Daily Post Staff Writer
The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors has given a $40,000 grant, funded by sales taxes, to the publisher of the Half Moon Bay Review and Pacifica Tribune.
The vote wasn’t unanimous. Supervisors Ray Mueller, David Canepa and Dave Pine voted in favor. Warren Slocum voted against the grant and Noelia Corzo abstained from voting. The money comes from Measure K, a sales tax measure sold to voters as a way to fund housing and public safety.
Corzo said before the vote that there could be a concern about unbiased reporting when a supervisor funds the media.
County Attorney John Nibbelin said there is no law prohibiting the supervisors from giving newspapers the money.
Slocum, who voted against the grant, didn’t say anything during the hearing other than voting no. Previously, he had questioned Mueller’s Measure K grant to the conservation nonprofit Green Foothills to fund a meditation program called Healing in Nature.
Mueller said the Coastside News Group Inc. requested a grant from his office and is being fulfilled in order to “help them out for the hit they took during the pandemic.”
Mueller said the paper is important to the coastside and keeping local news alive is important for the public’s health in order to understand what decisions are being made that affect the area.
Coastside resident Carlysle Ann Young criticized the move during public comment, saying passing Measure K tax dollars to a commercial entity doesn’t seem to be the best use of the money when there are other issues in the area.
Lenny Mendoca, who is on the Coastside News Group’s board, thanked Mueller for the contribution.
At the board’s May 3 meeting, Mueller asked the rest of the board to approve granting $39,000 to KHMB Community Radio for equipment improvements to ensure the station runs during an emergency. He also requested $50,000 to Pescadero Public Radio Service to broaden outreach, create a youth program and improve station operations. Those requests were approved unanimously.