SLO Mayor Heidi Harmon resigns, denies connection to FBI case

August 27, 2021

Mayor Heidi Harmon, photo by Richard Bastian

By KAREN VELIE

Amid allegations she took gifts from a marijuana businessman, San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon announced Thursday she is stepping down to battle climate change.

First elected mayor in 2016, Harmon said she plans to continue living in SLO while she works as a senior public affairs director for the Romero Institute’s Let’s Green CA initiative, a nonprofit affiliated with electric provider Central Coast Community Energy. During Harmon’s tenure, the SLO City Council voted to contract with Central Coast Community Energy to provide electricity to residents.

Harmon suggested she has to choose between having a job or serving as mayor, even though the vast majority of mayors in SLO County have full time jobs.

Photo by Richard Bastian

When asked if an FBI investigation into corruption and the arrest Wednesday of marijuana kingpin Helios Dayspring had influenced her decision to step down, Harmon said she is not under investigation and that she properly reported Dayspring’s donations.

In 2018, Dayspring and his marijuana brand Natural Healing Center hosted a fundraiser for eight politicians including Harmon. While Harmon accepted multiple donations from people affiliated with the marijuana industry during the event, she listed those donors as retired or under a non-marijuana related occupation on her financial report.

Harmon also failed to disclose Dayspring’s non-monetary donation until after CalCoastNews reported on the issue.

Shortly before Harmon voted for a resolution establishing criteria for city staff to rank marijuana shop applicants, Dayspring allegedly ordered his staff to give Harmon two bags containing approximately $1,000 worth of complimentary marijuana products, according to one of Dayspring’s former business partners. Harmon did not respond to email questions about the alleged gift.

Following Harmon’s Sept. 26 resignation, the SLO City Council will have 30 days to appoint a new mayor or to call for a special election. In the interim, Vice Mayor Erica Stewart will serve as mayor.


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Jorge Estrada

I hope that her battle on climate change keeps her at some all electric house in SLO using clean energy, provided by our clean nuclear power plant. Driving or flying all over the place would seem to be a contradiction? Additionally, if California outlaws small engines, there goes your standby generators and a no electric house.


AllenTheTalent

Does anybody think SLO voters won’t elect another unqualified, narcissistic, racist, corrupt individual? It’s about time she’s gone. Good luck to her “battling climate change”. Get it together SLO. She did nothing about the crime rate which is among the highest in America for a city the size of SLO…A bit higher than Santa Maria. Yeah, Santa Maria.


kayaknut

As long as they continue to let part time Cal Poly students vote, those living back at home while remote learning, that’s what they’ll get.


Buchon

…A bit higher than Santa Maria. Yeah, Santa Maria.


Any proof? Thanks.


AllenTheTalent
sloslo

Agree about Harmon doing a shoddy job, but your crime stats are wrong. If you look at the FBI crime stats for recent years, Santa Maria has a population roughly twice as big as SLO and about 3-4 times higher amount of violent crimes. Overall, crime rates have decreased for all cities over the past decade or two.


kayaknut

It easy to make crime rates go down when you stop arresting the individuals who commit the crimes and reclassify what is a crime, steal less than $950 and never even spend a day in jail and walk away with a fix-it ticket. Plus many businesses don’t even report it and its a miracle crime rates go down since no one is reporting crimes.


AllenTheTalent

What are you talking about?!? SLO let 200+ BLM racists block a freeway! SLO should have had 500+ arrests just from the Black lives matter idiots extorting businesses and terrorizing people. Get a clue.


Buchon

I figured that comment about SLO having a lower crime rate than SM was bull manure…


womanwhohasbeenthere

After watching the press conference online, I can say that Heidi Harmon is one of the most self-centered, insipid people I have ever had the displeasure to come across. Why this Romero organization would hire her as a spokesperson is beyond me. She snapped at a lady in obvious distress, blew off serious but uncomfortable questions, and just seemed to be enjoying everything revolving around her. It was frankly embarrassing.


Boldguy

The voters of SLO City that put Mighty Heidi and Adam Hill in office are still there, let’s hope they make better choices next election!!!


Buchon

Excellent, important point!


copperhead

Good lesson for those who give their time and effort in support of politicians. They are all self serving and dirty to various degrees. A waste of time, money and effort.


slogirl

No one cares. Buh bye


Adam Trask

Gee, a politician who cashes in on her connections to become a well paid lobbyist. That’s never happened.


mazin

Listening to her once on KVEC, thought climate change was her thing, driven.

As for corruption versus campaign donations, appears to depend on the slant.

What I can say is the city needs budget control; lower salaries and benefits; fewer high salaried positions; selling off SOME of the excessive greenbelts for high density housing and using sale proceed to pay down debt, fund retirement obligations. Get this level of gov’t in fiscal order, imho.


Niles Q

Good-Luck, good-bye and good-riddance