Council Contract – Conflict Concerns

The Aug. 23 Morro Bay City Council meeting, my public comment was interrupted by Mayor John Headding. Ironically, my public comment spoke to the City’s lack of transparency in their public process.

Had I not been interrupted or muted, I would have revealed the potential conflict of interest between Mayor Headding and councilmember Jen Ford. As co-owner of the marketing agency Rock Harbor Marketing, Ford provided marketing services for Headding’s election and re-election campaigns in 2018 and 2020, respectively. 

But evidence indicates that Ford remains involved in Headding’s 2022 re-election campaign.

FACT: On Mayor Headding’s campaign Facebook page, RHM was listed as its current operator.

FACT: According to Headding campaign filings from Aug. 21, 2021, Headding paid RHM $450 to host his campaign’s domain name through 2022.

FACT: On Headding’s 2022 re-election website, evidence within its source code indicates RHM remains involved.

It’s unprecedented and improper to have a sitting councilmember provide marketing services for a mayor’s re-election campaign. This undercuts any credible claims of independent voting by Councilmember Ford and Mayor Headding. Councilmember Dawn Addis also received services from RHM for her Morro Bay council campaign. There is a financial motive for the council majority to vote with a rubber stamp.

I call on Mayor Headding to end his contract with RHM immediately to eliminate this long-standing conflict of interest.

Aaron Ochs
Morro Bay

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