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One more birthday letter 

Santa Margarita

It’s fitting that New Times came to fruition during a recurring meteor shower, brilliant flashes of light streaking through the dark sky, dependably illuminating the local scene.

If ignorance is bondage and truth sets us free, New Times has been—and still is—a liberating influence, shining a light for artists and musicians, activists and politicos, agriculturists and businesspeople, tree-huggers and bleeding hearts, shopaholics and nightowls, all manner of folks from all over our county, week after week.

I’m biased, of course, as a New Times journalist who wrote my first cover story for our local alt-weekly back in 1988, when Steve Moss presided over a rickety second-floor perch on the banks of San Luis Creek across from the mission. But as a world traveler, I could see then even as I can see now that New Times helps to make our community stronger, maybe even more cohesive, more inspired, certainly better informed.

Steve Moss’ original mission, “to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted,” remains true today. Ideas from all quarters are freely circulated in the pages of the paper, showing us our common spirit. And the fact that New Times is still an independent, locally owned, multiple award-winning publication gives SLO County a special distinction.

And still on paper, given away free, all over the county, every week? Hooray! “Paper? What’s that?” asked a cartooned modern kid posted on the New Times staff fridge a few years back, along with the answer from a grownup: “Like Kleenex, only more crinkly.”

I stayed up late for New Times’ 25th birthday, gazing at the meteor shower in the eastern sky, celebrating those brilliant flashes of light as if they’re as birthday candles for our community’s own news and entertainment paper.

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