Who ignored SLO County corruption?

August 10, 2021

Daniel Blackburn


Who would have thought? Civic corruption in the happiest county in America?

Well, dang. Let’s look first at Wade Horton, San Luis Obispo County administrator. Wade recently expressed surprise and feigned concern over recent revelations of deep-rooted criminal behavior rampant in local government offices.

This is a man who has not only been in a position to know what was occurring, but did unquestionably know, probably in excruciatingly clear detail. Wade’s method of dealing with individuals discovered to have been taking financial advantage of their positions was to assist in their quiet departure after extracting a promise of silence.

Wade likely knew more about Adam Hill’s ongoing unlawful foibles than anyone in the county. For him to sanctimoniously crow now about keeping things on the up and up is truly laughable. Wade has been much more interested in illusion and covering his backside than in truth.

And then comes the Tribune’s jaw-dropping editorial whitewashing Hill’s history and nearly suggesting he may be in line for sainthood. “Time to move on” from talking about Hill and his crooked cadre of compatriots, says the Tribune. This is remarkable, because the paper’s progressive base would be the last to make such a suggestion that America move on from the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Here’s a publication that is supposed to deliver to their readers a candid and factual report of goings-on in the county, but has opted instead to adopt favorite politicians and back them regardless of their behavior. The Tribune has had access to much of the same information that CalCoastNews has used to report on Hill and his bandit band, yet they ignored the obvious.

Hill practically boasted about skill in plucking bribes from the pockets of those folks who needed his vote on a particular issue. CalCoastNews started reporting on his penchant for play-for-pay back in 2016. Those reports were fact-based and document-rich, but roundly ignored by the newspaper’s editors. More often than not, a story would appear that directly contradicted CalCoastNews’ reporting, lauding Hill or one of his cohorts.

The facts were there. And ignored.

So let’s just move on, says the paper of record. Let’s just pretend that this was all just an unfortunate series of circumstances.

No. Let’s not.

Usurping its moral authority with the vacuous plea for us to forget the past, the Tribune hopes we won’t notice that they have been profiting greatly over the past few years from the ill-gotten gains of organized crime.

They won’t tell you, but maybe you will have an opportunity to ask a Tribune editor, ‘How much has Helios Dayspring paid for advertising in the paper over the past four years or so?’ If you had the answer you would understand the Trib’s kid-glove handling of criminals.

The Tribune would meet CalCoastNews’ reporting on Dayspring’s open bribing of officials for greasing the wheels of a permit or two with a puff piece, extolling Dayspring as a benevolent medicine man – and again questioning CalCoastNews’ reporting.

Even today, the Tribune advocates for Dayspring’s marijuana businesses, now in the hands of his girlfriend.

I once worked for a newspaper whose publisher told me, “Write what you want, but don’t f**k with the Cadillac dealer.” That was the newspaper’s primary financial support.

But the Tribune’s situation is much different from that of a small-town publisher. The Tribune is a McClatchy paper, part of a once-proud reporting machine with ample resources to uncover and report on important community news. Instead, the paper advocates we forget Hill’s larceny and… yes, they really said this, vote for a Democrat to offset the Republican majority on the board of supervisors.


Adam Hill was a criminal who operated openly and brazenly year after year, without any apparent fear. No one was in a better position to know this than administrator Horton.

One public official, Debbie Peterson, former mayor of Grover Beach, resigned her position and talked openly about massive corruption. She was roundly ignored, too.

But the Tribune thinks we should just move on – and oh, vote Democratic. Here’s part of their ridiculous screed:

“At this point, though, it serves little purpose to dwell on shaming the late supervisor, who died by suicide a year ago.

“Nor is it constructive to call out Hill’s supporters, as some are now doing.

“Just because someone agreed with Hill, voted for him or contributed to his campaigns does not make them guilty by association.”

Actually, often, it does just that.

The Tribune editorial, which looks like it might have been penned by lobbyist Tom Fulks, refers to “allegations” of Hill’s conduct. Ask the FBI if these are only accusations as their long-running investigation continues.

In one glaring example of officials’ ability to ignore criminal behavior in their faces, take the case of Carolyn Goodrich, former board secretary of the Integrated Waste Management Agency (IWMA), now charged with 10 felonies, nine for embezzlement and one of destruction of public records.

Goodrich’s misuse of an agency credit card was obvious, because CalCoastNews was reporting on it two years ago. She could not have been stealing from tax funds without the knowledge of her then-boss, William Worrell.

And she probably wouldn’t have been able to destroy public records if District Attorney Dan Dow had not warned IWMA officials that they were planning on moseying on down and collecting a little evidence. Goodrich then acquired a paper shredder and brasshly took care of Dow’s evidence in her own way.

So who allowed Goodrich to rip off county taxpayers?

Former manager Worrell must know that California law is very specific when it comes to this kind of criminality.

That law specifies that there is no time limit to bring charges for crimes such as murder or embezzlement of public funds.

Forget Hill? Forget his crimes? Forget his co-conspirators?

Yeah. Sure.

CalCoastNews co-founder Dan Blackburn thinks crimes should be punished.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

How is Dayspring legally able to transfer his businesses to his girlfriends name? There is not much of a point on having an approval process for dispensaries or limiting how many walk in dispensaries the county can have if the people approved can transfer the business over to somebody else when they get caught breaking laws.

The whole thing is complete bullshit and not enough people are calling it out. Really, I would like to see the entire city hitting Mayor Harmon with comments asking her why this is allowed and what her involvement is, but unfortunately, no one really is. She cannot legally delete comments, so I really think this is the best way, unless people have another plan to demand justice here.


Very good, truthful, valid points made here. Probably why I don’t know anyone in my circle who reads the Trib anymore.


Bruce Gibson, behind it all, the stench of SLO.

Dan Blackburn will discuss this essay Wednesday at 6:05 p.m. at 920kvec.com.

Great, but where’s Velie? Let’s hear from her Dave!

Why doesn’t Grover Beach Mayor, Jeff Lee, come out and address the issues? Maybe his full time job at the SLO County an his position in Grover have a conflict of interest?

The ONLY way The Trib and New Times can remotely redeem themselves is to disavow any money from ad sales from Dayspring’s operations. No matter who know technically owns them, they were established by corrupt means.

Did they say they’re going to? Are they still going to run Natural Healing Center and Megan’s ads? (Megan’s is shadow run by Helios, no matter how much he tries to obscure that fact and make it seem like he has competition).

Also, please help me press Heidi Harmon on her involvement in all of this. She keeps trying to deflect the conversation to masks/vaccines while she needs to be made to at least comment on her involvement with this. Her campaign manager Nick Andre is literally the same person as NHC’s Chief Operating Officer, and it would be quite a shame if people just let this information go.


Dayspring is ridiculously corrupt and we all know The New Times and The Tribune are actively not going to report on it unless their hands are actively forced. Santa Maria Sun did today though. Keep in mind that Heidi Harmon and everyone pictured in this 2018 CNN article have not commented on this at all:



A lawsuit filed against Dayspring in August 2020 alleges that Dayspring used company funds to pay for his personal legal expenses related to FBI and IRS investigations, according to previous Sun reporting. The suit filed by William Szymczak alleged that Dayspring “grossly mismanaged” the $15 million he invested in Dayspring’s companies in 2018, and asserted that Dayspring committed fraud and breach of contract and fiduciary duty, among other claims.

A settlement hearing in the case is scheduled for Aug. 12 in SLO County Superior Court.

NHC announced via Facebook on July 27 that Dayspring’s girlfriend, Valnette Garcia, is the the company’s new CEO. She ran the company’s cannabis delivery service for years.”

PRESSURE HARMON AND THE REST ON THIS. Make comments on her weird-ass Instagram page where she talks about eating cookies and her manicures (ridiculous activity from a Mayor) and ask her what her involvement is on this and why she is refusing to comment. It would be an absolute travesty if she covers up her involvement with Dayspring successfully and we all accept it.


The Tribune has become a disgrace. Move on from what? one might ask. Well, in their reporting they showed what they mean. A day or so after the Dayspring plea bargain announcement, they ran a story that might as well have been headlined “Can I still buy my dope at Dayspring’s stores?” Well, sure, they told us, which isn’t even true, given the permits are all being “reviewed” by city and county officials. Of course, since these officials are on the take in one way or another (and ogling tax $ that pay their salaries is one form of being on the take, along with others even less savory), that “review” is just public relations, not a signal of coming permit cancellation, so I guess the Trib’s right, we can still buy our dope.

The Tribune used to be a newspaper proud of shining a bright light into dimly-lit places where harm was done to the public. But those days, sadly, are long past. Today’s McClatchy rag is merely a mouthpiece for the establishment, most of which is to one degree or another corrupt in its very soul if not in the palm of its hand.