Opinion by Arroyo Grande Mayor Jim Hill
By now we’re getting used to the false statements and spin from Arroyo Grande mayor candidate Caren Ray- like the one accusing me of “misconduct.”
Let’s see- Ray’s confederate Patty Welch falsely accused me of publicizing a confidential personnel matter –actually a contract that was obviously a public record- and Ray then made a motion to have me investigated. That was the investigation that went through 4,000 pages of documents and found nothing, but cost city and district taxpayers $100,000.
Wait a minute- Patty Welch- isn’t she the Ray campaign worker who vandalized campaign signs and personal property nearby?
Ray claims that I was censured for misconduct at the Sanitation District. What I did was stand up for an employee who was receiving racially motivated attacks. Ray asked her supporters, John Shoals and Linda Austin -both currently under investigation for conflicts of interest by the FPPC- to set up the censure. They did, but of course wouldn’t even show up to vote for it.
Shoals sent Barbara Nicolls, wife of Bill Nicolls who helped Tony Ferrara enable John Wallace’s criminal conflict of interest, to vote for it instead.
Ray has said she isn’t a “watchdog.” That part may be true. More like a dog watching a bank robbery -observing but not comprehending.
While a director of the Integrated Waste Management Agency, Ray merely observed as the administrator there misappropriated large sums of public money; apparently seeing but never questioning. It took AG City Council member Tim Brown to realize something was seriously wrong there and take action to stop it.
Ray has claimed to be a visionary leader, but when questioned about it by Dave Congalton, she stated her vision was for plaques and public art in the city parks. Really? Ray has major financial backing from big land developers who have a vastly different vision and expect Ray to facilitate that. Stack packing residential development projects that are out of character in our city and for which we don’t have the water resources is not the vision we share.
Ray thinks I’ve spent too much time focusing on the Sanitation District. While I’m proud of my record there, I’m reminded that the wastewater recycling project that we’re working on there in partnership with the City of Pismo Beach is the key to long term water sustainability in the Five Cities. I do understand those issues. Ray- not so much.
As the only representative who doesn’t live in the Village, my focus is on the entire city. I’m working on financial sustainability, including restructuring the Five Cities Fire Authority so Arroyo Grande residents don’t have to pay an additional $1 million a year for that service– a sum that would leave us with no parks to worry about putting plaques and artwork in, and no maintained streets to enable a fire department response. The Fire Authority wants your million dollars a year and they’re supporting Ray.
But on Nov. 6, the choice is yours.