by Dell Franklin

As a rule, America men, with their avid appetite for pussy, idolize a successful pussy monger, and certainly the Donald fills that role, especially since he is a celebrity, or in his own words a “star,” and let’s face it, the stars get all the prime pussy in America, and possibly everywhere else.

As boys, all we could talk about was pussy, and it was everywhere to entice and torment us. We accumulated playing cards of naked women, and Playboy Magazine centerfolds, and hid them in places mothers could not find so we could worship the kind of gorgeous pussy the Donald claims he can paw and grope with impunity because he’s a star, a born star bred by his parents to be a star and quickly shooting to star status by becoming a self-publicized real estate tycoon fucking over anybody in his way, another trait to be idolized by American males.

Well, it used to be that the real stars in our realm copped the prime pussy, like say, movie stars, rock stars, like Mick Jagger and Tom Jones, and famous cocks-men like Marlon Brando and Warren Beatty and Richard Burton and Clark Gable and Errol Flynn, these Adonises playing romantic roles and getting to make out with the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe….

The Dynamic Donald has an endorser in perhaps the greatest quarterback ever to play pro football, Tom Brady, who refused to go to the White House when the Patriots won the Super Bowl, a snub of our first black president, and perhaps an overture to his fellow conqueror of prime pussy, Donald Trump, to run for our nation’s highest office and lead the world.

Yeah, Brady married a world-famous supermodel, and they have beautiful children, and live in a modern castle, and he’s kind of an arrogant snotty asshole, but good lord, there is no evidence this deservedly heralded jock engages in the kind of so-called locker room boasting of the Donald, who claims that he can “paw up and grope prime pussy” anytime he wants because he’s a star.

Brady and most professional athletes, rock stars and movie idols, do not have to engage in this kind of talk or action because the pussy paws THEM up, waits for them like vultures in hotel lobbies and entertainment venues to throw themselves at these most beautiful of male hides. Meanwhile, the bloated, scowling Donald, with his mane of fluorescent straw and corpulent torso and sagging neck, foists his repulsive self upon prime pussy because he believes they, like everybody and everything else, owe him. He’s America’s foremost “taker,” rampaging through our prime pussy and institutions and laws like Attila the Hun.

To Donald and his ilk go the spoils of victory in America, where the rich and famous are transported in personal limos and jets, eat the most sumptuous gourmet food and sip uber-expensive bottles of wine, own castles here and there, and, most important, have an unwritten license to fuck the best pussy they can grab.

Looking back, as a kid, it was all about pussy—who and how much one could get—but there were always barriers as we grew up. As the gals became more accessible, you had to talk to them, charm and impress them, convince them you were witty and sexy and manly and important with your life and plans, and maybe you could get them drunk to further break down the barriers, but it was always up to them if they wanted to share their pussy with you, and maybe their hearts, and the game went on and on in our great organ-hounding grab-bags known as bars and pubs and nightclubs, but it was a wonderful, joyous though sometimes disappointing game, to be played among those desiring a kind of gratification with one another that goes beyond pussy mongering, beyond the groping and pawing by an entitled and feral criminal who essentially pays for his pussy like a rich vulture whose real satisfaction must be of conquest rather than the joy of having a delightful woman of substance and character sincerely wanting you for you. §

Dell Franklin once was blamed by a reader for the demise of the print version of The Rogue Voice because, she said, “He’s a pervert.” We know without a doubt she’s wrong, she has no proof, and is probably part of some vast right-wing conspiracy to discredit him.

Trump: An All-American Goat Fucker


A Muslim perspective on the GOP candidate for US president

Urban Dictionary’s top definition for Goat Fucker:

A slur that Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh used to describe militant immigrants from Muslim countries. Also sometimes used to describe Muslims in general.

“This is what our multicultural society has brought us: a climate of intimidation in which all sorts of goat fuckers can issue their threats freely.”

by Ibrahim Ahmed

comment-goat-hearts-ahmedAs a third-generation Muslim American, I’ve heard it all, every racial slur from “sand nigger to goat fucker.”

Mostly, I consider people who use such terms as brainless and bigoted, who get their news and information from outlets like Fox News or their dumbass uncle, who listen to radio pinheads like Rush Limbaugh, or who will cast their vote for Donald Trump. They’re lazy and won’t think for themselves. They’re like parrots, mimicking donkeys.

I’ve learned to laugh at their stupidity. They say this about our great Prophet too, these morons who malign what they do not know. They talk out of their asses, incoherent and foul. Nastier than a noxious fart, their words and opinions smell like the very goats they malign by pissing on themselves with their own ignorance.

There comes a time, however, when the tables must be turned, when enough is enough, and the ugliness must be co-opted and turned into something beautiful—by putting the ugliness where it belongs, on the faces of the world’s real goat fuckers.

I do not say this lightly. Trust me. I know how hurtful these words are. “Goat Fucker” is an ugly thing to call someone, and Muslims like me have most often taken the brunt of this mean-spirited ugliness. When you put ugliness where it belongs, though, it becomes real, and a beautiful thing it is.

Now, contrary to what many petty potty mouths say, President Obama is not a goat fucker or a Muslim. The ignoranuses who say that about the best president since Dwight D. Eisenhower got it completely wrong. Another example of their stupidity. How did Americans get so stupid?

If you want to know the truth, Donald Trump is the great All-American Goat Fucker. Can you see the beauty of what I’m saying? I know this because only Goat Fuckers talk out of their asses, maligning women, Muslims, the President, the handicapped, anyone who is not rich or white, and things they do not know or understand. That’s what Goat Fuckers do, they use and hurt people who never did them any harm.

When they run out of stupid things to say, they head for the barn yard for some kicks. That’s Donald Trump in a nutshell: he says stupid nasty things about people he does not know or understand, he grimaces and shuffles and wishes he could be at home with the barn animals.

Now, consider what a Goat Fucker really is. Have you seen the video? Google it. You’ll find it on YouTube. You can watch it for yourself. It’s someone who, no matter how wonderful they may appear to all others, will secret themselves away to have their nasty little “treat” when no one’s watching. 

You’ve heard the story: “I’ve built countless bridges and walls and quarried and hauled the very stones that built this wonderful pub, and what do people call me? Not respected stone mason or craftsman but despicable Goat Fucker! Why? Just because of that one time in the barn….”

That’s right. You don’t get any credit for building things, even great things, or even huge things, when you’re a Goat Fucker. It doesn’t matter what good or magnificent thing you’ve accomplished. Everyone knows you as a Goat Fucker. That’s Donald Trump, try as he might to cast himself as a brilliant builder or great leader. He’s brilliant all right—at building bridges to more Goat Fucking—but not great.

Even your own great Prophet, Jesus, called people like him hypocrites, all pretty on the outside with their nice suits and toxic hair but ugly as sin and smelly as shit on the inside: “White-washed tombs full of dead men’s bones,” who, if they weren’t dead, would be fucking goats.

Goat Fuckers, like the deadbeat zombies they are, don’t sleep at night. Instead, they look for goats and tweet nasty comments about others in the dark, in the middle of the night, when no one’s around, and they put their dicks where they don’t belong, hoping no one sees them. But it all comes out, especially when they’re seeking the limelight, running for high office, or leading the GOP circus as a Goat Fucking carnival barker. 

We’re not talking about little indiscretions here. We’re talking about a lifestyle, a personal history full of muck, fuck and mire, and nasty little secrets that eventually find their way into the mainstream as the Goat Fucker seeks the spotlight and wants people to love him, even though he’s unlovable.

Have you seen the video? Watch the little boy, who could be Trump junior, pull up his pants and run when he realizes someone is recording him doing his dirty little deed to the poor helpless goat. That’s what Donald Trump does. He fucks goats, and when he’s caught, he deflects and runs. Do you understand what I’m saying? DONALD TRUMP IS A GOAT FUCKER.

Muslims have been maligned this way for ages, presumably because we have not advanced with Western civilization and because, in the small minds of many Americans, we’re experienced only in herding goats. And what’s a lonely goat-herding boy supposed to do when he’s alone and has unmet needs? Fuck a goat.

You see now how ridiculous this irrational line of reasoning is? Maybe not. Call a Muslim a Goat Fucker because he supposedly herds goats and is a dirty rotten sonofabitch. But I’ll tell you who the dirty rotten sonofabitch is; it’s the guy with the mustard head, pursed lips and slimy little hands, who has no respect for himself or women or veterans or Mexicans or other people of color or anyone who isn’t wealthy. It’s the guy who fucks goats when no one is watching. I’m talking about Donald Trump, GOP candidate for president. How did this happen? How did a Goat Fucker get the nomination? Why do decent people still listen to him?

Theo van Gogh, the Dutch filmmaker who made the flippant comment about Muslims, arguing that in an open democracy all sorts of goat fuckers can issue their threats freely, might as well have been talking about Donald Trump and his supporters, who have mastered the art of making threats and fucking goats.

I don’t condone the murder of those who say such things—Van Gogh met a horrible untimely death from a Muslim who’d had enough of his bullshit—but I do think it wise to consider who the real Goat Fuckers are in today’s crazy disgusting bestial world. §

Ibrahim Ahmed has been in hiding since Donald Trump entered into the political arena for fear of his life. He refuses to come out until Trump has been vanquished. Unlike Trump, he has never fucked a goat.



by Dell Franklin

The Donald waltzed into the presidential debate against Hillary Clinton with all the hubris of a man so exalted in his own mind that he didn’t even think he needed to cram or rehearse to destroy Hillary Clinton before around 84 million American viewers on live TV. The Donald is not used to women disagreeing with him, and he is not used to women smarter than he is who can think on their feet and give it right back with icy cold precision, deep-freezing one of your vital organs—the brain—and demoralizing your emotional center—pride. Instead, the Donald is used to trophy models admiring his money and power and ego and golf swing and the kingly presence of a tyrant intimidating and humiliating and axing pathetic climbers on a bogus reality TV program. The Donald tells women what to do and where to go, a throwback to an era where women were subservient house captives to masters of the clan and took care of all the slavishly untidy responsibilities while the ruler brought home the bacon.

Since the beginning of time, men have been trained to dominate, while women have had to slyly and often subtly work their ways around the bullying of the more physically powerful male. My own father, an intelligent man and a successful professional athlete and businessman hellbent on controlling and dominating all factions of his family, never in 37 years came close to winning an argument with my mother, and it was a sad and alarming spectacle to witness mother, an intellectual reader and logical thinker, take apart arguments he spent an entire day mulling over and rehearsing and she’d reduce it to ashes within minutes and turning him into a mindless, fulminating, incoherent madman.

“She twists things around, she speaks with a barbed tongue,” he insisted. “If it’s night out, and she says it’s day, she’s right! But I know I’m right.”

My sister and I just looked at each other, unwilling to tell him the truth—he was wrong and brutally defeated—and shrugged.

Hillary sucker-punched the Donald during this first debate. She set him up like an experienced boxer with less of a knockout punch than her bigger, stronger opponent, nibbling away at his weaknesses, and tore him apart with a well-timed flurry of counter punches that left him reeling and bleeding, the poor ogre helpless without handlers to consult as he sat on his stool, winded and out of gas from the onslaught.

During this blood-letting, the Donald blustered and roared, and while she eviscerated him he sniffled and snorted, frowned, grimaced and made sour, persecuted faces when he wasn’t guzzling water, the sure sign of dehydration caused by emotional damage and embarrassment, while Hillary, face arched in a bemused expression of the calm conqueror, waited for his exhausted rantings and returned to her harpooning of the fat, bloated clown.

Afterwards, his aides and handlers massaged his brittle ego, placed ice bags on his bruises and bandages on his cuts, told him he won despite his shameful ignorance on foreign policy as well as other issues, went on news shows spinning his wretched performance, some claiming Hillary was too rehearsed while the Donald “winged it,” a natural man in every way.

This was a different ball game, Donald, a foreign turf, this debate venue, without the intimidated Republican male hides who had no clue as how to deal with your bullying, but a woman armed with almost seven decades of dealing with the likes of your kind.

Moral of the story? A woman knows a man much better than a man will ever know a woman—because she has to. §

Dell Franklin writes from his home in Cayucos, Calif., where he lives with his rescue dog, Wilbur. He maintains a blog at his website:


comment-don-kingtrumpby Dell Franklin

Donald King, the other Donald who would never allow himself to be called a white man’s namby-pamby name title like Donald, or even Don, and especially not The Donald, but by his legion of admirers as THE Don King, a fight promoter who ripped off his fighters and fought them off with a team of lawyers and eventually admitted to fraud and paid off Mike Tyson (another of his corrupted victims), 14-million of a 100-million-dollar lawsuit, the very same Don King who shot to death one man on the street but escaped prison, possibly because in those days in the Cleveland ghetto if a black bookmaker, drug dealer and arsonist murdered a fellow black man who supposedly tried to rob him it was excused as self defense, though this very same Don King later pistol-whipped and stomped to death a man who owed him $600 and was tried for second-degree murder, which was reduced to manslaughter, so that he spent almost four years in prison before the governor of Ohio somehow pardoned him, and so later THE Donald King transformed himself into America’s most powerful boxing promoter—as corrupt an industry as there was in the country—and completely changed the image of his mug shot of a hard-eyed young thug/gangster to a wild-haired bombastic super patriotic zealous spouter of American greatness while browbeating and terrifying anybody who tried to interfere, and ended up making millions on some of the greatest fighters and fights in the great era of boxing in the 1970s and ‘80s, and stiffed and chiseled and stole from just about every fighter and commission he participated in, and while doing so shouted over and over at the top of his lungs, “ONLY IN AMERICA, ONLY IN AMERICA,” yes, this man who absolutely shafted everybody he ever dealt with, fairly oozing incarnate evil from every pore, his eyes gleaming with the joyous cunning of a psychopath sucking in an entire heedless boxing crowd, this bamboozler emerging from the very gutter of our world and floating to the top, this Don King is now backing a man he admires as an even richer more nefarious bamboozler, Donald trump for President!

comment-don-king-mug1Yes, there he was, 85 years old, as outrageous as ever, the previously stiffened high hair not quite as stiff, seemingly forgotten now that professional boxing in America has become a joke and second rate sport dwarfed by the savagery of cage fighting, on the soap box, bragging about his 30-year friendship with his fellow bamboozler and thief, who like Mr. King has also sued and been sued and paid off when caught and continued his profligate lying and conniving and bamboozling to become the Republican candidate for President of the United States.

Ahhh,  THE Donald King will surely attract many black voters, possibly those with several rows of gold chains around their necks, or perhaps those carrying loaded shot guns and pistols, or those running ghetto scams, and possibly those tattooed, head-shaven, leather-clad white louts once snarling in the background at the real Donald’s rallies, though at this point they are no longer allowed in the background at the Donald’s rallies, and are replaced by an assembly of young wholesome silly smiling white teenagers or painted blondes or corrugated old white-haired lemmings told when to smile and when to cheer.

Yeah, THE Donald King is again shitting in high cotton, and instead of being in jail or surrounded by bodyguards, he’s back on a podium surrounded by cameras, on all the 24-hour supposed news stations, shouting into the heavens, outrageous, unintelligible, oozing evil, indulging in one more attempt to bamboozle the stupidest and most mindlessly macho countryman, once again wrapped in our beloved American flag.

God save us. Please. §

Dell Franklin has a low tolerance for hosers, especially in the worlds of sports and politics. He writes from his home in Cayucos, Calif., where he also maintains his blog and website,



comment-trumps-real-americansby Dell Franklin

Donald Trump’s real Americans don’t play golf and would never under any circumstances be allowed on any of his courses and if they tried an armed security detail would throw them off and possibly shoot them.

Donald Trump’s real Americans would never be allowed to sit at his table for any meal because they never went to finishing school and possess atrocious manners, like talking with a mouthful of food and wanting to wash it down with Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.

Donald Trump’s real Americans love the Constitution but never read it and just quote the gun lobby’s defense of an amendment they don’t understand.

Donald Trump’s real Americans would not get past the front door of Trump Tower before an armed security detail turned them back into the street because of their noxious apparel and tattoos.

Donald Trump’s real Americans will threaten and fight you if you dispute the Donald’s blatant lies that are documented as blatant lies by legitimate fact checkers.comment-trumps-real-ams-pbr

Donald Trump’s real Americans will threaten and fight you if you dispute the lies he made up about Hillary Clinton even if those lies have been proven untrue by legitimate fact checker.

Donald Trump’s real Americans are positive President Obama is a Kenyan-born Muslim who wants to take their guns away and let ISIS terrorists take over the country and impose Sharia law on defenseless white people like themselves.

Donald Trump’s real Americans will deny they’re racists because they approve of the frothing-at-the-mouth-lectern-pounding black pastors he digs up to defend him, and who are looking for more TV exposure and a possible talk radio show.

Donald Trump’s real Americans believe whoever can tell the biggest most outlandish outrageous lies will win the Presidency of the United States—and they’re fine with it.

Donald Trump’s real Americans hate out-of-touch Hollywood celebrities and Academic scholars who bad-mouth their Donald and would like to knuckle their heads like in the old days when sissies and faggots got their asses kicked simply for existing.

Donald Trump’s real Americans are some of the meanest and nastiest looking people on the face of the earth.

Donald Trump’s real Americans relish the role and identify with their Donald as the “Ugly American,” because they believe all Europeans are socialist pussies who play soccer instead of football.

Donald Trump’s real Americans wouldn’t mind the Donald nuking some of our enemies.

Donald Trump’s real Americans look at him as the latest and perhaps last white hope in a country taken over by suspicious black, brown and yellow people who want to keep them from making America great again and subject them to lower class status.

Donald Trump’s real Americans are some of the fattest people on the face of the earth.

Donald Trump’s real Americans are a lot of old Viet Nam veterans who wear those funny hats and medals and have to know that their Donald was a draft dodger with a rich dad who paid off a doctor and would have been given a blanket party in basic training as soon as they realized he was afraid to get his itty bitty under-sized hands dirty.

comment-trumpthatbitchDonald Trump’s real Americans drive monster trucks and those things resembling army half tracks with bumper stickers that read “Trump That Bitch” and “Put Her in Jail.”

Donald Trump’s real Americans include xenophobic, homophobic climate change denying ex-jocks like Curt Schilling who fears for his daughter if she walks into a restroom and has to face a transgender creature who will molest her.

Donald Trump’s real Americans don’t care if he refuses to show his income tax forms, nor if he’s a crook, because they feel everybody’s a crook and it’s best to have the biggest crook and liar in the country in the White House because he’ll out-crook all the crooks in the world trying to fuck us.

Donald Trump’s real Americans, from the look of them at rallies, need lobotomies, and those who haven’t look like they’ve already had lobotomies.

Donald Trump’s real Americans don’t care about his policies or qualifications to govern the country, they just want to sit on their asses and enjoy a reality show while the country goes to hell because their lives suck anyway. §

Dell Franklin is a real American but not one of those kind. He writes from his home in Cayucos, Calif., where he lives with his rescue dog, Wilbur. He posts stories and commentary at


Jury Box in a new court room

A retiree’s view on how to shirk civic responsibility

by Dell Franklin

When I received another letter in the mail ordering me to jury duty in a month, I immediately began fretting and was transformed into a different person, a much worse person, a morose, moody miserable person who felt persecuted and fulminated with rage at being picked for this service just about every year, over and over again, as if I was the only person in the county eligible for jury duty because I am retired and basically have no life outside of walking my dog three times a day and night, going to yoga and playing tennis on alternate mornings, penning the occasional diatribe, and looking forward to long periods, day in and day out, of doing absolutely nothing while dressed in rags.

Since I have no job or official functions, I get to wear rags all the time, and I took issue when the jury duty guideline informed me I could not wear shorts or T-shirts or flip-flops, but had to don appropriate attire—long pants, collared shirt, real shoes. I suppose I would be held in contempt of court if I showed up in my usual rags, but truth is, I no longer own a pair of long pants that fit me, just one pair I wore six years ago at my nephew’s wedding, and these pants—cotton Dockers bought at a thrift store for three dollars—have lost their button and will not zip more than a third of the way up, so I have the excuse that I officially have no long pants and felt I should write this down on the form you can fill out in an attempt to get excused from jury duty: “Dear Jury Duty Officials, I have no pants that will not disgrace me and repel fellow jurists, lawyers and judges, only shorts, and own but one badly frayed 45-year-old Hawaiian shirt that is appropriate to wear in public, usually when some friend wants to buy me dinner at a nice restaurant for my birthday or holidays. I have no intention of going to a thrift store to buy new long pants when there’s no need for them and I cannot afford them as I am a poor retiree living like a mole in a dump on social security.”

Well, of course, one can only fantasize about writing such a note to the authorities whom I feel are torturing me for being an old useless retiree. The second I got my summons I called my lady companion, Miranda, in a bit of a panic, and she told me not to worry, that they’d never, on sight, ever put me on a jury, and that if they did consider questioning me they would immediately disqualify me the minute I opened my mouth.

“Yeh, well,” I told her, “I don’t want to go down there.” I repeated this refrain to other associates who’d been forced to go to jury duty, all disclosing horror stories. “Who’s going to walk my dog? I walk him three times a day. He’ll go nuts without me hanging around. How the hell am I gonna get up at the crack of dawn and drive thirty miles to a hell hole like Paso Robles if I’m called there? Or San Luis? Or Arroyo Grande? They’ll jail me for being late and ill clad.”

Miranda accused me of being an unreasonable big baby and hung up. I called a retired school teacher friend down south, who told me I had no worries, that no jury would have me, but just to make sure, he told me to be myself, which meant I would tell any lawyer or judge I wanted all drugs legalized, including heroin, I believed in the death penalty and felt all guns should be banned, and as a white person hated almost all white people.

The real truth is, though, since retiring in 2008, a refusal to do anything I do not want to do or that impositions me in even the slightest has set in and taken hold of me with an iron hand, almost to the point where if one tiny part of my daily agenda is impinged upon, say, a doctor’s appointment, I go into a blind tizzy. It has come to the point where I just want to be left alone! When I’m reading my LA Times with a muffin and two cups of coffee on my deck after yoga or tennis, I want no interruptions! My entire nonsensical days are like this, and jury duty comes as a shock and a threat so overwhelming that a month’s anticipation of the week of jury service ruins this month and causes me much anxiety and dread and a gnawing trepidation.

The fact that during the seven or eight times I have been summoned, I have always been placed on stand-by and never called in has nothing to do with it, because every evening when I had to call in to find out if indeed I was going to be ordered in, my stomach moiled with stress, just as it had all day, and I took a big gulp of air for relief, only to hear that I had to call in the next evening, an ongoing process that spanned an entire week—one which has just mercifully passed, thank you.

During the month leading to my potential service, I did consider writing down that I had prostate surgery from cancer and because my plumbing has been rerouted I have to pee every half hour; have suffered occasional vertigo that had me careening about and crashing into walls; suffer from severe arthritis in the hip, knee, shoulder and neck from past contact sports; have nearly fainted and run amok from panic attacks, but when I tried to get a-hold of my urologist, ENT, orthopedic surgeon and primary care physician to write notes that would exclude me from jury duty, none of their receptionists returned my calls, obviously wanting nothing to do with me unless I was truly sick.

Well, next time I’m going to write down all these maladies along with the names of my doctors, and the jury tyrants can call the receptionists and deal with them, try and get a little information out of them, try and bust through the miasma of red tape when dealing with the medical profession, and even though none of these maladies in all honesty are truly enough to keep me off a jury, maybe the aggravation will deter the tyrants to leave me alone and realize that some of us are not professional grownups by anyone’s imagination, and do not belong on anything as important as a jury, and that as a lifetime slacker and shirker, I feel I deserve exclusion from such a responsibility and am guiltless about this, and because I am a three-year Army veteran, feel I have done enough as a responsible American citizen.

I live in fear of my next summons. §

Dell Franklin lives and writes in Cayucos, Calif. More of his work can be viewed at


Remembering New Times’ Steve Moss


Before his death in 2005, Steve Moss turned the scrappy alternative weekly he started with Alex Zuniga and Beverly Johnson in 1986 into a viable and trusted source of news and information throughout SLO County.

by Stacey Warde

I worked at New Times as managing editor at the turn of the century, not long after 9/11, when the alternative weekly wasn’t yet 20 years old. Recently, I received an email from a past reader and contributor:

“Did New Times contact you about contributing to their 30th anniversary issue? I was really disappointed this morning when it didn’t include an article written by you. You should have been a part of it. I do think, however, that Jeff McMahon wrote one of the best pieces that New Times has ever published.”

At first, I felt a bit slighted; I would like to have been included in the anniversary edition. I worked at the newspaper when founding publisher Steve Moss revived himself, came back to life, after a long depression. He never really got over his depression but his spark came back as we worked together.

I picked up a copy of the issue in question and read Jeff’s tribute to Steve, who died from an epileptic seizure in 2005 while he was in his garden. Indeed, as my colleague points out, Jeff’s portrait—in which he emphasizes Steve’s reverence for a good story that was humane, backed with solid data, and free from ideology—rises to the top.

It’s a fine portrait.

There’s not much to add to Jeff’s depiction of Steve’s genius for news and storytelling, but I’d like to give a partial view of my own experience with the man, who hugely influenced my approach to telling stories that matter, stories that leave a lasting impact.

Before his death, Steve had turned the scrappy alternative weekly he started with Alex Zuniga and Beverly Johnson in 1986 into a viable and trusted source of news and information throughout SLO County.

Steve was a mentor who constantly raised the bar for us, sometimes to the point of madness, to do better; he challenged our assumptions and cherished notions about life, and countered with questions we hadn’t yet fully answered as reporters and storytellers. By the time a story got placed on the newspage, it had been turned over and over until the kinks had been shaken out of it and would stand on its own.

Steve took complete confidence in what he offered San Luis Obispo County in his newspaper and never saw reason to apologize for it, even when some readers threatened to burn down the building because they didn’t like what he printed.

Not long after he hired me, for example, we started hearing rumors that KSBY producer and TV personality Kevin Graves had been caught masturbating at a public sporting event.

The Tribune had recently run a glowing article about Mr. Graves’ wife, Sharon, a much-beloved weather forecaster, also at KSBY, who had just announced her decision to move out of state to be closer with family. Her announcement came as a shock to her many loyal viewers. She was an integral and active part of the community.

Meanwhile, several anonymous callers began informing us that the “real reason she decided to leave” was because her husband couldn’t keep his hands out of his pants, and he got busted for it. She had to leave to avoid any further embarrassment.

There was no mention of her husband’s behavior in the Tribune story about her departure.

Steve and I went into his office to discuss the matter. He sat down on his swivel chair where he wrote his Shredder columns and turned to face me for the first challenging news decision I had to make with him.

“Do you think we should run this story, if it turns out to be true, that her husband got busted for beating off in public?” Steve was always blunt and kept his humor whenever he was confronted with a news challenge. Steve made telling the news fun, even when it was difficult.

“Unless they come right out and say it,” I responded, “we can’t really prove that they’re leaving town because her husband’s a jerk off.” Steve looked back at me knowingly, with a mischievous grin. In that moment, we connected as news men, and I knew we’d make a good team, come what may.

“At the very least,” I continued, “we should look into it and, if necessary, set the record straight.” It wasn’t an easy decision, but we both agreed the community had a right to know, if the facts confirmed rumors of lewd conduct by a local celebrity. Neither us wanted to besmirch Sharon’s fine career. It was her husband, we decided, who chose that course.

There was a gleam in Steve’s eyes. He hadn’t been well, I’d been told, battling depression and, in some ways, slipping, flattening, his passion for the news waning, and it showed in the pages of the newspaper, which in recent years had seemed dull and lifeless, not the scrappy little upstart it had been in the beginning. Steve’s much-tested instincts began to stir again.

We asked senior reporter Dan Blackburn to run down to the courthouse to see what he could find. An hour later he returned to the office with a file containing the court’s record of Mr. Graves’ “no contest” plea to accusations of lewd conduct. The newsroom stirred and tittered as we pored over the details.

“Banner headline!” someone shouted. “This is a BIG story!”

“NO!” I responded. “We’re not running a banner headline. The content in the court record is caustic enough. We’ll run it as a ‘What’s News’ item.”

Thankfully, Steve agreed with me. We basically rewrote the content of the court document into a small four-graf news brief, buried among other briefs in the “What’s News” page. We attempted to reach the Graves numerous times for comment before going to press. Our calls were never returned, and by morning the Graves had abruptly left town. They were gone.

When that week’s newspaper hit the stands the next morning, the calls—and threats, including one who claimed he would burn the place down—started rolling in. “How dare you!” one lady shouted at me when I picked up the phone to take her call. “How dare you shame a community treasure!”

“Ma’am, you’re talking to the wrong guy,” I said, “you need to talk to Kevin Graves.” And on it went, all day long. That night KSBY brass went on the air to lament Sharon’s premature departure. Steve and I watched the sad undertaking on tv while sharing a beer at Spike’s, and I noticed a spark in his eye.


Until then, I had worked for New Times as a freelancer, penning commentary and cover stories, including one for the “Bridal Issue” about gay marriage in SLO County before it became popular to talk about such things. The annual supplement, as all other supplements, like the “Best of SLO County,” is a big boon for the paper because it brings in much-needed advertising dollars. The focus is not news so much as entertainment and frills to attract advertisers and their money.

News staff were responsible for generating copy for these supplements, and consequently, despite attempts to make them appealing to advertisers, these stories more often reflected news value rather than the marketing and promotional purposes of the advertising manager, who cared little for the dicier, juicier, and meatier stuff that is the spice of life in an alternative weekly.

Advertisers went apoplectic over my bridal story, which presented the personal views of half a dozen gay couples in the area, including some who were raising children, while the gay community received the story well and were happy to be represented in the county’s only major weekly. The advertisers were pissed, I was told, because my story “made a mockery of marriage.”

“Advertisers are having a shit-fit about your story,” then-managing editor Marla Pugh told me when it came out, “but don’t worry, it’s a good story and Steve really liked it.”

He had my back, Marla said, knowing full well that without good content, even in an advertising supplement, a publication wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on, and if advertisers wanted to complain, let them. They were buying genuine real estate in his publication because its pages held real value, content with teeth, not the fluff that’s so common today.


Steve and I were a good match. We worked well together. He was the consummate newspaperman with a Libertarian view, suspicious of government overreach, always on the watch for a great story, and unafraid to turn over the apple cart as long it served the higher purpose of a well-informed readership.

Steve subscribed to an ideal I had learned from one of my previous mentors: “Report the news without fear or favor.” He respected and cherished his readers. Without readers, he’d say, you’ve got nothing. Give them what they need, and then some.

Barely two days after the firestorm of protests erupted over our news brief on Kevin Graves, Steve walked breathlessly and excitedly into the office. “I’ve got an idea,” he exclaimed as he swept into the newsroom, “I’ve got an idea! We’re going to run a cover story, ‘Should we have done it?’”

“Should we have done what, Steve?” I asked.

“Should we have run the story!” he fired back. He’d heard enough complaints about our news brief to put the question before experts in the field. He wanted to contact publishers throughout the state to see how they might have handled the story. Then, we would report their findings in the next edition.

“Are you crazy, Steve?” I responded, wearied from the onslaught of angry calls. “Isn’t that just adding more fuel to the fire?”

“No!” he countered. “Are you kidding me?” It would be a great way to educate the community on the standards and values of news. I was afraid it would give readers more reason to hate our guts. We had already done our job, I told him, and that was to tell the news without fear or favor.

We went back and forth, arguing the point, bringing staff into the conversation until finally we agreed to lobby respected experts to see what they’d say. The whole newsroom got into the action, querying the state’s most respected editors and reporting their answers in the subsequent edition.

We had done the right thing, the respondents told us, hard as it might have been. The role of setting the record straight, keeping the community as fully informed as possible, eliminating destructive rumor with truth, is vital to the health of the community.

Soon, we were being flooded with calls again. This time callers were congratulating us for having the guts to tell the truth. “I’m so glad you guys are here. I know you take a lot of shit for what you do, but keep doing it, and thank you!” Suddenly, the dialog shifted into a more nuanced conversation about a community’s right to know.

Steve was right all along. That was his genius: To open a dialog, unpleasant as it might be, about the nature of our surroundings and community. We worked together for about two more years, helping to put a few crooks in jail, putting the spotlight on law enforcement overreach, and  gave readers unique insights into their community that they’d find nowhere else.

I miss Steve Moss, and I think of him often, and wish he were still with us. §

Stacey Warde is publisher of The Rogue Voice. He can be reached at