In a newsletter issued at the halfway mark of her first term, San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon discussed her 2017 achievements and previewed what is to come in the city of SLO in 2018. More bicycle roads appear imminent, and the activist-turned-mayor will gain a global audience in a soon-to-be-released TEDX Talk, according to the newsletter.
Following her first year on the job, Harmon listed achievements that include repealing SLO’s controversial rental inspection ordinance, making climate action a city goal and having San Luis Obispo become a welcoming city — which supports people regardless of their immigration status. While the unpopular rental inspection ordinance, which Harmon campaigned on repealing, is now gone, it remains to be seen what, if anything, might replace it.
“We’re now working on a way to assure people’s basic health and safety while respecting and honoring their privacy,” Harmon stated in her year in review newsletter.
Harmon, a longtime environmental activist, additionally praised the city for “moving away from plastics” with its new regulations on distribution of straws and plastic water bottles. Likewise, the mayor said San Luis Obispo is prioritizing bicycle infrastructure and moving toward a “less car centric future.”
“It is impossible to predict the future, but those that study it see private car ownership dropping 80 percent by 2030,” Harmon wrote.
Harmon said the city is moving to create more bike boulevards in 2018. While the current city council supports increased bicycle traffic in SLO, numerous residents have protested the move to convert more streets into bicycle boulevards.
On fiscal policy, Harmon briefly mentioned that the city has unfunded liabilities. She did not, however, discuss the scope of the city’s pension issue, which has created budget shortfalls as unfunded liabilities have soared to approximately $170 million.
Harmon’s newsletter does note that she ran the San Luis Obispo Half Marathon and delivered a TEDX Talk.
“I got to share the story of how I became an activist and went from being an activist for change to being elected as mayor in a TEDX Talk,” Harmon wrote.
The mayor’s TEDX Talk will soon be released online, according to the newsletter.