A few more neighborhoods like Ocean Colony and Measure T might have been in trouble.
While the Devil's Slide Tunnel Initiative passed overwhelmingly at the polls Nov. 5, garnering 73.7 percent support countywide, two coastal precincts kept the vote from being a clean sweep of all 522 voting precincts.
Measure T ran into trouble only in Ocean Colony, the subdivision at the south end of town, and in a 199-person unincorporated district just outside the Half Moon Bay city limits.
According to the official Statement of Vote approved by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, Ocean Colony voters turned down Measure T by a vote of 269 to 176, 60.4 percent opposed and 39.5 percent in support. Measure T also posted a loss, 46 votes to 51 votes, in a precinct for unincorporated residents east and south of Half Moon Bay.
Ed Stoehr, a leader in the No on T campaign and an Ocean Colony resident, acknowledged that his neighborhood frequently diverges from the rest of the coast's predominantly liberal leanings. "It's a little more conservative than the rest of the county."
The vote tally provided other surprises as well.
The City of Half Moon Bay was thought to be a stronghold of tunnel support, and the measure did pass in each of the city's other seven precincts. But the margin of victory was far below what some Peninsula cities posted. According to the tally, 54.2 percent of Half Moon Bay voters supported Measure T; the next lowest percentage was East Palo Alto's with 65.2 percent. Most cities hovered in the 73 to 77 percent range, with Portola Valley posting the highest yes vote at 81.3 percent.
By comparison, the Mid-Coast was more generous than Half Moon Bay with its yes votes, ranging from a low of 57.8 percent in Princeton and the El Granada Mobile Home Park to a high of 83.5 percent in a Think Tunnel stronghold in Montara: the area bounded by Seventh Street on the south and Kanoff Avenue.
Stoehr was not sure why Ocean Colony voters went against the measure, but acknowledged that a sizable number of residents in the gated golf community "are out of step with the (environmental) activists" that populate much of the coast. He suggested the vote may have gone the way it did in Ocean Colony due to a fear of losing federal funding already in place for the Martini Creek Bypass, leading to no solution at all.
"Philosophically, most of the people I associate with would rather have a bird in the hand than two in the bush," he said.
Stoehr also suggested a tie between the lower yes vote citywide and anxiety over the possibility of Devil's Slide going out again and residents having Highway 92 as the only road in and out of the Coastside.
While more conservative than the rest of the county on Measure T, Coastsiders' liberal colors shined in the presidential race. Fifty-four percent of Half Moon Bay residents and 57 percent of Mid-Coasters voted for President Clinton, while 31.6 percent and 21.6 percent, respectively, voted for Bob Dole. Ross Perot's Reform Party collected 5.5 percent support in Half Moon Bay and 9 percent on the Mid-Coast. Presidential voting patterns on the South Coast closely mirrored those in Half Moon Bay.
As for two controversial initiatives, voters split evenly on Proposition 209, the anti-affirmative action measure. Mid-Coast voters split their votes 1698 in favor and 1699 against, while Half Moon Bay voted 2,402 in favor and 2,066 against. As for Proposition 215, the medical marijuana initiative, Half Moon Bay favored it by more than a 3-1 margin, while the margin on the Mid-Coast was nearly 4-1.