Farewell Tribune, hello CalCoastNews

November 16, 2023
T. Keith Gurnee

T. Keith Gurnee


As a subscriber to The Telegram Tribune for decades, I’ve just canceled my subscription to what used to be my primary source for local news. After doing so, I’ll confess to some nostalgia about this move.

After being elected to the San Luis Obispo City Council as a 24-year-old Cal Poly student in 1971 when George Brand was the great editor of the Tribune, I used to rely heavily upon its coverage of the issues of those days. So why cancel it now?


It’s about the decline, its low-quality coverage of local news, and its increasing editorial bias in recent years that has compelled this decision. The Tribune has flat lost its way when it comes to investigative reporting and telling the real truth about what’s happening in today’s world. The political slant that has imbued its pages in recent years has lost me. Finding its lone redeeming value of printing out its crosswords and Sudoku’s for my wife’s enjoyment, we both decided it wasn’t worth it anymore.

The other reason for canceling has been the rise of CalCoastNews and it’s remarkable reporting. Thanks to editor Karen Velie and her reporting staff, CCN has exposed some of the most important local stories in recent years.

Her expose of the documented corruption of former County Supervisor Adam Hill and that of the Integrated Waste Management Board (IWMB) was masterful. The corrupt local beginnings of the cannabis industry and the mismanagement of the county service areas in San Simeon and Oceano was alarming and truthful. As for CCN’s truthful exposure of these troubling controversies, Velie and CCN deserve a local version of the Pulitzer Prize for courageous journalism.

So how did the Tribune react to CCN’s exposes? With invective and jealousy when it proved to be truthful. It trashed Velie’s scoops while covering for Adam Hill who has proven to be the most corrupt local elected official in recent San Luis Obispo County history. Instead of crediting her for revealing Hill’s web of deceit, the Trib tried all it could to defame her.

Then let’s take a look at the Trib’s editorial cabal. Its most notorious member is Tom Fulks, a caustic columnist writer who has acted as a consulting political strategist joined at the hip with Bruce Gibson, a former chairman of the SLO County Board of Supervisors and the chief political ally of Adam Hill when he was committing his indiscretions.

Under its current leadership, the Tribune has become little more than a propaganda rag advocating for the rise of the so-called Progressive Left by backing its candidates who have been cultivated by the Trib and successfully elected to the County Board of Supervisors and some local city councils.

Now our county and cities are suffering for it:

1. A potential 112% increase in Grover Beach’s water rates.

2. A massive increase in San Luis Obispo’s parking rates in its downtown.

3. The proliferating, outrageously expensive, and unnecessarily protected bike lanes through downtown San Luis Obispo and its neighborhoods.

4. Supervisor Jimmy Paulding’s transparent attempts to increase our property taxes by challenging Prop 13.

5. Rejoining the formerly corrupt Integrated Waste Management Board without resolving what led to its corruption.

6. The new Board of Supervisor’s attempted redistricting guarantee in the hope of guaranteeing the election of Progressive Leftists to the Board of Supervisors, thanks to the machinations of Trib columnist Tom Fulks.

As for the Change In The Tribune

Recent months has witnessed a noticeably decline. For example:

1. The paper has gotten noticeably thinner. Last Saturday’s version only had six pages of local news.

2. The daily sports section has almost disappeared. The sports section is notoriously a day late, It’s just old news. And while it publishes articles on local sports, the results of Major League Baseball, the NFL, the NBA are rarely to be found.

3. The Letters to the Editor section which used to appear every day, has now been relegated to one day: Sundays.

It’s just not worth the money or the effort to read its pages.

So what’s to be done with getting local news?

That’s easy. I’ve decided to invest double the monthly rates I was paying for the Tribune by subscribing to CalCoastNews. It offers by far the best investigative reporting in San Luis Obispo County. For those who are interested in getting the real dive into what’s going on in this county. Anybody reading this article who cares about where we live should subscribe as well.

Support the truth. Support Cal Coast News!

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Mr. Gurney is spot on…The Tribune needs to publish more than spoon-fed stories from the County.

The Board of Supervisors are embarrassingly inept leaders. As an example, in less than six months, two County Administrative Officers (CAO) resigned and/ or were terminated. CAO’s are the top County executive charged with implementing Board policy. Having two abruptly leave within six months is highly unusual and is an indicator of failed Board leadership. The last one’s departure, just a month ago, was a complete fiasco. The Board declined to accept the CAO’s resignation in order to terminate the employee two days later in a circus show that refused the employee his right to see the charges in advance and provided him no opportunity to prepare a response. Why does the Board fear the facts that due process would reveal? Perhaps deflection? One Board member has a history of having sex with at last one county employee and another often dresses embarrassingly unprofessional and is extremely “handsy.” As the current news reveals, the Board has a history of unethical behavior, and very likely still does. They fear the truth and try to bury it whenever convenient. They are cowards, and the result is toxic. 

The more newspapers, the better.

Shouldn’t have legalized pot. It was perfect when it was just medical. That’s when things started going downhill…

How so?

Tribune….don’t let the door hit you in the butt on the way out!

If you don’t like the Tribune, don’t read it. If you don’t like New Times, don’t read it. If you don’t like CCN, don’t read it. People put a lot of time and effort into these publications, shut up and respect all three.

I grew up with the Tribune and really enjoy the old school paper reading. But I canceled the Tribune years ago for many of the same reasons above. Zero credibility.

Anyone notice how the Trib hires such very young & inexperienced so-called “reporters”? Hard to believe this is the same paper that USED to be a very decent source of local news.

–John Lynch, Housing Reporter, 2022 Ball State grad.

–Stephanie Zappelli, Crime/Politics/Government Reporter, 2022 Cal Poly grad.

–Mackenzie Shuman, Education & Environment Reporter, 2020 ASU grad.

Not saying these young 20-somethings don’t have potential, but I definitely don’t look to them as my primary sources for accurate and unbiased local news stories.

They work cheap, and will write what they are told.

Back in the day, when I was but a wee laddie in SLO, it was considered bragging right to be a newspaper delivery boy.

Ride your bike to the loading dock, Run to Safeway for a soda pop, run back to the Telegram Tribune to grab your stacks and fold, or roll, your allotted subscriptions.

Stuff them into the double sack (emblazoned with the paper’s logo, so there was no doubt you weren’t a “Sun Times” fellow), carefully weave the straps around the handlebars to straddle the front wheel, and we were ready to go!

But first…sit back for about 1/2 hour reading the comics,drinking our soda’s, and telling each other lies about our myriad of city schools. All with the noisy backdrop of the big iron presses “WHIRR__CHUNK!” behind us, bashing out either the late edition, or getting a start on the fat Sunday edition.

I’m pretty sure, that was the last time I actually read the Tribune on purpose…