On Wednesday, the Department of Justice revealed that San Luis Obispo resident and Natural Healing Center founder Helios Dayspring plead guilty in federal court to bribery and failing to report millions in income to the IRS. According to federal prosecutors, from fall 2016 to 2019, Dayspring paid the late District 3 Supervisor Adam Hill $32,000 in cash and money orders in exchange for favorable votes on Dayspring’s cannabis businesses before he obtained final permitting approvals. According to the unsealed federal court filing, Hill also received cannabis products from Dayspring for free and was and paid for several meals.
Dayspring also admitted his attempt to bribe then-Grover Beach mayor John Shoals with $100,000 in 2017 in exchange for two dispensary licenses. Shoals did not respond to the offer and Dayspring did not pay the bribe.
Once the plea agreement is made official, prosecutors say Dayspring will face a maximum sentence of 13 years in federal prison.
I’ve been following this story for a while now. And so has CalCoastNews, who wasted no time taking credit for first breaking the allegations and using these latest developments as a fundraising vehicle. And while they certainly were the first to talk about corruption allegations involving Hill and Dayspring, they were never specific — only going so far as referring to unspecified corruption allegations by “multiple growers” and “former employees.” We didn’t know anything more than that.
But you know what? I’m going to say something rather unconventional here. Good for them. Why? Because at least they raised the subject.
That’s as far as any positive acknowledgment goes. Yes, they were onto something. And yes, we should talk about criminal corruption more in SLO County without media outlets feeling compelled to overlook it to appease advertisers. But out of the volumes of criminal allegations and hundreds of negative articles they levied against the supervisor and his family, the only thing that came to fruition was this federal investigation. Everything else? Pure vendetta. As for this? No journalists get a Pulitzer for reporting on what the milkman told them. If you want to be taken seriously as a journalist, you have to do some actual digging and not rest your laurels on hearsay.