want to have some agriculture. We wanted to have some fishing. We wanted to have jobs for people who live here…â€?


On the Coastal Commission

“Parts of coastal communities in California are exempt from the Coastal Commision: L.A., Santa Cruz, San Francisco, exempt. By political pressure they were able to get special concessions because they have more political muscle.

“The Coastal Commission is one law for one group, another law for another group.

“Half Moon Bay, because of the lack of political muscle, couldn’t stand up to the Coastal Commission the way other cities could on the coast.

“Frenchman’s Creek is a typical example. Quite a few homes were bought by people who lived in the area, then they made a return on their houses at Frenchman’s Creek. Some of
the very same people have gone to the Golf Links.

“…I don’t think Montara Mountain is going to be packed with house side-byside. I think even if the Coastal Commission hadn’t been in effect, there are certain pressures operating, just like they operated against the Ocean Shore Railroad.â€?

Impressions of the Coastside: 1960 & 1980

Ed Bauer, the former editor/publisher of the Half Moon Bay Review arrived on the Coastside in 1960. Twenty years later he appeared in my documentary, “The Mystery of Half Moon Bayâ€?.

Here are two sets of Ed Bauer’s observatons that remain true about this special place we all call home.

Ed Bauer describes the Coatside when he arrived in 1960.

“When I came here there was no dental office except one man who was over 87- years-old—and he came over on Saturday afternoon from 2 to 4.

“An excellent man, Dr. Sissom, who had an office in San Mateo, and he liked to come to Half Moon Bay on Saturday afternoons and he would attend to your teeth.

“…When I came here in 1960, there was one lawyer who came over here from Redwood City—the late Richard Bell—and he came over on Thursday.

“That was the lawyers day—and now [1981] I would say we have at least six lawyers in the area who are active, very active.â€?

He didn’t comment on how many dentists there were in 1980, but I suspect there were fewer than there were lawyers!

Ed Bauer gives an example of the type of person arriving on the Coastside circa 1980.

“..We had a man who had an excellent [law] practice in a larger city in New England. And he just wanted to leave the metropolitan area and live in a small community.

“…and the surroundings of Half Moon Bay are somewhat, along the coast itself, resemble New England to a slight extent…

“He likes to have a rural setting. He likes the outdoors. He doesn’t care to work in a downtown corporate suite.

“He’s his own man….â€?

Photo: Ed Bauer with daughter, Ann.

photos by Jerry Koontz