Harmon denies being under investigation by the FBI for connections to Helio Dayspring
SAN LUIS OBISPO — In a press conference on Thursday, Aug. 26, San Luis Obispo City Mayor Heidi Harmon announced she is stepping down as mayor to take a role as a statewide climate advocate.
She will be taking a new job as the Senior Public Affairs Director for the Romero Institute’s Let’s Green CA initiative.
Harmon explained the career change decision came after one of her children texted her in the middle of the night concerned about the United Nations’ Climate Change report.
The Institute describes Let’s Green CA as a climate justice movement with the goal of creating a carbon-neutral California.
Since Harmon took office, climate action has been a major city goal, and the city has adopted a plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035.
Harmon was elected mayor in 2016.
City officials say Harmon will leave office by Sept. 26, 2021. The city council is scheduled to meet on Sept. 7 to decide whether to appoint someone to fill the mayor’s position or hold a special election.
If the council decides to appoint someone, city officials say an application period will open in September, and an appointment will be made at a council meeting in October. That person will hold the office through the end of the term in December 2022.
Harmon said she does plan to reside in San Luis Obispo.
Following her announcement, reporters immediately questioned Harmon if her resignation had anything to do with recent allegations that she is connected to Helios Dayspring, founder of the cannabis retailer Natural Healing Center.
Dayspring was arrested in early August and pleaded guilty to bribery and failing to report millions of dollars in income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Referring to his plea agreement, Dayspring admitted to bribing former San Luis Obispo County District 3 Supervisor Adam Hill to further his cannabis businesses.
Hill was found dead at his home in Pismo Beach on Aug. 6, 2020. The San Luis Obispo County Coroner’s Office ruled his death a suicide.
In March 2020, Hill was hospitalized for what he said was an attempted suicide. That same day the FBI carried out a search warrant at the San Luis Obispo County Government Center. Neither Hill nor the FBI would comment on the investigation at the time.
The current charges against Dayspring are reportedly part of an ongoing public corruption investigation in SLO County.
When Harmon announced her resignation, allegations were made that she took gifts from Dayspring.
When asked if she was under investigation, Harmon said no and that all of the donations made to her campaign have been properly reported—including donations made by Dayspring.
Harmon took no further questions on her connection to Dayspring.