Arroyo Grande Mayor Jim Hill and Councilwoman Caren Ray have both announced plans to run for the mayor’s seat in the November election.
Amid allegations of graft and corruption by former mayor Tony Ferrara and other city officials, in 2014 voters elected write in candidate Hill over Ferrara, a 16-year incumbent. Since then, former Ferrara supporters including Ray have voiced their opposition to the change in leadership.
In the Nov. 2016 election battle, most of the candidates were divided between those who supported the Ferrara council and his close ties to former South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District administrator John Wallace and those who wanted change. At that time, Hill won the mayor’s seat while Ray won a seat on the council.
Since 2016, Hill and Ray have been on opposite sides on many votes. For example, Ray has supported a pro-growth agenda while Hill, a nuclear engineer, wanted a drought related moratorium on new construction.
Ray, a Santa Maria High School teacher, served on the Arroyo Grande Council from 2010 to 2013. In 2013, Gov. Jerry Brown appointed her to the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors following the death of Paul Teixeira. Ray lost her seat in the 2014 race to now Supervisor Lynn Compton and ran for the Arroyo Grande Council in 2016.
The candidate who receives the most votes in the Nov. 6 election will win the mayor’s seat.