John Hamon accused of conflict of interest

January 28, 2016
John Hamon 2

Paso Robles Councilman John Hamon

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

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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just the facts

This is a good reason why all should support John Peschong for Supervisor! Vote for John Peschong on June 7!


SLOBodan

In Taft, CA, a few years ago, a city councilman was approving plumbing projects for the city that was using his company for business. In Lucia Mar School District, a board member was doing the same with her family owned plumbing business. Both were identified as conflict of interest and we fined.


Even though he is a subcontractor within the contract it’s still self serving and therefore a conflict of interest.


Citizen

Mr. Hamon doesn’t understand or ignores the concept of conflict of interest. He has voted for every housing development that has come before the Paso Robles city council without ever recusing himself because of his business of supplying garage doors for new houses. He obviously benefits personally from the city allowing new housing.


pasoparent5

John Hamon is also a strong supporter of the HUGE Beechwood/Olson housing development and I wonder just how many garage doors $$$ his company will provide for the 1000+ proposed homes.


achillesheal

This is how all Washington politicians get rich. No one should be surprised. Taxpayer scamming, get Harmon.


I hate all democrats and republicans equally, so don’t think this is partisan, but look up how Harry Reid made his money, or nancy pelosi. They should all be tarred and feathered at least weekly, but taxpayers can not act surprised and shocked..


SLOBIRD

I just want to say, don’t forget Bill and Hilliary Clinton, remember the statement Hilliary made about being broke when they left the White House. Now, they are one of the richest past president’s and Hilliary still once more. Politiciansn’t get but since social media has come along, we can see it all now and there is no hiring their evil scams from local to federal.


Moderator

Reid, Pelosi and the Clintons have nothing to do with the APCD.


Further dragging of off topic, into local articles gets you deleted.


achillesheal

This guy is a politician. Politicians are thieves. Politicians use thei jobs to enrich themselves. The biggest thieves are in Washington. Local pukes like this guy learn at the feet of the masters in Washington. How is that not relevant?


Moderator

Just because you are one of the people who post off topic comments with regularity and think Pelosi/whomever is responsible for the current state of affairs at the APCD (or whatever) does not mean everyone else wants to read about you blaming Obama for every local issue, over and over and over. Something you have done at least 15 times in the last 30 days (and plenty before), and you were warned about this.


Start your own site and fill it with whatever you want, or post whatever comment you want, at the risk of your account here.


Look elsewhere for your “coddling and enabling”, try a local coffee shop and keep interrupting people by blaming Obama for local issues over and over and see what happens (see what you get).


Black Copter Pilot

Your bias is showing, what’s wrong with letting the people speak?


Moderator

It’s not bias, it’s called being on topic. There are 6-8 commenters that want to drag off topic comments, into every local article (Obama, Abortion, guns, immigration, racism, for example).


“the people” are welcome to submit a opinion piece to the email on the right, however they will have to use their real name.


You are free to start your own website and let it be a free for all, please post a link I want to watch.


But “Black Copter Pilot” already knows this so troll the site staff at your own account’s risk.


Black Copter Pilot

Troll, huh, bias again


fishing village

He should know better!


BeenThereDoneThat

Mr. Hamon I voted for you last time around (I live in Paso). May have to reconsider this time.


May have to mention to neighbors and business associates how you do business in the council and maybe they to may have to reconsider their vote.


You are part of what turns people off about politics. Another let me take care of myself and screw those who vote. NICE!!


Pelican1

The fact that he changed his position is pivitol. Cancel the contract.


RememberWhen

How convenient…


Snoid

Yabutt…..Like Mr. Wallace, John Hamon had nothing to do with his company being hired to do work for the state, it was awarded by them other people who said it was Okie dokie ;)


tomsquawk

i got rid of my Jeep. figgered out that after 5 years weenies would bitch them out .