John Hamon accused of conflict of interest

January 28, 2016
John Hamon 2

Paso Robles Councilman John Hamon


Paso Robles Councilman John Hamon, who sits on the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) board, appears to be financially benefiting from votes he has made in favor of the Oceano Dunes dust rule. At an APCD board meeting on Wednesday, activist Kevin Rice accused Hamon of having a financial conflict of interest.

Hamon owns the Hamon Overhead Door Company, a business State Parks has approved to install doors at a planned storage facility for equipment needed to comply with the APCD’s dust rule demands. Hamon’s company will receive at least $18,699.99 for its part in construction of the maintenance facility.

In 2011, when the APCD board adopted the dust rule, Hamon voted against the regulation. However, around 2013, Hamon changed direction and started voting in favor of requiring the state to implement dust reduction measures. Hamon has also been voting in favor of defending the controversial regulation in court.

The APCD dust rule requires State Parks to reduce the amount of particulate matter blowing from the Oceano Dunes to the Nipomo Mesa or face fines of up to $1,000 a day. Opponents of the rule claim it was based on flawed science in an effort to raise money to pay bloated APCD staff salaries.

To comply with the APCD’s demands, State Parks purchased heavy equipment and needed to build a maintenance facility to house the equipment.

In 2014, State Parks placed the construction of the maintenance facility project out to bid. Hamon’s business was included as a subcontractor in a bid that won the contract.

According to California law, a financial conflict of interest arises when a member of a government body makes a decision that creates a significant or material conflict of interest. Nevertheless, Hamon has continued voting on and discussing matters relating to the dust rule since his company was selected as a subcontractor on the State Parks project.

Rice raised the issue during public comment at the APCD board meeting on Wednesday. Rice requested that Hamon refrain from voting or discussing matters pertaining to the dust rule, as well as the employment of APCD chief Larry Allen.

“You cannot vote for regulations and then make money on the back end for what you’re voting on,” Rice said.

Hamon responded by saying his door company is doing work for a contractor constructing a building for State Parks. Hamon then said he would take advice from APCD legal counsel Ray Biering on whether he needs to recuse himself.

Biering said Hamon could participate in votes on the dust rule and that it is a stretch to even claim there is a conflict of interest. Biering noted that there would be a conflict of interest if Hamon was involved with State Parks and voting to approve the project.

However, Biering prefaced his conclusion by stating APCD board members are bound by California Government Code 1090, which prohibits officials from involving themselves in a contract that benefits them directly.

In 2015, a state appellate court invalidated part of the Oceano Dunes dust rule. Nevertheless, the APCD staff has been battling to keep the regulation in place.

Hamon did not respond to an email request for comment.

Hamon is currently campaigning to replace San Luis Obispo County District 1 Supervisor Frank Mecham, who announced plans to retire earlier this year. He faces two challengers — small business owner John Peschong and Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin.

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  1. CentralcoastRN says:

    Political persons should avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

    I am still baffled at how State Parks are expected to stop the wind from blowing sand around.
    I guess I just don’t get it.

    (10) 12 Total Votes - 11 up - 1 down
    • kayaknut says:

      They are not but Larry Allen and staff need more vacation homes in Hawaii or such and thanks to John Harmon they not have enough money to get them. It is real easy to give out other peoples money isn’t it Mr. Harmon?

      (9) 11 Total Votes - 10 up - 1 down
  2. standup says:

    John Hamon only cares about himself and his political standing among his cronies. He does a piss poor job of representing and communicating with the citizens who elected him. Even though we are in a water crisis, he still refuses to conserve like the rest of us. He is completely anti medical marijuana even though us citizens passed prop 215 twenty years ago. This dirtbag will never get my vote again.

    (2) 14 Total Votes - 8 up - 6 down
  3. kayaknut says:

    John Harmon also voted to keep Larry Allen in place at the APCD but at least John wasn’t able to get him the 4.8% raise he trying for.. Poor Mr. Allen only got a 2.5% raise, however will he live on a meager $200,000+ a year.

    (11) 17 Total Votes - 14 up - 3 down
  4. don the beachcomber says:

    To learn more about corruption in SLO County, go to:

    (-3) 11 Total Votes - 4 up - 7 down
    • Black Copter Pilot says:

      I watched the video, yes, Hill is pathetic but what does Peterson stand for?

      (1) 11 Total Votes - 6 up - 5 down
    • SLOBIRD says:

      Another reason to vote for John Peschong!

      Remember, John Harmon and Steve Martin cost the citizens of Paso Robles $250,000 with the payoff to Police Chief Lisa Salomon, They couldn’t even handle that sexual corruption issue properly and they think they can be superviros. We are trying to get rid of the nut balls rattling around at the Board of Superviosrs, we don’t need to put one of the nuts in there.

      They have the good ole boys in Paso Robles way to long and are like the other politicians. like Adam Hill, that feel entitled, superior and above the laws. John Wallace also under the advice of attorney John Seitz also thought we could do what he wanted, whether it was right or not.


      (23) 39 Total Votes - 31 up - 8 down
      • Citizen says:

        I agree with your recommendation for John Pechong, but in all fairness, Steve Martin was not on the city council when Chief Salomon received her pay off. John Hamon was on the council and co-wrote a letter to the Tribune defending her.

        (13) 17 Total Votes - 15 up - 2 down
      • pasoparent5 says:

        Very good point, slobird.

        After Hamon wrote “Lisa is a trusted friend and I will always support her. She has protected this city with her many years of exceptional law enforcement knowledge and skillful management of our Police Department” he no longer had my support.

        (9) 9 Total Votes - 9 up - 0 down
  5. r0y says:

    The irony here is, government officials (or even rank and file bureaucrats) pass regulations, fees, laws, etc. that financially benefit themselves, and no one ever asks about a conflict of interest.

    How about this: The traffic court judge determining if your are guilty profits from your guilt. Is that a conflict of interest?

    I am no fan of the APCD (really, who in their right mind is?), but seeing an about-face about one year prior to bidding is very suspicious. A decent person would have automatically recused themselves for conflict of interest. A dubious person would ask the attorney if is legal (you know what they say, “If you have to ask…”), a sub-human P.O.S. would just deny it and belittle the person questioning them (think Adam Hill).

    (17) 27 Total Votes - 22 up - 5 down

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