SLO County recommends Santa Barbara councilwoman for Coastal Commission seat

Santa Barbara Councilwoman Meagan Harmon

Elected officials in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties have asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to appoint Santa Barbara City Councilwoman Meagan Harmon to represent the Central Coast on the California Coastal Commission.

Harmon has served on the Santa Barbara City Council since February 2019. She is a progressive Democrat.

In San Luis Obispo County, Supervisor Bruce Gibson wanted to recommend Santa Barbara County Supervisor Das Williams and Morro Bay Councilman Mayor John Headding. Both Williams and Heading are strong supporters of cannabis businesses, an industry Gibson strongly supports.

Even so, the SLO County board selected Harmon based on her views regarding the economic importance of off-road vehicle use at the Ocean Dunes.

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors selected Harmon and Williams, based on their knowledge of the Central Coast.

Ventura County nominated Harmon and four others — Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks, Oxnard City Councilwomen Gabriela Basua and Vianey Lopez and Port Hueneme City Councilwoman Laura Hernandez.

The Coastal Commission, which is made up of 12 voting members who are appointed by the governor, plans and regulates the use of land and water in the coastal zone, including “activities that change the intensity of use of land or public access to coastal waters.”

Former Pismo Beach City Councilman Erik Howell was appointed to the Coastal Commission in 2014 to represent the South Central Coast, which consists of SLO, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. In the 2020 election, Howell lost his seats on the council and the Coastal Commission.

It is now up to Gov. Newsom to appoint a commissioner and an alternate to represent the South Central Coast.