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!

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Back in the day, I subscribed to both the Trib and the Times-Press-Recorder. I loved both papers for their coverage of local news and their investigative journalism.

The Trib is a ghost of what it once was. At least New Times doesn’t try to hide it’s insane political bias.


I continue to skim the Tribune, New Times, KSBY, and CCN to have a holistic view of local news and opinion. Disappointing but not surprising that already frequent at CCN Gurnee is closing the doors on their echo chamber. CCN is valuable, but frequently fails to cite sources or update stories or present views to the left of the 2015 GOP.

No local paper is what they used to be, the nationalization of politics is a shame – local Democrats could probably tell you more about MTG than Arnolds, local Republicans could tell you more about AOC than Ortiz-Legg.

“A holistic view of local news and opinion”, you mean I don’t have to choose sides but can think freely? But I so enjoy hating one side or the other. My mind likes its little ruts, my daily cup of outrage.

The only thing that I disagree with is when Keith said that “Velie and CCN deserve a local version of the Pulitzer Prize for courageous journalism.”

Hell, forget a “local version”- Karen and CCN deserve to receive the actual Pulitzer Prize- they’ve earned it over and over again for years now.

Other than that, I agree wholeheartedly with everything that Keith said.

Oh, and BTW- I canceled my subscription to the Tribune more than 20 years ago.

Thank you, Keith. And thank you Karen and CCN crew. Without each of you, I shudder to think what we would have for so-called “news” here on the central coast.

Couldn’t agree with you more!

The Trib’s greatest sin is it doesn’t even TRY to cover local government. If it did, the stupid and corrupt stuff we’re seeing wouldn’t happen. That loss of quality government is the price we pay for Wall Street’s turning our local NEWSpaper into a restaurant review and real estate advertisement.

I dumped the birdcage liner 20 years ago. You could always rely on them to give you last weeks news this week, and it was 100% patently full of editors and friends opinions, not news.

I couldn’t agree more to all if this.

bike lanes, our real problem? poisoned water in the Salinas river, Diablo canyons legal discharge of radiation, John Wallace, Cunningham defending the Cartel, Billionaires completely gentrifying Paso for Rich Elite psychos. And Keith complains about Fking Bike Lanes?

I couple years ago I would probably have agreed with you. But after some recent study and listening to people who are suffering daily with it, I see that the overbuilt bike lanes are at the core of a deep fundamental problem. Local politician have put an agenda before the actual well being of residents and community. Calling attention to (or complaining about) the problematic overbuilt bike lanes demonstrates this basic lack of concern for residents and community by these elected officials. It’s not really a frivolous complaint at all. These leaders don’t care about the citizens of San Luis Obispo in the most simple ways. Paso Robles is on the same path. Hopefully, Paso’s voters will get the picture in time. You would think bike lanes would be a good thing, and they should be, but in this case, they aren’t at all. Check it out …..

The only thing useful about the SLO Telegram Tribune are the weekly ads inserted inside the Sunday edition. The rest of the Tribune is a waste of money, ink and paper.

Agreed! Made the move a long time ago. Karen also discusses many of her news stories on The Andy Caldwell Show on Wednesday’s at 4:30 PM.

I agree that CCN is my Go to paper because people pay for ads but the Tribune requires me to pay a fee to read a paper that is paid for by advertisements. If I was an advertiser, I’d be pretty upset that the very paper I spend money with requires someone to pay to read my ad. Really? Cmon, they’re CHASING readers away.

Whenever Mr. Gurnee writes something I play a little game. How long will it be before he mentions being elected for SLO City Council back in the early 1970’s and how long until he mentions his hatred of bike lanes? He got the City council stuff in early this time, and took longer than usual to mention the bike lanes.

True. But being elected to the City Council is cool, and the bike lanes are truly awful!