Who is spreading lies in SLO County?

May 20, 2018

OPINION by KEITH GURNEE

Former Tribune reporter Dave Wilcox and Supervisor Adam Hill recently posted on Facebook that I was “lying” about taking credit for the smoking ban adopted by the San Luis Obispo City Council in the 1990s.

I did nothing of the sort. But I surely appreciated that council’s sweeping action to ban smoking to a far greater degree than my 1974 council resolution banning smoking in City Hall adopted some 16 years before Reiss’s ordinance.

Back then, I sat next to Councilmember Emmons Blake who constantly smoked his pipe at council meetings. During a city meeting at the Madonna Inn, I wrote out my resolution on a pink napkin and placed it on the council’s next agenda.

During council deliberations, Blake jokingly asked me, “Do you mind if I smoke?”
I replied, “I don’t care if you burst into flames,” then we voted to approve it. Blake affectionately recalled my reply to his question whenever I saw him after leaving the council.

Dave Wilcox

Then City Clerk Pam Voges took that pink napkin to a three-hole punch and inserted it into the leather- bound city records of council meetings. It’s there in the city records for all to see and it’s proof I’m telling the truth.

Fast-forward to 1990s. It was to that council’s great credit when San Luis Obispo broke onto the national scene with its far more sweeping ban on smoking in public places than my humble resolution. But the greatest credit goes to Councilmember Jerry Reese who had the courage to propose it. While I was not around to be there, I wholeheartedly supported their action.

Now back to “lying.” After responding to Wilcox’s post, he wrote back “did your ban generate the national coverage, as did the 1990 ban?”

Supervisor Adam Hill

I just don’t know, but probably not. My ban was not intended to generate attention, and I’m sure that’s the case with the 1990 ban. Rather both of my parents died of lung disease caused by smoking, and I really didn’t want to join them so early in my life. The fact that my ban occurred 15 years earlier than the noteworthy ban of 1990 is proof enough that I wasn’t lying.

I can’t remember who made the statement “If you tell a lie big enough, often enough, and loud enough, people will begin to believe it.” Had to be someone like Adolf Hitler. But that statement reflects what is happening just too often in this world.

When a former newspaper reporter and a County Supervisor promote misinformation, it’s far worse.

Sad to say that it’s Wilcox and Hill who are spreading the lies, not me. Saying that it was his investigative reporting skills that caught me in a lie when in fact Wilcox was too lazy to verify my truth says worlds about his journalistic ethics or lack thereof. And it is Wilcox who is giving reporters a bad name for not checking the facts.







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19 Comments

  1. Myself says:

    The trend here it seems is that the dems and progressives seem to distort/lie when it is handy for them,although the rep do so also but I don’t notice the outright attacks and lies that the others seem to put out,jimmy paulding is a nobody but he thinks he knows it all and is rampant in what he says about our district 4 sup, he was over budget in the county jail project,if he really had anything to do with it,yet blows his horn how wrong Lynn is, then we have a wack job and a has been running down Keith, I think I know why, Keith scares the hell out of them and when he wins things will change in SLO city.
    Go Keith.

  2. Wildrnes says:

    Stew Jenkins used a Nazi reference with “big lie”-A big lie (German: große Lüge) is a propaganda. The expression was coined by Adolf Hitler, when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf, about the use of a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.” Good job, ya nutzi!

  3. Stew Jenkins says:

    Gurnee is correct. Unlike Hill (and I don’t know Wilcox) I was a resident of San Luis Obispo when Keith Gurnee proposed the ban on smoking at city council meetings. I remember tobacco smoke was pervasive in most public, political and private meetings back then; but Mr. Gurnee proposed that and convinced the SLO City Council to take the first step of any city to make its council meetings smoke free.

    Santa Maria and SLO were about the same size then. While Santa Maria’s unregulated development killed its downtown, Gurnee helped save SLO from urban sprawl and resulting blight. He fought for regulations and incentives that made San Luis’s downtown a center for success, commerce and community. Had it not been for Gurnee, this city’s buildings would have looked like Santa Maria and sprawled up the mountains and all the way to Pismo and Morro Bay by now.

    The flaw in Hill and Wilcox attempt to use the “big lie” propaganda method is that it assumes people are stupid [Mein Kampf, vol. I, ch. X]. Voters really are very wise. Particularly, voters who actually know and remember the good character and high competence in city government of someone as qualified as T. Keith Gurnee.

  4. rukidding says:

    Shocking! Someone in politics didn’t tell the truth or misled the public? Could that even happen in the nicest place-SLO? Come on folks there are way more important things to consider currently than what may have gone on years ago. I’m always amazed at how some council members, mostly mayors, who take credit for everything good when in fact it takes a majority vote of a council to pass anything. I would suggest that the people choose who they think would open up our local dams and start draining the swamps thru out the county. Everyday I’m more and more amazed at the questionable acts that are going on within the SLO communities.

  5. ShootTheMessenger says:

    I’d vote for Charles Manson before I would vote for Heidi Harmon.

    You’ve got my vote Keith.

  6. scoopone says:

    I’m voting for Keith Gurnee for mayor, in the hope that two more concerned citizens join him on the council. If not, his lone voice will not count and positive change will not occur.

  7. LovinLosOsos says:

    Turns out Mr. Wilcox was inadvertently correct and Mr. Gurnee and his base continue to defend and exaggerate his accomplishments.

    You want to know who is spreading lies. You are Keith. FACT.

    I did basic fact checking as Mr. Gurnee suggested.

    “On May 4, 1973, then-Gov. Jack Williams signed into law the nation`s first state no-smoking law. It prohibited smoking in elevators, indoor theaters, libraries, art museums, concert halls and buses.” -Arizona 1973

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