1950s: Incorporation of the Unincorpated Areas Comes Up From Time to Time

From the Half Moon Bay Review, 1950s

“The appearance of Edward Milton Tonini of Princeton on Jan 7 at a public meeting of citizens to discuss the possibility of incorporation of the area between Devil’s slide and Half Moon Bay was followed by a variety of statements.

“The meeting had been called by Herb Shaffer, a contractor who had said that it would be a “fact finding” meeting.

“During many long dissertations, Tonini stated ‘we of the ‘home rule’ don’t claim to be democratic, but we’re doing something both positive and necessary. We’re taking steps to form a town, and we’ll do that our way. After that, steps will be taken to educate the people to our ideas.’ He then described the legal procedures leading to incorporation.

“He continued, ‘After these steps have been taken, the democratic steps will come later! We’re convinced we’re right! If you don’t like us, then oppose us! If you like us, then join us!’

“Shortly after that statement, Shaffer was queried by Rev. George Clemmons on Shaffer’s plan to elect a committee . Clemmons said, ‘It looks as if you already have picked a committee. Eleven people stood up when you asked earlier.’

“Repeated objections by Tonini to Clemmons statement that eight of the eleven of Shaffer’s sympathizers were from Princeton and El Granada, and three from Montara-Moss Beach, led Mr. Frank Dillon, local manager of Citizen’s Utilities, to admonish Tonini, “You’re ignoring the Chair!”

During the ensuing argument between Tonini and Dillon, whom Tonini had previously praised as one of his most hardworking supporters, Tonini demanded to know why Shaffer was the chairman, who had appointed him, and by what authority Shaffer had appointed himself.

During the argument many of the audience arose and walked out of the meeting which was already later than the time allowed by the school.

Despite Shaffer’s announcement that it would be an unbiased study meeting, one conversation led some members in the audience of 32 persons, to comment that Shaffer seemed to welcome the cross examination.

After continued cross-examination, Tonini concluded, “That’s all, Mr. Shaffer. I have no further questions.” An attempt by Mr. Ray Hahn to interrupt the conversation was declined by Chairman Shaffer.

Challenged by Clyde “Bob” Davis to state his name, Tonini replied, “Who is asking?”

“Bob Davis, Moss Beach.”

“You know my name very well.”

“State your name!”

“Edward Milton Tonini.”

After verbal skirmishes by Tonini with some members of the audience, including Davis and Alex MacGregor, Raymond Ray, former San Francisco policeman, asked Shaffer, “Why don’t you form a committee and discuss the people you want?”

After further discussion, Tonini advised Shaffer, “That’s the way we do things in El Granada.”

Shaffer stated, “I suggest that for membership on the committee, they will have to agree to sign a petition for incorporation.”

Tonini spoke at length on his incorporation work in Princeton and said, “There are only three people up here in Montara that helped me. They worked very hard for me. I mean Frank Dillon, Ray Hahn, and his wife, Civita. It takes an awful lot of work. ” He continued, “Now, down there we know who worked and who didn’t. You’ve got only two and you’ve got to find out who is dedicated. You’ll find us waiting for you.”

Shaffer: “I pay recognition to your committee’s work.”

Davis commented, “There is a law of physics which says that for every force there is an opposite and equal force, and I tell you, Mr. Shaffer, that if you form your committee, one will spring up to oppose it.”

Tonini: “We welcome it. Incorporation counts now. Anti-incorporation counts little.”

Shaffer: “Who is we?”

Tonini: “The property owners, businessmen and tax payers.”

Shaffer: “I want it, too, but I want to get there peacefully.”

“Oh, Mr. Shaffer,” said Tonini. “That is impossible.”

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