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Glaring omission?

By rgordon
Friday, February 9th, 2007 at 6:01 pm in Uncategorized.

Bay MeadowsThe Friends of Bay Meadows, who are still trying to save their beloved San Mateo race track from almost certain redevelopment, now believe their icon got the short end of the county’s historical stick on purpose.

Linda Schinkel, the coordinator for Friends of Bay Meadows, asked the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors Tuesday whether the lack of a mention of Bay Meadows Race Track in the county’s history documentary, “Made in America: San Mateo County’s History from Dairies to DNA,” was, perhaps, intentional. The one-hour film premiered in December.

Though the board is not involved in deciding the track’s fate, Supervisor Jerry Hill a former San Mateo councilman, has been outwardly supportive of the Bay Meadows Land Company’s redevelopment plans. Supervisor Mark Church has also taken campaign contributions from the company.

The Board of Supervisors gave $75,000 to the San Mateo County Historical Association early last year for the making of the film.

Schinkel wonders whether political support to redevelop the track, combined with the board’s financing of the film, had “subtracted Bay Meadows from the historical record.
“It appears that this may be a case of history being revised because of political pressure,” Schinkel said. “Politics should not be rewriting local history.”

Mitch Postel, the film’s executive producer and the president of the San Mateo County History Museum, said the omission was not because of any political leaning.

“There were so many important stories that we couldn’t tell if were going to make this into an hour-long video,” said Postel, who was responsible for overseeing the film’s historical accuracy. “I recognize Bay Meadows is important, but you’re more limited in a film version. You just are.”

Postel, however, said that Bay Meadows is covered extensively in his forthcoming book, “San Mateo County: A Sesquicentennial History,” including much about the Bay Meadows’ entrepreneurial founder, William Kyne.

Postel said the film’s development was overseen by a committee of citizens knowledgeable of the county’s history who had no axes to grind. He also apologized to any Bay Meadows supporters offended by the exclusion.

“I’m not the kind of person who wants to hide history, ever,” Postel said.

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