Caren Ray announces she’ll run for Arroyo Grande City Council

Caren Ray
Caren Ray dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Former County Supervisor Caren Ray announced Wednesday that she will run for a seat on the Arroyo Grande City Council in November.

Ray, who served on the council from 2010-13, filed her candidate intention statement with the city of Arroyo Grande on Wednesday and formally announced her plans to run for one of the two available council seats in the Nov. 8 general election.

The two available four-year seats are now held by Councilman Jim Guthrie and Councilwoman Kristen Barneich. So far, Barneich is the only council incumbent to file a statement of candidacy with the city and Ray is the first challenger to file.

Barneich declined Wednesday to disclose details of her plans at this time. Guthrie did not immediately respond to requests for comment on his intentions for November.

I hope the experience I can bring can be a grounding force for it.

Caren Ray

In making her announcement, Ray said she hopes to return to the council because she believes she can bring a “forward-thinking vision” back to the city.

“I think the council has really struggled in the past couple of months,” Ray said, noting a City Council decision Tuesday to fire city manager Dianne Thompson. “I hope the experience I can bring can be a grounding force for it.”

Ray also pointed to what she sees as a continued negative focus on past incidents such as the resignation of former City Manager Steve Adams in 2014 after he was found alone at night in City Hall with a subordinate. An investigation found no wrongdoing but criticized Adams for poor judgment.

Ray was first appointed to the council in 2010 to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of Councilman Ed Arnold. She was elected in 2012 and left the city in 2013 when Gov. Jerry Brown chose her to fill the 4th District seat with the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors after the death of Supervisor Paul Teixeira. Barneich was appointed to fill Ray’s seat.

Ray lost the 4th District seat to Lynn Compton in 2014 in a bruising election that was one of the most expensive supervisor races in county history. She currently teaches government, economics and modern world history at Santa Maria High School.

Mayor Jim Hill is also up for re-election in November after winning the two-year seat in 2014 as a write-in candidate, ousting incumbent Tony Ferrara in a race fueled in large part by the Adams controversy. Hill filed his intention statement with the city in January.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie