Bicycle advocate, leader or hypocrite?

September 3, 2018

City manager Derek Johnson driving Mayor Heidi Harmon and her bike home from a council meeting.

San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon appears to want everyone to bike – except her. [Cal Coast Times]

While Harmon attempts to push city residents towards a “driver-less future,” she does not regularly ride her bicycle to city meetings. On Facebook, Harmon has expressed a goal of reducing car travel in the city by 60 percent.

During a speech she gave late last year on climate change, Harmon promoted leading by example.

“I really like that picture on the top, it is the entire city council riding their bikes to council,” Heidi said. “So that is another thing that climate champions do right, lead by doing. We really try to set a good example.”

SLO City Council standing near bike rack outside City Hall: Andy Pease, Heidi Harmon, Dan Rivorie, Carlyn Christianson and Aaron Gomez.

On four occasions, reporters watched Harmon leave city meetings in gas fueled vehicles, including evening and afternoon meetings. Harmon either drove a car or hitched a ride for her and her bicycle from the city manager.

On May 15, Harmon left the City Council meeting, walked out to the bike rack and chatted to several council members for about 15 minutes. Harmon then walked her bike around to the back of the building, where City Manager Derek Johnson was waiting.

Johnson attached Harmon’s bicycle to the back of his truck, and drove the mayor to her home in Laguna Lake Mobile Estates.

Harmon did not return requests for comment.

Update: This story was updated to include that Harmon was watched leaving meetings both in the daytime and in the evening.

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From the way you cry “hypocrite” here, you’d think the Mayor was trying to force people to ride their bikes at night, and then not riding hers. If the Council voted to approve a new public park and then each member didn’t go enjoy the park every day, would it make them hypocrites? Where did we get this idea that public officials should ONLY approve policies and projects if they’ll personally take advantage of it afterward? Sounds a little, I don’t know, contrary to everything else you people complain about here (self-serving politicians).

Legislating to allow more residents to ride their bikes, to more places, more often, IS environmental stewardship because it will reduce vehicle trips. Approving infrastructure that reduces reliance on cars would still be sound policy even if no Council Member EVER personally used it. (But with bike lanes, quite often, they do.)

Part of good public policymaking is approving things that serve the greater good, on balance, even if the decision makers aren’t personally impacted, and even if not every single constituent will benefit from it. Promoting the availability of bike infrastructure doesn’t foist anything on people who don’t want to use their bikes.

And as others have mentioned, the stalking is fucking creepy.


Harmon is totally corrupt, and voters should dump her in November.


I think it’s not just that she is a hypocrite (she is pushing a lot of bike legislation and if it’s not safe she should address it) but that CCN has connected her with a lot of corruption and bribe taking regarding Agenda 21, with her corrupt crony Adam Hill. 

Must really be a slow week at Cal Coast News to report on the SLO mayors bicycle habits. IMO quite embarrassing.