Who is spreading lies in SLO County?

May 20, 2018


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.


Is there any hope, George Bailey, that the SLO mayoral election an be run with honesty and integrity, 2 character traits that I find completely vacant in today’s politics in any race. BUT, I believe Keith Gurnee isn’t running for his own accolades, and I believe he is the person who will lead this city away from the pettiness (he can’t do it himself but by example I hope others will rally alongside him) that has swept Wilcox, et al, into obfuscating and drawing the public away from the real issues at hand. Let truth prevail. I wish you the best Keith. SLO desperately needs your leadership. It’s up to the people to turn a deaf ear away from the superfluous and focus on what really matters.


@Jorge and Jordan,

Your comments are actually proving my point. Your statements show that you believe that Keith Gurnee was involved in the Citywide indoor smoking ban. This is false. Mr. Gurnee had no involvement in this action. Zero zilch nada.

Because of his misleading bio where he indicated that he implemented the first public ban on smoking, you are still spreading these exaggerated statements.

He was called out by his opposition on this misleading statement, and rather than being accountable for lacking clarity in his statement he chose to bash the opposition.

This is a character flaw. He should have taken the opportunity to demonstrate his intelligence and moral high ground and set the record straight.

Mr. Gurnee initiated a smoking ban in City Hall in 1974. This is a commendable action. It appears that this action was spun to take credit for a much higher profile achievement.

He had an opportunity to correct this graciously but he chose to continue with the same angry rhetoric.

I demand better from our electeds.



Niles Q

Sorry, but defending yourself is not a character flaw.

Jorge Estrada

My vote would be to listen to Keith Gurnee, his lasting good choices speak correctness even if only a written suggestion on a pink napkin. Some of the young voters may not remember the day when having a meal in a restaurant could include some stranger blowing smoke in your face, thankfully that doesn’t happen anymore.


It was first written on a napkin and then voted on by the city council. Though I do agree Keith has the experience and he cares what the public says. At council meeting, the current Heidi Harmon led council treats the public as ignorant children whose thoughts and cares do not matter. It is time for a change.


“I was on the council with Mayor Ken Schwartz when we opened Mission Plaza, when we started our public transportation system, when we enacted the first public smoking ban in the nation, and when we started protecting our creeks and open spaces.” – Keith Gurnee

Take a read. These are Mr. Gurnee’s words. When you read it do you come to the conclusion that he was talking about a ban inside City Hall in 1974?

Details matter.

Facts matter.

Integrity matters.

Accountability matters.

I am looking for a leader that clearly exhibits these traits. If Mr. Gurnee does not have the ability to acknowledge that he chose poor words for his bio then how can I believe he will do any better if ellected.

I’m sick of this who can blame the loudest BS.


As a reporter Dave Wilcox knows it is unethical to manipulate the public with lies. Saying one smoking ban was more publicized then the other is not relevant to Keith’s statement that he was involved in making the first anti-smoking rules in SLO. Is that how Dave Wilcox reported for the Tribune, what do facts matter as long as he promotes their position?

So Dave Wilcox and Adam Hill support the Progressives, but if the only way to power is through lies and manipulation, what do facts matter. It is time to bring ethics, honesty and caring about public concerns back to local government. It is time to stop ignoring the lies and manipulations and support a better community.



While I still intend on voting for you, I have to say in my opinion your bio was written to imply that you were involved in the high profile 1990 ban. If you were attempting to reference a 1974 ban at City Hall that you championed you were not at all clear. I would say that you were intentionally vague. Your outrage and defense is concerning and illustrates a potential character flaw.

I don’t know who Mr. Wilcox is and I would not be siding with Mr. Hill.


Welcome to modern day politics Keith. You didn’t really think that the SLO Progressives were going to rally together and fight against your run for mayor by actually discussing issues, did you? Adam Hill can only whine, piss his pants, and when backed into a corner becomes a mentally ill and depressed victim. Dave Wilcox is a has-been, and even when he was “something” only worked for a small liberal rag in a podunk college cow town. I’d be careful though Keith. Make sure that there are no pictures of you from the past eating caviar or drinking vodka. I wouldn’t even make mention if you have ever watched a Baywatch episode that had Erika Eleniak in it. Since the modern Progressives cannot (or will not) campaign on issues, I would be weary of them trying to get you on Russian collusion. Especially if you win the Mayor’s race.


Disappointing. Wilcox should be capable of journalistic discernment and research, but he seems to have the same poor judgement as his ex-wife. Too bad he has hitched his wagon to Hill and cronies.

George Bailey


I agree with Mr. Keith Gurnee!

By now, I think many of us expect Adam Hill and the far-left reporter, Dave Wilcox to tell lies, half-truths and distortions, because, after all, they have a long history of dishonest advocacy. As Mr. Gurnee correctly points out, it would have only taken a small effort for these two people to check the public record, but they persist in advancing their lies. Sad.

With regard to 3rd District Supervisor Adam Hill, I think most taxpayers understand that he now openly admits that he is mentally ill, so perhaps this recent behavior is tied to his illness. Mr. Dave Wilcox, as a reporter, ought to know better than to publish a lie, and most people have a better understanding about the dishonest media, who too often are advancing a political agenda when they are supposed to be neutral.

Let’s hope the San Luis Obispo mayoral election can be run with honesty and integrity, because then voters will understand that Mr. Keith Gurnee is much better qualified to lead than the failed progressive mayor, Heidi Harmon.