Updated: City Council candidates debate at Cañada Cove

UPDATED 9/30. In a posting on the Half Moon Bay Review’s chat board “TalkAbout” Clay Lambert, the editor of the paper, says “…let me say that is not a very good headline. I probably wrote it and I should have been more precise.”

After discussing the Ruddock op-ed letter and pointing out that it is difficult to make out exactly its position is, he concludes, “I didn’t do a very good job on the headline four years ago and I don’t want to take anything out of context now.”

The original post by Lambert can be found here, fifth post down, and is also reproduced below.

The issue about the authorship of the headline arose at the Cañada Cove Candidate Forum on Sunday when Half Moon Bay City Council candidate Rick Kowalczyk accused rival Deborah Ruddock of writing “No growth is good growth” in an op-ed in the Half Moon Bay Review. Montara Fog videotaped the forum. A search of the Review archives showed that the phrase was taken from the headline of the article and does not appear in the op-ed itself. It is common practice for the editorial staff of a paper to write the headlines to all articles, including opinion pieces.

Original Story:

The 2009 candidates for Half Moon Bay City Council met Sunday for a candidate forum. The forum was sponsored by the Cañada Cove Homeowners Association and the event was expertly moderated by Jim Henderson. Fourteen questions were asked over the two hours ranging from Beachwood to sidewalks.

The discussion was pointed but overall friendly in tone. For example, during closing statements Outland Coffee owner Dan Handler offered rival Charles Hoelzel his extra time. However, business consultant Rick Kowalczyk “went negative” in both Question 14 and in his closing remarks (see videos, below), repeatedly accusing Deborah Ruddock of opposing all growth in the City.

In his comments Kowalczyk quoted Ruddock as saying “No growth is good growth,” citing the Half Moon Bay Review as his source. Ruddock denied that she said or advocated such a policy, pointing out that she was the co-author of Measure D which limits growth to one percent. Kowalczyk was apparently referring to this 2005 op-ed piece in the HMB Review. The op-ed is indeed entitled “No growth is good growth” but that phrase does not appear in the body of the text. It is common practice for the editorial staff to write the title of op-ed’s, not the author. The text of the op-ed makes a case for “slow, limited growth” which is offset by protections to the environment.

Videos by Darin Boville

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Post by Clay Lambert on the HMB chat board “TalkAbout,” dated September 30, 2009:

Hey Gang,

First let me say that is not a very good headline. I probably wrote it and I should have been more precise. Here’s Deborah Ruddock’s letter to the editor from 2005.

>Web Link

I read the letter a couple times and I am a little confused about the point she was making. She writes:

‘A majority of us in this town didn’t buy the growth-is-good argument in the past and we don’t buy this argument now. Half Moon Bay voters have repeatedly signaled their preference for slow, limited growth…”

But then later writes:

‘These same voters passed by a two-thirds margin the slow growth propositions Measure G, Measure A and Measure D and went on to elect other quality of life candidates.

Key to the success of these candidates and ballot initiatives is the community’s insight that there really is no growth that could occur on the Coastside, in which existing residents would be left no worse off than they are now, both now and in the future…”

If you are interested, please read the whole thing for yourself. As I say, I didn’t do a very good job on the headline four years ago and I don’t want to take anything out of context now.

Clay, Editor of the Half Moon Bay Review, 56 minutes ago

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