Candidate for Mayor of San Luis Obispo
|Why are you running for office?:
|I am running for re-election to continue the significant work we have been able to accomplish since I began serving as San Luis Obispo Mayor in 2016. I am proud of my track record on issues that are important to our community. I approved community-benefitting housing projects with significant deed-restricted affordable units with a focus on housing our local workforce, I made zoning and fee changes to incentivize affordability and child care access, I spearheaded climate action, and I put SLO in a premier position for innovative entrepreneurship with clean, meaningful jobs. In conjunction with the City Council, we opened Cannabis brick-and-mortar retail stores that will bolster economic recovery goals and we closed the $8 million dollar funding gap we were facing due to COVID-19. We also made infrastructure investments while simultaneously paying down our pension liability. During the challenges of COVID, I have worked collaboratively with local businesses and community partners to create a recovery and resiliency plan to keep SLO strong. With a prioritization on public health and downtown vitality, the City has offered tax deferrals and a fast-track permit policy to assist businesses with reopening, initiated an outdoor dining and wellness program, and provided $260,000 of direct funding to small businesses. During this historically challenging time, the City of San Luis Obispo needs proven leadership to keep our local economy moving forward.
|What makes you qualified for the job?:
|I have a long track record of working cooperatively with the community members and regional partners to address the issues we face. I am a visionary leader with a proactive approach. As a natural relationship-builder, I see outreach, connection, and collaboration as critical components to meaningful engagement and solution-making.
|What are your two main priorities if you win?:
|1. To continue to work with local, regional, state, and national leadership to respond and react to support our community through the unprecedented health and economic crisis of COVID-19
2. To continue efforts to accomplish our City’s “Major Goals” that include fiscal responsibility, sustainable transportation, climate action, downtown vitality, and housing (with a focus on effectively addressing homelessness as as well as increasing availability of low-income and workforce housing).
|How will you interact with other governments?:
|Over the past four years in office, I have developed and strengthened non-partisan leadership in San Luis Obispo by interacting in a productive manner with other government entities and representatives on a consistent basis. I am the only mayoral candidate with the plan, the experience, and the skills needed to navigate the many issues facing our City and its future at this volatile time. My goal is to continue to provide the insight and guidance to support our City throughout the duration of the pandemic, while concurrently moving forward with many crucial efforts and initiatives championed through non-partisan collaboration over my past two terms.
|What are your plans to help overcome COVID-19?:
|We have already made substantial achievements to support the community during the pandemic, and I plan to continue to carry out these impactful initiatives in my next term as Mayor of San Luis Obispo. During the challenges of COVID-19, I have prioritized public health and downtown vitality, working collaboratively with local businesses and community partners on the development and implementation of a recovery and resiliency plan that includes tax deferrals, a fast-track permit policy to assist businesses with reopening, an outdoor dining and wellness program, and $260,000 of direct funding to small local businesses.
|Which two issues are most important to you?:
|The two main forces driving my political action are ‘people’ and ‘planet.’ To help the people of San Luis Obispo, and better our community as a whole, I have supported projects yielding smart, practical next-generation housing, as well as housing for the middle class and low-income residents while preserving the character and ambiance of the City.
I have worked to improve biking paths and expand public transportation options. I have taken action on an economic recovery and resiliency plan to help us through the pandemic and regain stability and normalcy as quickly and safely as possible.
My other top priority, which also benefits and supports all people, is the protection of our planet.
As Mayor, I initiated a partnership with Community Choice Energy to provide better pricing and expanded access to clean energy for our community residents, I created a green belt by securing the acquisition of additional protected open space, I supported smart building projects, and I rejected urban sprawl to enhance environmental balance. In addition, I pledged for SLO to become a Net Zero City by 2035 and supported this pledge by laying out a long-term strategic plan with the City Council that targets carbon neutrality. For our people and our planet, I will continue to fight the good fight!
Extended Interview with Heidi Harmon