Heidi Harmon’s embarrassing politics

February 23, 2019

Mayor Heidi Harmon

OPINION by T. KEITH GURNEE

Just three months into her second term as mayor of San Luis Obispo, Heidi Harmon is getting stranger by the minute. Her announced boycott of Amazon is her newest example of “speaking without knowing” and her politics of “look at me!”

In doing so, Harmon has placed a major local employer that contributes millions of dollars to our local economy squarely in her crosshairs, including the Whole Foods Market on Los Osos Valley Road which is affiliated with Amazon.

Harmon’s statement that Amazon is “destroying our downtowns” reveals her utter lack of understanding of the real threats to our downtown: stratospheric rents, the reduction of downtown public parking, overbuilding beyond its infrastructure capacity, and rampant panhandling. When I ran for mayor last November, I was stunned at how many people I heard from who once enjoyed our downtown and who no longer do.

In cuddling up to New York’s avowed socialist Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez in her battle with Amazon is Harmon’s latest grasp at attention-getting and publicity seeking which she thrives upon. Here are some other examples:

1. Harmon recently drew attention to herself in the press for dropping “f-bombs” at a function for Sen. Bernie Sanders that she attended in Vermont in Dec. 2018. Why would she attract public attention to her use of profanity? As someone who holds herself up as a symbol of civility, do f-bombs really align with civility?

2. Harmon has criticized placing a statue honoring President Teddy Roosevelt in Mitchell Park where he addressed San Luis Obispo residents back in the early 1900s on his way to meet John Muir in Yosemite to establish the National Park System. Her complaints against erecting “monuments to white men” reveals interesting dichotomies:

  • Perhaps lost on Heidi, Teddy Roosevelt was one of the drivers of the original “Progressive Era” in the early 1900s and was responsible for establishing the first Progressive Party in 1912. Teddy was the original Progressive, not one of the false “New Progressives” of today.
  • Harmon’s dismissal of erecting monuments to “white men” would forever preclude her beloved Socialist Bernie Sanders from ever having a statue honoring him.
  • Harmon’s anti-“white men” comment has brought her racism and “misandry”– her apparent hatred of men– to the fore.

3. The revelations published in Cal Coast News that Harmon has strong ties with marijuana mogul Helios Dayspring and SLO County Progressive co-leader Nick Andre (who apparently is part of Dayspring’s operation) are alarming. Harmon has been part of creating the criteria and point system to evaluate marijuana licensing applications, criteria that has been engineered to favor Dayspring.

Then in what could be an FPPC violation, Harmon failed to disclose the campaign fundraiser hosted by Dayspring for her and other candidates back in October 2018 that should have been included in her campaign-finance statements. Why is she trying to hide that connection?

4. Then out comes Councilwoman Debbie Peterson’s recent resignation from the Grover Beach City Council due to allegations of corruption and “pay-to-play” insider games associated with marijuana businesses in that community. It’s Grover Beach’s marijuana criteria that are now being emulated in the criteria being developed by the city of San Luis Obispo. Shouldn’t we be much more careful to ensure that we don’t import corruption into San Luis Obispo? Or is it already here?

5. Harmon’s willingness to let development projects cut down hundreds of mature trees on Los Osos Valley Road that once served as habitat for Herons and Monarch Butterflies shows how little she supports environmental protection and how little she understands the relationship between protecting the carbon sequestration provided by such vegetation in fighting climate change.

6. Could it be that her Amazon comments may have alienated her greatest defender and promoter– the San Luis Obispo Tribune? In its recently published editorial titled “What are you thinking, Madam Mayor?,” the Tribune took her to task saying “this time you’re asking for too much.”

Harmon’s comments that Amazon “is destroying communities” belies the fact that it is Harmon and her sidekicks who are destroying this community and our neighborhoods. Ugly, under-parked development projects, increasing traffic, enacting experimental policies without thinking through their consequences, and misguided proposals like the Anholm Bikeway are starting to overwhelm our community.

Heidi, if you want to see who the real destroyer of this community is, just take a look in the mirror. You’ll see that the blush has begun to come off your rose.

When I was on the SLO City Council from 1971 to 1977, we had city leaders who truly cared about this community, it’s charm, its heritage, and its character. I was privileged to serve with former Mayor Ken Schwartz and Councilmembers like Myron Graham, Emmons Blake, and Steve Pettersen who were truly dedicated to the betterment of our community. Since then, up until a few years ago, that same standard of care held true with such elected city representatives as Peg Pinard, Allen Settle, Penny Rappa, John Ewan, Dodie Williams, David Romero, Christine Mulholland, Kathy Smith, Dan Carpenter, and Jerry Reiss to mention but a few. They were all “keepers of the flame” of this community.

But after the last two mayors we’ve had, it’s all different now. We now have a mayor who has proven to be a public embarrassment to this community and a City Council that is devoid of balanced points of view. While I regretted my loss to Harmon’s well-oiled machine in Nov. 2018, I feel far worse for our community than I do for myself.

While I expect to be accused of “sour grapes” in writing this piece, so be it. I’ve totally accepted my defeat, and while I will never run for elective office again, I “ain’t” going away anytime soon. I only hope that someone will emerge to pick up the torch and take our town back from the narcissistic “look at me” politics of Heidi Harmon.


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PaulJones

Please stay involved Keith, without watchdogs our community is doomed.


DenisRizzoUSA1

Way to Go Keith….

All your points are Ultra Valid….and I must add to your list that former Mayor Melanie Billig in the past was also one of my favorites in Land and Tree Conservancy Issues…

The Airport was annexed into City limits just a few years ago…

Our Airport was Expanded (18 million plus dollars later and daily Alaska Airlines flights direct flights to the Emerald City) due to the Mega Money Influence of Seattle Companies in SLO Airport Corridor

Please Mayor Harmon…”Dont Piss where you Eat and Bite the Hands that feeds you”….

Think Before You Speak…You Make our Community Sound Ignorant when you open your mouth and say Stupid things….And if your not Stupid or Ignorant than You are Drunk on Cheap Wine


scoopone

Harmon may become the last mayor who is proud of ruining the character of SLO…her rants and self-promoting statements make me sick. We must have a more conservative Mayor and Council win the next election….no one on this current Council deserves to be re-elected.


The Daily

She’s out of touch as to what our City was, what our City has become and what we want our City to be. Agree how totally welcoming Downtown used to be and how totally unwelcoming it is presently and how much much more unwelcoming it’s going to become. No solutions forthcoming here, just mourning what we’ve lost and the future of our City,


Nancy

Heidi Harmon is part of a group of people, including Adam Hill, Nick Andre, Quinn Brady, John Shoals, Jeff Lee, Tom Fulks, who now control the local Democratic Central Committee. While they act as if they care about protecting against pollution, homophobia and racism, those issues are worse under their leadership. They all promote Dayspring, who funnels them cash, and look the other way at his crimes against the environment (including using illegal chemicals), and his human trafficking.


I had a divorce attorney tell me once that those who cheat on their partners are the ones who cheat in life. Here is some of the local talk on this group: Heidi Harmon’s partner caught her in bed with Quinn Brady, whose partner is in the dark. He kicked Harmon to the curb, the reason Harmon is renting a room in a trailer. John Shoals wife divorced him for cheating repeatedly during their marriage. He came back from a trip to Sacramento with condoms in his suitcase. Adam Hill and his wife Dee Torres-Hill live separately and date each other while both having sex with multiple other partners.


malovato

Hey Mr. Gurnee, I got a suggestion. When Ms. Harmon runs for re election you should run against her…. Oh yeah, you already did that. AND GOT CLOBBERED. Enjoy eating your sour grapes.


TKG

Well malovato, I DID lose to a loon, but now you’ve got what you deserve…


Snoid

Some have no idea what they’ve got till its to late Keith. Like you said, they got what they deserve.


RalphKane

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard. — H. L. Mencken


mesaman1651

We keep putting our trust and hope in politicians, all that does is open the door for some ego maniac to get into office and F bomb everything up.


corvidae

Other than the fact the mayor is a doofus—this is known—the opinion on f bombs/language and civility is… reaching. What a reachy-reachy opinion. Failing to understand the connection between vernacular and civility.


oxforduniversity

While I’m a conservative I’m not a fan of Amazon either, I’ve seen what it’s done to Sears and I’m a bigger supporter of Sears stores than online businesses wiping companies out.


Second, mom and pop stores are needed like we had 20 years ago in SLO but today SLO downtown is full of bums and stores paying so high rents you can’t afford to buy products downtown anymore.


$5.00 small coffee downtown, pint of beer $10.00 downtown, parking meters $2.50 an hour and etc. Yes it’s a turn off and the Bernie Sanders politics is only going to make it worse with our solid left liberal council.