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Wendy Andary

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The Real Dirt on Gavin Newsom's Visit to Half Moon Bay: From Someone Who Was Actually There

Posted: 10/12/11 07:51 PM ET

Readers, please be advised: for the wildly sensational and fictional version of this event, please refer back to the colorful ramblings of Matier and Ross.

The bottom line is this: the articles proclaiming "Gavin Newsom Draws Boos by Attacking Democrats" are flat out wrong and misleading.

We were very appreciative that he was there to speak to us and grateful he was so giving of his time that night.

The crowd I heard was cheering not jeering.

And I think we all left feeling inspired by Gavin Newsom, ready to fight the good fight and keep our president in office. But most of all, we left very proud to be a member of the Democratic party!

It's amazing how an evening filled with inspiration, ideas and intelligent conversation can be reduced to nothing more than gossip column fodder.

However, that is precisely what seems to have happened in the days following the lt. governor's visit to my town of Half Moon Bay, where he was an invited speaker at our annual Democratic Fall Party. As someone who was actually there for the entire event and heard every word Gavin Newsom said to the crowd, I am truly dumbfounded at the way the evening has been represented and how negatively the lt. governor has been portrayed.

Especially disturbing is that this is being spread around by people who weren't even there!

The irony of that, in fact, is that many media outlets (including the SF Chronicle) were invited to attend the event. But guess what? The Chron never even bothered to respond.

Apparently covering a small town political event like this was beneath the likes of their own Matier and Ross -- at least until they saw their golden opportunity to sling a little dirt around.

So yes, I find it interesting that the Chron didn't want to cover our actual event but had no problem recycling scraps from a poorly reported local story and throwing it together in a style befitting the National Enquirer.

Stories like this take on a life of their own when lazy journalism trumps telling the truth.

And why would they want to do that? Hearing what really happened that night probably wouldn't have supplied quite as many action words for their headlines.

"Boos" and "Jabs" are attention grabbers, after all.

But since it hasn't been brought up yet, and for the sake of actually hearing a firsthand account of the night, here it goes:

Did they reach out to the 120 or more that were in the audience that night? I can't even count how many of us have been reading these slanted and negative reports and have been wondering what event it was that they are actually talking about.

Yet no one seems to want to ask us. A quick call to our local Democratic Club would have yielded a far different response than the fictional story that's been presented as truth. However, in a move that would make even Rupert Murdoch blush, these two tabloid tyrants, Matier & Ross decided that fact-checking had no place in their story.

And lo and behold, the mythical, dark version of the evening has now grown legs and is running all over the country.

And the beauty of it for every irresponsible blog, periodical or newspaper that runs this load of bunk is that it takes just seconds to cut and paste this story and call it their own.

Now I'm all for recycling but sometimes garbage is just garbage and just shouldn't be recycled. This certainly qualifies.

What you haven't heard:

-There were more than 100 people there and while Gavin Newsom spoke there were dozens of instances of cheering, laughter and applause.

-He didn't restrict questions to one or two topics and he made it clear we could ask anything. He was eager to speak one on one with the people who showed up and spent his time doing just that before he addressed our group.

-Did I hear insults about Governor Brown or about the president? Did he "attack" any of our leaders? Hardly. Actually, quite the opposite. He was eager to inspire the crowd to get out and support them and help make our party the best it could be. Did he challenge ALL of us (including our leaders) to do more and do better? Absolutely. (And just to be clear, he included himself in that category).

The overwhelming majority who attended were excited about Newsom's comments and I heard over and over how refreshing everyone thought it was to hear honest and unrehearsed comments from someone in government, for a change.

As a matter of fact, the thing I heard repeated the most that night was how everyone really appreciated him "not acting like the usual politician and pretending like everything the party did was perfect."

Clearly we have work to do in order to fix our country and we all need to work harder. And that was his message. (Oh wait, is this where the crowd supposedly got angry and revolted)?

Sorry folks, it just didn't happen.

Oh, and about those highly publicized "jabs" and "boos" directed toward the lt. governor: It's a pretty sad day when the rude behavior of two (out of nearly 120) attendees can magically erase the real substance of the evening.

The few seconds they spent behaving this way was completely isolated and I should know because I was standing right next to both of them.

Too bad they didn't stick around to discuss their issues with the lt. governor in a more adult fashion, as he was more than willing to do so with everyone who approached him.