By JOSH FRIEDMAN
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday the appointment of Santa Barbara Councilwoman Meagan Harmon to replace former Pismo Beach councilman Erik Howell on the California Coastal Commission. Harmon, 34, is a progressive Democrat who has served on the Santa Barbara City Council since Feb. 2019.
On the Coastal Commission, Harmon will represent the South Central Coast, which consists of SLO, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Elected officials in each of the three counties had requested that Newsom appoint Harmon to the commission.
In SLO County, Supervisor Bruce Gibson wanted to recommend Santa Barbara County Supervisor Das Williams and Morro Bay Mayor John Headding as Coastal Commission candidates. Both Williams and Headding are strong supporters of marijuana businesses, and industry Gibson promotes.
Nevertheless, the SLO County board selected Harmon based on her views about the economic importance of off-road vehicle use at the Oceano Dunes.
Ex-councilman Howell was appointed to the Coastal Commission in 2014. In the 2020 election, Howell lost his seat on the Pismo Beach council and thus on the Coastal Commission, as well.
An attorney by profession, Harmon has been an associate at Hepner & Meyers LLP since 2020. Harmon worked at Griffith & Thornburgh LLP from 2019 to 2020 and Morrison & Foerster LLP from 2015 to 2019.
From 2014 to 2015, Harmon was a Visiting Fellow for the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School. Between 2010 and 2011, she served as a program consultant at the German humanitarian aid organization Welthungerhilfe.
Additionally, Harmon serves as first Vice President for the Channel Cities Division and is a member of the Housing Community and Economic Development Policy Committee at the California League of Cities.