Santa Barbara City Councilmember Meagan Harmon was just appointed to the California Coastal Commission, beating out Santa Barbara County Supervisor Das Williams, who had also been seeking the politically prestigious appointment. A third candidate — Vianey Lopez, who is an Oxnard city councilmember and district manager to State Sen. Monique Limón — was also seeking the appointment
Harmon, a lawyer fluent in four languages, has yet to run a competitive race for elected office. Appointed to fill a council vacancy in 2019, she then won “re-election” without facing an opponent, and now appears poised to run unopposed again. In that time, she has emerged as a supernova of the local Democratic establishment. She quietly and politely battled Williams, a seasoned political pro who first served on the Santa Barbara City Council, then in the State Assembly, and now on the County Board of Supervisors, for the appointment.
Harmon and Williams are both liberal, environmentally minded Democrats. What informed Governor Gavin Newsom’s decision in favor of Harmon is open for speculation, but Williams drew the vocal and organized wrath of anti-cannabis activists in the Carpinteria Valley who have long complained he was too cozy with industry interests and didn’t do enough to protect the aromatic quality of life.
CORRECTION: This story was updated on May 5 to indicate that a third candidate was also seeking the Coastal Commission appointment.