Paso Robles councilman accused of using position for profit

May 30, 2016
Paso Robles Councilman John Hamon

Paso Robles Councilman John Hamon

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

Paso Robles Councilman John Hamon is accused of violating conflict of interest rules because he participates in government decisions that allegedly impact his business interests and income. Hamon is currently running against three other candidates for the San Luis Obispo County District 1 supervisor seat.

Hamon leases property from Paso Robles at the airport industrial park and subleases some of it at much higher rates, earning him a yearly return of at least tens of thousands of dollars. Simultaneously, Hamon participates in government decisions on the airport and advocates against allowing new business into the industrial park, creating an alleged financial conflict of interest.

City officials have warned Hamon about the conflict of interest, but the councilman has continued to vote on matters relating to the airport, doing so as recently as Thursday when Hamon argued against expansion and new leases at the airport industrial park.

Critics say Hamon does not want investors to obtain new land leases where they could construct new industrial rental properties. New leaseholders could lure tenants away from Hamon’s old, aluminum structures.

In October 1979, Hamon signed a 50-year lease for four parcels at the airport industrial park, totaling 4.72 acres.

Shortly later, Hamon constructed multiple aluminum buildings on the city-owned lots. He leases out some of the space to manufacturing and industrial businesses. Hamon also operates his own business, Hamon Overhead Door, from his industrial park.29db930b-1f27-4c4e-9da7-cc927ed5a0b7

The original lease Hamon signed set the rent he pays the city at $1,048 a month with possible increases in rates not to exceed 8 percent per year. At a current rate of 1.5 cents a square foot, Hamon’s monthly lease runs approximately $2,450.

Hamon currently subleases some of the property for about 40 cents a square foot.

Last year, Hamon served on a city committee that selected consulting firm Airport Business Solutions to analyze the city’s leasing policy and rent rate structure. Then, as a member of the city council, Hamon made the motion and voted to hire Airport Business Solutions to conduct the analysis.

On his Statement of Economic Interests, known as a Form 700, Hamon stated that he receives $10,001 to $100,000 in rental income from property at the airport industrial park. The disclosure also states four businesses located at the industrial park each pay Hamon at least $10,000 a year in rent.

0dea2b3a-1d79-4eda-aafa-307464a0a029According to California’s conflict of interest code, if a public official has a real property interest of $2,000 or more, including leaseholds, the official cannot use or attempt to use his position to influence a government decision that could have a financial impact on his real estate interests. When an official has a financial interest in a government decision, he is required to recuse himself from the matter.

However, Hamon regularly participates in city council votes on matters relating to the airport. He also serves as the council liaison to the city’s airport advisory committee.

Paso Robles Councilman Jim Reed said Hamon’s actions create a clear conflict of interest.

“If you look at his 700 form, and what constitutes a conflict of interest, Mr. Hamon is right there,” Reed said. “How can he say he doesn’t have a conflict of interest?”

Reed said he informed City Manager Tom Frutchey, who notified City Attorney Iris Yang. Reed did not receive a response from them, he said. However, since then, Yang has asked Hamon to recuse himself during some discussions regarding the airport.

Cody Ferguson, a resident of the area since 1947, questions why Hamon participated in the discussion Thursday, including a discussion about opening up further land leases, when Yang has told him not to vote on airport issues and to leave the room during discussions about them.

“He should not be participating,” Ferguson said. “He has a huge conflict of interest.”

Hamon did not respond to request for comment.

On Thursday, Paso Robles officials held a joint meeting of the city council and airport advisory committee. In addition to arguing against the issuance of new leases at the industrial park, Hamon took part in a vote on a plan to transform the airport advisory committee into an airport commission. The change would give more power to the airport body, making it operate in a similar fashion to a city planning commission.

During the council discussion, Hamon argued against the creation of an airport commission. Critics say Hamon uses his position as council liaison to the airport advisory committee in order to lobby for his personal business interests.

When the other four council members said they supported the idea of an airport commission, Hamon changed his stance and opted to vote with his colleagues. The proposal to create an airport commission passed on a 5-0 vote.

Yang said the vote did not constitute a conflict of interest because it would not have a material effect on any financial interest that Hamon has.

Earlier this year, Hamon was accused of a separate conflict of interest involving his door company and his position on the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) board. Since 2013, Hamon has cast several votes in favor of requiring state parks to implement the APCD’s Oceano Dunes dust rule.

While Hamon was casting votes on the regulation, Hamon Overhead Door received a contract for a door installation that was part of a project state parks needed to complete in order to comply with the dust rule. The contract called for Hamon Overhead Door to receive at least $18,699.

Kevin Rice, a critic of the APCD, spoke at an air district meeting in January and requested that Hamon refrain from voting on matters pertaining to the dust rule.

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

However, APCD legal counsel Ray Biering defended Hamon, who voted on the dust rule matter minutes later.

Hamon is currently in a four-way race for the District 1 county supervisor seat that is being vacated by Supervisor Frank Mecham. The other three challengers in the race are attorney Dale Gustin, Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin and businessman John Peschong.

If one of the candidates receives 50 percent or more of the vote in the primary, the race will end on June 7. If no candidate gets a majority of the vote, the race will move on to a November runoff.

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runscooter

I hope the voters in the 1st district, take a good hard look into those who are running to represent the north county at the board of supervisors and are not swayed ONLY by familiar names on campaign signs and business ads on the radio. Those who endorse a candidate speaks volumes. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association, Debbie Arnold and Lynn Compton have all endorsed John Peschong.

Take a look at his website (www.johnpeschong.com) and see the list of all the people who have supported and endorsed him and believe he will be the best choice to represent the north county at the BoS. There’s only 1 week left until election day.(Tues. June 7th) Let’s get John Peschong elected in JUNE.


Black Copter Pilot

Very disappointing, to say the least


SLOBIRD

Let’s all be honest about the corruption in the North County. The Paso Council has been corrupt with the good ole boy mentality for a long time. Jim App was protected by the Council and in return the Council was protected by Jim App. One only needs to go back to the Lisa Solomon hiring, the ongoing issues within the Police Dept (her man handling techniques, the ticket writing quotes, the traps set for ticketing, etc), the protection these “men” gave her, the rotation of the seats for the Council (Steve Martin has served on the Paso Robles City Council from 1987 to 1996 and as Mayor from 1988 to 1990, and re-elected as Mayor in 2012; Fred Strong has been on the Council since 2004, serving as both a Councilman and Mayor; John Harmon has been on the City Council over 10 years, and Steve Gregory who who is the yes man, goes along with any of the projects proposed since elected in 2014 has been absolutely useless in representing the citizens. Jim Reed so far is the only Council not following the good ole boy game plan). Paso should be asking itself why no woman has won a seat since Betty Cousins who served only four years,from 1984 to 1988.


I strongly recommend every Paso citizen to ask the question, do you like the direction of your City in the past 5-10 years and then go read the council members resumes to understand why you are in trouble:

http://www.prcity.com/government/citycouncil/members.asp


Perspicacious

Look at that picture accompanying this article. Would you trust someone with a smirk on their face like that?


Citizen

SLOBird, I agree with everything you say, except to add one cautionary response on women running for the council. The last woman who ran (Pam Avila) was a city shill from the Chamber of Commerce and her campaign was run by none other than Tom Fulks.


tomsquawk

“Paso Robles Councilman John Hamon is accused of violating conflict of interest rules because he participates in government decisions that allegedly impact his business interests and income”


bowl me over with a feather.


mathwiz

South Sanitation District corruption


North County personal benefiting by being a city council member.


Adam Hill Bullying business owners and “pay to play”


Well that just about takes care of the county. Corrupt and corrupt and stealing from you and I what more do you need to know before you vote for John Peschong for 1st District Supervisor?


Corruption always finds a way when our team elected and paid to protect us form their own Cabal and screw us. Man of the year……..what is that about…….how about a slap on the hand and charges of _______________ you citizens of Paso Robles name it.


ThomasAquinas

Hamon has issues, issues of character, issues with lack of ethics, issues with the lack of honesty. The situation now belongs to the voters in North County. When you know someone is dishonest, less than forthright, and willing to exploit the community for self-enrichment, doesn’t it seem prudent not to have him represent you? Do you really think Hamon will change, nope, nada, never. This isn’t about party faithful, don’t use tribal mentality, grasp the information and vote for the candidate with honesty and character.


Pelican1

“When you know someone is dishonest, less than forthright, and willing to exploit the community for self-enrichment, doesn’t it seem prudent not to have him represent you?’ Unless of course you are from Los Osos, then all bets are off.

The recall board and the following so called leaders of Los Osos have been dishonest, less than forthright, and definitely exploited the community for self enrichment.


ThomasAquinas

Oh, I agree, lived here in Los Osos, for many years. Stood in front of the community, many times, attempting to showcase the issues to vote against K-98. Giving data and engineering, legality, and the explaining about the disinformation being spewed out by the proponents of forming the LOCSD.


Bad government just replaying like “Grounghog Day”. Hamon, like Pandora, is willing to destroy communities for self enrichment. Hamon, like Pandora, will use what is necessary to misappropriate for financial gains….


Pelican1

Well, everyone who supported the recall likes to blame Pandora for everything, which is not the case. She was only one of many players who unsuccessfully tried to bring a sense of independence (from the county) to Los Osos. Like Rose (RIP), she had a vision that would never see fruition.

While ‘better, cheaper, faster” was never a reality, a permitted, approved, funded sewer was…something the recall board was NEVER able to provide.

They has NO plan. They had NO permitted or approved project and never did. Rather, they had a community thrown into bankruptcy, they stopped the only approved project, they became to only community in history to default on an SRF loan, and then they proceeded to use the initial loan payment of millions to pay their legal fees and penalties.

Indeed a first class act….one the community will pay for for decades to come.


ThomasAquinas

Mr. Pelican, Questa Engineering told the solution group, their plan wouldn’t work. No deep water injection, like Chandler Arizona. No water re-use system with Solutions group. No sir, the problem was allowing a CSD to be formed with the misrepresentation of a viable plan. The recall board was a JOKE, period. But you and I need to realize how this all started. Corruption, mistrusts, mistruths, crisis, greed and a community that was told the plan by the JR. High was wrong.

It’s just like Hamon, using a portion for self-promotion. Pandora, the marketing whiz has a lot to answer for. Oh yeah, don’t forget the pool fund….


pasoparent5

And despite the lack of water and infrastructure, for years Mr. Hamon has been extremely pro-development.

He and his cohort Steve Gregory approved hotels and are big proponents of the proposed multi-thousand (‘!!!) home Beechwood Olson subdivision.


Hmmm…a thousand + new houses…that’s sure a lot of new garage doors that will be needed! $$$

Hamon’s conflicts of interest aren’t limited to the ones mentioned in this article.


And thank you Mr. Cody Ferguson and Councilman Jim Reed for once again speaking up and not going along w/Paso’s good ol’ boys club.


JB Bronson

Anybody just figuring this out about John Hamon is arriving very late to the party.


A left-over of the Jim App era.


ratherbefishing

Oops


just the facts

What else can be said…vote for John Peschong for Supervisor and then hold his feet to the fire when he is elected!


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