Man rushes City Hall in search of SLO mayor

January 9, 2020

By CCT STAFF

A homeless man who is said to be romantically interested in San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon burst into City Hall on Monday in attempt to meet with her, then physically confronted City Manager Derek Johnson, who ended up pinning the man to the ground and waiting for police to arrest him.

Harmon and Johnson have responded to the incident with statements about government workers being faced with threats and violence. The mayor, in particular, alleges sexism factored into Monday’s incident.

At about 11 a.m., Lannen Bowers, 58, entered the joint office for city council members, the city clerk and city manager. Bowers asked to meet with Harmon.

When an administrative assistant informed him Harmon was not in her office at the time, Bowers became hostile and threatening, creating commotion and fear in the city office, Johnson said in a statement published on the city website. Bowers then jumped over a short wall separating the reception area from public workspace, surveillance footage of the incident shows.

Johnson then blocked Bowers’ path. Bowers appears to charge into Johnson before both men disappear from the frame of the surveillance video.

The city manager said Bowers assaulted him.

Upon reappearing in the footage, Johnson is seen grabbing Bowers’ arms and taking the man down to the ground outside a City Hall bathroom and near the entrance to the council chambers. Johnson then held down Bowers, who was lying on the ground, for several minutes prior to police officers arriving.

Officers took Bowers into custody without further incident and arrested him. No one suffered injuries during the incident, Johnson said in his statement.

Prior to the incident, Bowers repeatedly tried to contact Harmon, reportedly leaving notes for her. Bowers’ prior behavior and communication with Harmon, although concerning, were not viewed as illegal by police or the city manager.

Lannen Bowers

Following the incident, Harmon stated in a Facebook post that she faces constant threats as a result of her job as mayor.

“The amount of cruelty, rudeness, threats, sexism, stalking, body shaming, rude/threatening comments toward my children, etc. I receive are unbelievable,” Harmon stated in the Facebook post. “And it is not my job to be sacrificed at the altar of “incivility” which is WAY too small a word. It’s no wonder we don’t get very many good people to run for office when we can expect to be treated this way literally EVERY SINGLE DAY.”

Harmon Facebook post linked to a New York Times article headlined, “’Worthless. Gutless. Loser.’ Online Attacks Escalate When The Mayor Is A Woman.”

In his statement, Johnson also said female elected officials face increased risk.

“Certain people in government are more vulnerable, such as those who work in the offices of city leaders, employees whose jobs put them in direct contact with members of the public, and elected officials,” Johnson said in the statement. “Unfortunately, female elected officials face an increased risk.”

SLO officials are currently evaluating additional security precautions at city facilities, Johnson said.

After completing its investigation, San Luis Obispo police will forward the case to the SLO County District Attorney’s Office. Bowers is not currently in custody, according to the county sheriff’s office website.


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SLO_Children_at_play

Apparently Mayor Harmon nor her office staff spend a great deal of time in downtown SLO (well except for when Heidi goes to the discount bin at Beverly’s for another stupid plastic flower for her hair). Anyone who spends even a modicum of time shopping or working downtown has seen a homeless person (or three) rush into an establishment and make a scene. Hmmm, does that mean all downtown businesses in SLO are female owned?


I know Mr. Bowers pretty well, I won’t get into the nature of what our relationship was because I no longer work in that field. I will tell you that a severe methamphetamine addiction does a really good job of appearing to be schizophrenia and/or other mental disorders. Mr. Bowers’ “mental illness” gets worse early in the month after he receives his SSI stipend from his authorized payee. His condition somewhat stabilizes as the days of the month reach the teens and twenties, and his cash runs low. By the 20th, he’s actually a pretty damn nice guy. Trust me, I wouldn’t want to live on the street in his situation without some form of “pain relief” myself.


In May 2018 one of Mr. Bowers’ best friends on the street received permanent housing, professional and legal assistance in applying for SSI / SSDI, inpatient treatment for his alcoholism, and job rehabilitation through a prominent local non-profit agency. Bowers’ “friend” now lives in HASLO housing and has a basic retail job with a major chain store (oh and 18 months sober).


You see, Mr. Bowers’ “friend” used to hang out drunk around city hall, and frequently camp at a bus stop in Heidi Harmon’s neighborhood. I believe this “friend” also got his drunken self escorted off Harmon’s front yard once or twice. For his sins against the Mayor, Lan Bowers’ “friend” from the streets was given priority for housing, SSI/SSDI advocacy, alcohol detox, and job rehabilitation.


Ultimately I am not sure what Lannen Bowers is trying to prove by hard charging into the Mayor’s labyrinth. Maybe he IS attracted to Harmon, hell I’ve seen meth do worse to people (not much worse). Maybe there is some sort of trauma in Lan’s childhood involving fake flowers.


Anyway, in my limited contact with Mr. Bowers, I do know he is somewhat resentful that the guy who lived in the cardboard box next door, got a pretty sweet slice of pie by inadvertently annoying Heidi Harmon. But at least Harmon took the predictable approach toward this recent problem with Bowers: by making it all about herself.


RalphKane

Oh, for the day when the music stops and FedGov’s lenders cut up the credit card…


What will all these SSI/SSDI parasites do then?


They will be hosting keg parties in Idaho to watch riots in Commiefornia on big screen TV!


pi-on

Thank you for providing much needed clarity to the situation.


I would have never commented what I did earlier in the week had I known all this.


I’ll shut up now.


SLO_Children_at_play

One of the primary causes of continued homelessness I saw with the clients I used to work with is that they were awarded SSI / RSDI benefits during the last recession. The chronically unemployed back then discovered how easy it was to qualify for disability benefits, and they jumped on it. So as far as the government bean counters and pie chart creators are concerned, these tens of thousands of unemployed people who “qualified” for SSI are now categorized as disabled. Now watch the magic: nothing in the hat, nothing up my sleeve; PRESTO! Obama’s unemployment numbers start falling.


So for the next several years everything now was hunky-dory. Until property values and rents began to increase, and those on disability benefits can no longer afford rent in even the most ramshackle seedy motel. The folks collecting SSI / RSDI make about $795 to $1200 a month. In SLO county a private bedroom goes for about $700-$1000 easily.


So now the formerly chronically unemployed reinvented themselves as “disabled” and lived a meager (but not homeless) existence off the disability dole. Today they can no longer afford even the cheapest of rooms, and they have become the new “chronically homeless.”


SLO county is also getting milk from the Social Security tit. All the newly homeless people who arrive in this county discover that we pay one of the highest amounts for general assistance cash benefits. SLO county pays about $355 a month to every homeless person who qualifies. BUT you can only draw general assistance for 3 months and have to be actively looking for a job while receiving benefits. OR if you’re disabled you can draw general assistance funds for an indeterminate amount of time given that you have filed for SSI / RSDI and are waiting for approval. Then SLO county petitions Social Security to repay the total amount you received in cash assistance AND food stamps. That is taken from the client’s lump sum back-pay.

So SLO county has hired Social Security experts to guide the client through the SSI system, giving them a better chance of winning their claim.


The homeless problems in this state will NEVER improve with the programs and approaches that are used today. Every dollar spent on the homeless is one more dollar out of a middle-class persons wallet.


obispan

Maybe we can get Harmon, who also does not have a job, and Bowers, SSDI, or “crazy pay” as they call it, and $700,000 condos and there will be no more conflict.


pi-on

It is to laugh at all this.


Harmon should be glad that someone is interested in her. BTW, talk about a Freudian response in regards to how Harmon & Johnson feel about dealing with the public:


” …employees whose jobs put them in direct contact with members of the public…”


If that doesn’t indicate how they feel about dealing with the public nothing will.


paragon

Harmon should be glad that someone is interested in her.


Wow… you can disagree with someone’s politics but saying they should be glad that a crazy stalker rushed into her workplace because “someone is interested in her” is way below the line. Grow up.


pi-on

I do not and have never wished for any harm to come to Harmon, Johnson, nor anyone else. I just figured that it was quite comical that this guy was willing to break the law in order to tell Harmon of his affection for her. BTW, I don’t approve of his stalking-that is definitely outside of proper behavior.


I should have used the word ‘flattered’ instead of of ‘glad’. Mea culpa.


I’ll ‘grow up’ when you get a sense of humor.


aye-caramba

Well now, the culture of victimhood has risen to encompass female politicians? Oh good grief. They ALL want to be up out front, want everybody to look at them, they want to feel really valued and important, and they love to wield power and influence. They CHOOSE to run…now they feel entitled to sympathy because of the public and crazies that are part of the political landscape? Hey Harmon, that’s the sad state of the place you rule, the homeless you ignore. The public is accosted DAILY ALL OVER TOWN.


MrYan

They choose to run. You choose to be uncivil. Everyone has choices to make.


Francesca Bolognini

I guess the abusers know who they are.


laftch

Obviously a deranged psychopath.


Francesca Bolognini

More likely a schizophrenic off his meds. also, a lot of the homeless are brain injured. That is often why vets are homeless.


Ralph Snart

Just because people care for animals doesn’t mean you should act like one.


jbt

What a noodge! (That Bowers guy is pretty annoying too.)


Ralph Snart

I have been judged on my looks. Threatened, harassed and assaulted all based on my sex. Gender too! I should be mayor!


Ricky2

The story is always about Heidi. Her blogosphere response to this incident said she’s “awesome,” so maybe the poor fellow takes her at her word and thus finds his romantic incitement. Heidi, you’re at least our fourth female mayor, all three predecessors proved themselves competent, and none of the others carried on like you do about how awful “people” treat women. Has it occurred to you that when one sows hatred seeds like this on Facebook and elsewhere, some of them will take root? It would be interesting to know if the fellow was denied an interview previously, since we all know that’s how you treat any of us you don’t want to talk to. Anyway, he clearly has a screw loose, needs some help, and thank goodness nobody got hurt. Now, can you lay down your collection of grievances against the rest of us and run a decent and fair city instead of the gulag you’ve been running? I think you actually could be a fair mayor with some major attitude adjustment.


panflash

Well, jeez, Heidi, maybe he just wanted to thank you for all your “concern” about the homeless and your efforts to bring more homeless into town.


And, as far as being “… treated this way literally EVERY SINGLE DAY”- as President Harry Truman once said, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”


slomike

You’re showing about a much compassion as Trump when he said the plane shot down in Iran was flying in a “rough neighborhood”.