A brickbat for the Tribune

February 8, 2015
Keith Gurnee

Keith Gurnee


Shame on the Tribune’s editorial and Bruce Gibson’s Viewpoint rant for totally missing the mark on the leadership changes on the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors.

Anyone who attended that meeting would have been stunned with Chairman Frank Mecham’s self-sacrificing, selfless decision to step down as chair and allowing Supervisor Debbie Arnold to become chair and Lynn Compton vice chair. With a grumbling crowd poised to pounce on Mecham and Supervisor Adam Hill, the audience’s reaction to Mecham’s motion quickly turned to praise. Consider what really happened:

1. Supervisor Arnold was finally given her first opportunity at chair, a position Hill has already occupied before.

2. It removed the advantage of giving the bully pulpit as chair to Arnold and Hill during 2016, the year of their potential reelection campaigns.

3. It reordered the rotation so that Hill would become chair in 2017 should he be reelected in 2016.

Amazingly, supporters of Hill and Gibson were nowhere to be seen that day. Seeing the writing on the wall, the duo still chose to oppose Debbie Arnold as chair and left the meeting steaming and pouting. So much for Gibson’s call for “collegiality.”

Frank Mecham proved himself a statesman deserving of a bouquet. As for the Tribune, it deserves a brickbat for “letting no good deed go unpunished.”

Keith Gurnee is a Cal Poly graduate, a former member of the San Luis Obispo City Council and a principal at RRM Design Group. Gurnee retired from RRM in 2013 and was elected as president of the California Planning Roundtable, a state-wide think tank organization.



  1. Toadstomper says:

    It will be interesting to see what kind of a chairperson Supervisor Arnold will turn out to be. Someone who strives for an open and respectful discussion of a broad spectrum of opinions, or someone who uses the position to further her own agenda. For the sake of this county, let’s all hope her actions prove her to be to be the former type of chairperson, and not the latter.

    With regard to endlessly bashing Mechum or Gibson- what a waste of energy! How about focusing instead on the issues that this current board has to deal with, such as water rights and usage in north county? Character assassination is so much easier and more fun than having a respectful and meaningful exchange of ideas where you have to actually listen to someone with an opinion different than your own.

    (12) 12 Total Votes - 12 up - 0 down
    • Mike Byrd says:

      Politically, there are many issues where Chairperson Arnold and I are on opposite sides and there are some where we agree. What I can say is she is open, respectful, willing to listen and just plain nice, all characteristics that are important in a board chair. She will do a great job in her new role.

      (7) 11 Total Votes - 9 up - 2 down
  2. Tacoma641 says:

    Slowerfaster, could you please explain to me how you can “Extendand Compound” a “Nonexistant problem”? I’m thinking others might like to know also.

    (19) 33 Total Votes - 26 up - 7 down
    • isoslo says:

      Haven’t you read enough of Slowerfaster’s comments to know that anything that disagrees with his/her far left agenda is the problem. No exceptions. Bruce and Adam are his/her role models

      (10) 18 Total Votes - 14 up - 4 down
      • Slowerfaster says:

        I am so gratified that you Kevin, know so much about me, but evidently have no clue whether I am a woman or a man.

        I am wondering if you might be confused about gender identity ?
        There are some good books on the subject now that could help.

        BTW …did you ever take that political compass test ? Very enlightening.
        I’m happily in a group with Carl Sagan, Noam Chomsky, and FDR.

        For Tacoma, my point was that the naming of the Board chair and vice chair had never presented a problem before. At the January meeting, all of the Supes voted on it without objection; but it was made a tempest in a teapot by the pitchforks patrol and their spokesmodels whose only purpose and ‘agenda’ is to stir up controversy and argument.
        Frank M did not end anything by his stepping down …he only removed himself somewhat from being in the center of the fracas. Probably best for his own peace of mind, but not the noblest act.

        (-6) 20 Total Votes - 7 up - 13 down
  3. Slowerfaster says:

    Not much objective in this opinion piece, except for the apt description of the ‘grumbling crowd’.
    That’s all that this lot of malcontents and whiners do, and their time-wasting antics are one good reason why others of sounder minds fail to show.

    That Mechams snap resignation was done without advance notice or ‘informed’ public comment should be troubling to all; and sets the stage for more ad hoc moments invented willy-nilly by the new chair and vice chair.
    Rather than resolving a non-existent ‘problem’, Frank Mecham extended and compounded it.
    He may have received plaudits from the ‘tar-and-feathers’ crowd that are habitual trouble makers, but this shows a lack of character and judgment.

    (-48) 82 Total Votes - 17 up - 65 down
    • Kevin Rice says:

      Mecham did give notice IN ADVANCE of public comment. Oops. Didn’t mean to blow a hole in your boat.

      (32) 58 Total Votes - 45 up - 13 down
    • OnTheOtherHand says:

      “Non-existent ‘problem’?” Really? I am a political moderate with views slightly closer to Hill and Gibson but their past behavior as part of a board majority was very much a problem to me. Arrogance and manipulative behavior is not becoming no matter what your point of view. If Arnold and/or Compton display the same type of behavior towards their opponents I will turn on them too.

      (38) 56 Total Votes - 47 up - 9 down
  4. justbeware says:

    The Trib gets brickbats tossed their way each and every day as subscription numbers decline, and readers seek out alternative news sources such as CCN.

    They seem to get more desperate as the days go by.
    Voters rejected their candidate choices in the recent election in record numbers.
    Their bias is bad for business, yet they don’t appear to be willing or able to stop themselves.

    (52) 78 Total Votes - 65 up - 13 down
    • LameCommenter says:

      Well putand TIMELY, justbeware. This very day we were re-thinking our subscription to the One Way Fib. We keep continuing it because the New times “tab” sized format just doesn’t fold easily for the bottom of the parrot cage, but also admittedly, I’m a news junkie who soaks up and craves all points and expressions of view, even the Trib and the San Ardo NPR robot liberal station extremes.

      Today’s latest Trib editorial on the BOS water ordinance vote and Trib faithful selection of liberal view LTE’s just about did us in, however. Truly over-the-top and always on the other side from our family thinking. RIP Trib, you may not last so long.

      (24) 44 Total Votes - 34 up - 10 down
    • OnTheOtherHand says:

      Unfortunately, the Tribune still seems have influence with the voters and leaders within the city of SLO. The rest of the county may be rejecting their propaganda in increasing numbers but they may survive (barely) as a town paper.

      Also, they are simply following the model of the national media of catering to the views of powerful politicians and business interests to maintain “access” and ad revenue. They (or perhaps their bosses) have yet to figure out that such a model may not work as well in relatively small markets where it is easier for the average citizen to find out the truth about what is happening without relying on dominant media sources.

      (15) 39 Total Votes - 27 up - 12 down
  5. JB Bronson says:

    Gibson’s call for “collegiality” was bait, so he and Hill could maneuver as anything but collegially.

    Heady stuff, but Hill and Gibson leaving the meeting “steaming and pouting” affirms their emotional age at about 5.

    (47) 71 Total Votes - 59 up - 12 down
  6. Maxfusion says:

    Spot on Mr. Gurnee, a voice of reason in a sea of silliness. In the matter of The Tribune, thank God for CCN.

    (35) 65 Total Votes - 50 up - 15 down
  7. CambriaMaven says:

    Thank you. And thank you to Supervisor Mecham for your decision to step down as chair of the board of supervisors, an act of genuine leadership.
    The folks commenting and supporting Debbie were clear and perhaps so surprised at his suggestion, that his act of leadership went essentially unnoticed by the other supervisors and those who commented. A little ironic to see all the self-centered reactions to what was an essentially unselfish act.

    Supervisor Mecham clearly understands how to approach even the most blood-stirring of issues in an even-handed way. The county would have benefitted from the air of fairness and experience he brings with him into the chambers each week and that atmosphere would have been dominant with him as chair. I hope that feeling will linger as Supervisor Arnold takes the chair position. I hope she will carry forward in that spirit, remembering not just the support that folks were there to give her, but also the comments of those who said that supervisor Mecham’s action restored their ability to believe in our government and elected officials.

    I trust that Supervisors Arnold and Compton are up to the roles they will take on this year and congratulate them. I am sure Supervisor Mecham’s brief stint as Chair will prove to be more than a palate cleanser, and I truly hope that all the supervisors will aspire to be great leaders alongside him, for all of our sakes.

    (43) 83 Total Votes - 63 up - 20 down

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