Tom Fulks: the merchant of fear

May 25, 2016
T. Keith Gurnee

T. Keith Gurnee


Is anybody out there as tired as I am of the venomous rants of Tom Fulks? In his latest nastygram published in the San Luis Obispo Tribune attacking Supervisor Debbie Arnold, Fulks begs the question; “What’s the matter with Shangri-La?” The answer: just look in the mirror, Tom!

While Fulks’ columns constantly decry the rhetoric of hate, he is in fact hate’s primary local purveyor.

Why the Tribune continues to nurture his bilious bloviating is beyond me. His drivel targeting those who refuse to heed his overblown bombastics and conspiracy theories as the would- be, self-appointed tastemaker of local politics is little more than verbal flatulence. Quite simply, Fulks has become his own cartoon.

So what does he have against Supervisor Debbie Arnold? As someone who belongs to one of the oldest ranching families in the county, does Arnold care about protecting agriculture and the character of our scenic rural lands? Absolutely. Is she an advocate for property rights? You bet. Does she want to protect taxpayers from more unnecessary taxes? Yes. Does she have the courage to do what is right rather than doing whatever is popular? Does she want to limit the incessant intrusion of government into our everyday lives? Of course.

So for all of these “sins”, Fulks has chosen to characterize Arnold as the second coming of Armageddon. His latest impersonation of a panicking Chicken Little crying “the sky is falling!” Has a hollow, self-interested ring to it.

After all, it is well-known that he is a paid political consultant for the Bruce Gibson’s of this world who oppose what Debbie Arnold stands for. As evidence of this fact, one need only look at the list of financial contributors to Arnold’s opponent to see that Tom Fulks and Bruce Gibson are among them.

In his bimonthly column published in the Tribune, Fulks constantly fulminates about the relative risk of hate when he is in fact it’s primary instigator. Rather than blame the arsonist who burned down two homes in Nipomo that were slated to become farmworker housing, he blames the neighbors. Rather than offering any constructive ideas on how to deal with that issue, he only fans the flames. Instead of constructively contributing to “the happiest place in North America”, he does his best to tear it down. Rather than questioning the state’s revenue grab of funds away from local transportation projects, he happily endorses raising local taxes to pay for the state’s mismanagement of those funds.

But back to Debbie Arnold, a supervisor who cares deeply for this county. While some might not agree with everything she does, she has the courage of her convictions, the willingness to do what is right rather than only what is popular, and the commitment to protect our county’s agricultural heritage. That she does not cave in to the lunatic fringe fueled by false flame throwing is to her great credit.

Tom Fulks is nothing less than our local merchant of fear and the purveyor of hate. Constantly resorting to fear mongering, overblown emotionalism, and self-serving outbursts make him a propagandist, not a journalist.

Give your tantrums a rest Tom. We are sick and tired of them– and you.

T. Keith Gurnee is a retired urban designer and a former member of the San Luis Obispo City Council.



  1. Josey Wales says:

    I agree with Mr. T. Keith Gurney.

    Tom Fulks article about the Nipomo Arson (if it was, in fact, arson) shows that he is hopelessly tied to the rhetoric of the past. As a liberal ideologue, Fulks sees a racist plot here when obviously the anger was about the prospect of ruining a good Nipomo neighborhood.

    Folks ought to do a story about how ultra-wealthy farmers exploit both farmworkers and the broader community by violating community norms with their scheme to grow richer at our expense. Enough is enough.

    I say leave Fulks to his articles, that way everyone can see what a fool he is.

    (5) 9 Total Votes - 7 up - 2 down
  2. r0y says:

    Who is Tom Fulks? Is the Tribune still in print? Seriously, I do not know, have not “read” anything by him… and if it’s in the trib, then how can you expect anyone to know about it?

    You probably reached more people with this complaint than the guy you’re complaining about reaches on a good day!

    (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down
  3. NorthCountyGuy says:

    Well said Keith.

    (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
  4. Citizen says:

    Yes, we’ve had it with Fulks and his filthy, degrading tirades on conservatives. What’s worse is the cooperation from the Tribune on his latest race baiting routine after the arson in Nipomo. Besides his two articles on why he thinks the arson is related to race and why isn’t everyone marching to Fulks condemnation of the entire county as a racist haven, the Tribune then printed an historical article on the KKK. Fan the Flames, Tribune.

    I personally resent some old white guy trying to paint everyone else in the county as racist. What does he know? His ideas on racism (which are always linked to the KKK) are straight from the 1950s.

    (10) 22 Total Votes - 16 up - 6 down
    • r0y says:

      A history of the KKK is a history of the democrat party, and there are a lot of democrats here, so why wouldn’t they want to read about their history?

      (4) 10 Total Votes - 7 up - 3 down

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