Caren Ray said she will resume her career as a high school teacher when her term as county supervisor expires at the end of the year.
“I’ve still got to pay the bills,” she said.
Since 2007, Ray had been a modern world history teacher at Santa Maria High School. She was granted a leave of absence by the district through the end of this year after she was appointed a year ago to serve out the remainder of the late Supervisor Paul Teixeira’s term.
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The issue of water, particularly the Paso Robles groundwater basin, has been a topic that has dominated Ray’s term on the board. One of her first votes as a county supervisor was to approve a two-year emergency ordinance that prohibited any new planting or development in the basin unless it is offset by an equal amount of conservation.
During the campaign, Compton said she opposes the emergency ordinance because she is not convinced there is a water crisis in the basin.
A key vote that Compton may take early in her term is whether to petition the county Local Agency Formation Commission to form a water district to manage the Paso Robles basin. In October, supervisors directed county Public Works staff to begin the process of drawing up a water district petition for LAFCO, a process that is expected to take eight months to complete.
Compton was not available Wednesday to say whether she would support the formation of a Paso Robles water district. Supervisor Frank Mecham, whose district includes much of the Paso Robles basin, and Supervisor Bruce Gibson, who chairs the board, said the future of the basin is one of several issues they hope to speak to Compton about.
“I look forward to hearing her thoughts on that,” Gibson said.
Compton campaigned on a platform of supporting small businesses and property rights. She also came out against too many regulations, which she said stifled job creation.
The vote to begin the process of preparing a LAFCO petition passed by 4-1. Supervisor Debbie Arnold voted “no.” Once the petition is complete, supervisors will have to vote to submit it to LAFCO.
If Compton joins Arnold in opposing the formation of a district, the petition could still be approved in a 3-2 vote, with Mecham, Gibson and Supervisor Adam Hill voting in favor.