New Arroyo Grande councilwoman leads a harried secret life

June 8, 2010

By KAREN VELIE

Scandal-ridden former councilmember Ed Arnold stepped down to allow the Arroyo Grande City Council to avoid distraction related to his personal life, but at his replacement’s very first council meeting, questions about her lifestyle started a confrontation between her supporters and her critics.

Public comment about recently appointed Arroyo Grande Councilwoman Caren Ray’s activities with the San Luis Obispo Hash House Harriers brought a moment of stunned silence to Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.

“I think it is highly embarrassing,” said Kevin Rice speaking about Ray’s activities as part of the reputed drinking club during the public comment period. “It is not reflective in what the community is looking for in a councilmember.”

An unnamed supporter of Ray and the SLO Hash House Harriers confronted Rice in the lobby of the city building and angrily accused him of ruining Ray’s professional life by making private matters public. Another supporter, who also refused to be named, objected to Rice mentioning Ray doing Jello shots in the Wal-Mart parking lot in ear shot of his 8-year-old daughter during public comment.

And while some residents contend that what Ray does in her private life should be kept private, others do not agree.

“With her lifestyle, she should not be a councilmember,” said Deb Napzok, an Arroyo Grande resident. “This is not who we want to represent our town.”

According to the SLO House Harriers web site, they are “a drinking group with a running problem.” They organize runs called hashers, an event that involves drinking and running after someone dubbed the hare.

Hashing is a mixture of athleticism, drinking, public nudity, cross dressing and hedonism, according to a hasher website.

Members are given nicknames such as Princess, Panama Jackoff, Rub Her Dinghy and SLO-Cop-You-Later (Ray’s nickname).

“It is a running group,” Ray said. “I have not been to an event in some time because it can be misjudged. I am no longer a member.”

And while Ray, a Santa Maria High School social sciences teacher, contends this is just normal adult activity, her comments about drinking in public places such as the Arroyo Grande Wal-Mart parking lot, sex on the running trail and her students’ drinking has caused some to question her ability to represent the city.

A 2009 news article about the Santa Maria High School swim team which is coached by Ray, notes that the swimmers have been given nicknames such as a girl dubbed Cherry Drop and a guy named Princess.

A few days after the story was published, another Hash House Harrier, Julie Workman said on the Yahoo string frequented by the group, “What’s up with one of them having the same nickname as our own Princess? Hmmm, nicknaming a student after your husband, should I be concerned?

“Also, Cherry Drop isn’t a half bad hash name,” Workman added. “Does she like to drink beer?”

Another hasher, “Otter Sea My Clam,” chimed in and asked Ray if the naming of her student was part of a hash crossover.

Ray responded, “We’re totally unashamed of taking a page out of the Hash Handbook for namings! The kid named Princess… :-) And yes, funny you should ask, Cherry Drop has been known to toss a few back.”

Santa Maria Principal Craig Huseth said it is inappropriate for his teachers to be discussing their students on public message boards. Ray, however, does not agree.

“There is nothing wrong with me commenting on a student’s drinking,” Ray said. “She (Cherry Drop) is known to toss a few back.”

Earlier this year, another Yahoo message string starts with the posting of a man’s bare butt with the word “bitch’ welted or stamped into the skin three times. While the picture says “by SLO-Cop-You-Later,” Ray contends someone else posted the photo.

Next on the string, Stubby Python asked, “Where is my phone, where is my hair, why do I have a black eye and what the f**k is stamped on my ass?”

Ray responded by telling Stubby Python she could clear up his questions.

“That’s not your ass,” Ray said. “Yours was tied to a pole with a five dollar bill stuck in your crack.”

Ray told CalCoastNews her postings were in reference to a birthday party she attended with people she has know for 30 years and that her comments should have been kept private.

“There is nothing questionable or irresponsible,” Ray said. “Some of this is tongue in cheek.

“This goes back to a difficult appointment and there are camps of people upset that their person didn’t win (the council seat).”

Rice does not agree and points to several YouTube videos which display hashers exposing themselves and to photos on the group’s website.

Pictures include female genitalia, a man with his testicles placed on a passed out man’s head, a man with his pants down and Ray at a picnic table.

Late Tuesday night, most of the photos from the site were removed. Nevertheless, CalCoastNews has copies of the website’s original version.

Last month, the City Council voted to replace former councilman Arnold with Ray, one of seven candidates for the recently vacated council seat. She had been serving as chair of the Arroyo Grande Planning Commission.

Arnold faces five felony charges stemming from an alleged assault last December involving a female Arroyo Grande city employee, who is allegedly dating his wife, and two charges related to allegations of child pornography. He has pled not guilty to all counts.

“I am not the only person involved in city politics who is a hasher,” Ray said and refused to provide the other SLO Hash House Harrier member’s name. “What upsets me about this is the city has been through so much.”


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This is the post by Caren Ray and photo attachment:


http://sloh3.comze.com/slohash/Message_6645.pdf

http://sloh3.comze.com/slohash/attachment.pdf


This is the mention of her students:


http://sloh3.comze.com/slohash/Message_5728.pdf


And the Santa Maria Sun article that spurred the above:


http://www.santamariasun.com/sports-lead/1685/everybody-in-the-pool/


MarkJames

I have read this entire thread and I have examined all the available remnants that are available on public media outlets. I don’t live in Arroyo Grande so I’m not going to comment about the current structure of the AG City Council or how and why Ms Karen Ray came to be appointed. To do so would require me to make assumptions beyond the range of any reasonable knowledge afforded me.


I am compelled to comment about her careless regard of the well being of her students. I believe I have said what I have to say.


LensCleaner

I should also add that Mad Hatter should really ask why there are so many scandals to address?


It’s because for the last 10 years or so we have not had anyone to aggresively expose the crap that goes on in the underbelly of SLO County and screws Joe Average Taxpayer.


Keep up the good work CCN. Turn over every rock if you have to … and watch the bugs scurry for cover.


MarkJames

Mad Hatter is an interesting moniker, perhaps for a rather different sort of mind set.


CalCoastNews, didn’t slander any of those people, they slandered themselves. CCN simply brought it to the public’s attention. What is it that you don’t understand? Is it the meaning of responsibility for one’s own actions?


mkaney

Yes I agree.. Even though I don’t think this issue is a problem, the fact that CCN has brought it to light so that it can be discussed is great. One thing that has been consistent about CCN is that whether you agree or disagree, they are merely reporting facts, and if those facts are not correct they have always shown a willingness to be straightforward about corrections. This is what journalism is all about.


AGDUDE

Are you Kidding me, They had 5 people seeking the job, The whole point was to have a open mind about , of casting about the city, for a worthy person, …”They” ,the city council went out of their way to to pick from , the planning com. member, Do you guys listen what’s said ? how it’s said.. How the Mayor spent 10 min. patting the ,two plan com. people on the back, mayor, “I thinks it good that we pick you MS. Ray , because of your sim. political views”as Mr arnold.. do you remember that,… I think the search for new city council member was” A shame ” and after this , It’s quiet clear, It was a joke! The people ,of this city need to vote “all of EM out!” buncha talking heads! ….This is just the reason, Arlo Guthrie lost, I know ,very well 150 people , did not like the out come, And MR mayor, gave arlo Guthrie, credit for coming up with this ,”great way to find a new councilMAN! .. “did you hear that too?And that Abbot and Costello guy is funny… A shame I tell you, Good Luck Arlo, what a mess… Impeach them all!


Cindy

One of the main problems as I see it, is that this woman is emotionally immature. I don’t believe she is capable of making “all” the necessary decisions that would be in the best interest of the AG residents that she is representing. Also I don’t know how anyone is going to be able to take her seriously rather than think of her as a wild child. I’m afraid she has lost too much respect and it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with morality. She is a bit old to be playing booze games, hanging in Wal-Mart Parking lots and pulling her pants down (to be foolish). As you see, those concerns have nothing to do with morality but rather with sound judgment.


Scarlet

You have GOT to be kidding me. How can anyone – however socially liberal – condone the discussions about students? Karen Ray stepped into public life knowing AG was vulnerable b/c of Ed Arnold. She posted disturbing comments about her students. But the worst of it is, she doesn’t see that as crossing a line.


If my child were at Santa Maria High, she sure as hell would never step foot in Ray’s class.


mkaney

And that is exactly why our public education system is horrible. People want 100% angelic santized teachers (note it’s not that she molested any kids or anything) as a priority over intelligence/skill/ability. What you wind up with are mindless vanilla clones.


Yes, it was inappropriate. But the ones you really need to worry about are probably not the ones who are secure enough with themselves that they make an inappropriate side comment without thinking about it.


Scarlet

I’m not looking for “100% angelic sanitized teachers.” Just professionals with good judgment and self-control. Really – is that too much to ask? High schoolers are extremely impressionable so I’m with the principal on this one.


Additionally, isn’t it illegal to loiter and drink alcohol in the Wal-Mart parking lot?


Great choice AG council. Well done.


mkaney

It’s not too much to ask. But what you’re suggesting she lacks self control because she crossed a line that you feel is inappropriate, that is totally a question of morality.


But let me suggest a hypothetical to you. Let’s say that your child has a teacher in her late 30s. This teacher has a 12 year old child, but is not married. Is this a problem for you? Let’s say that this child was the result of an unintended pregnancy of unsafe sex which occurred 12 years ago (at which time this person was already a teacher). Chances are, you wouldn’t even know this because it’s not particularly scandalous. You would simply view this a woman with a 12 year old child, who was your child’s teacher.


Now, let’s compare that to this teacher. At the time the respective incidents occurred, which demonstrates a greater lack of self control… the unsafe sex that the hypothetical teacher had, or the comments that the real teacher made? Given potential consequences, the answer is clear.


If you’re concerned about incidents where your child’s teachers may have lacked self control, have you investigated all of the teachers your children have had and evaluated them all objectively? Have you asked all of their teachers if they are divorced, and if so, whether infidelity was involved? Mere words cannot equal actions can they?


Scarlet

This is not a morality police issue. It’s a professionalism issue.


Would you want your daughter’s teacher calling her “Cherry Bomb” and discussing her underage drinking with others? Wouldn’t the underage drinking be a discussion for a school counselor not an adult message board? Doesn’t Santa Maria High have a DARE program?


I stand with the principal: it is inappropriate for his teachers to be discussing their students on public message boards.


Cindy

I’ll take it one step further. These kids with the hash nick names were featured in the Santa Maria Sun as swim team members at AG High. What Ray did is publicly expose them as being sexually active (Princess) and having a drinking problem (Cherry Blossom). These are minors and we as a society do not expose minors in the press or on adult public threads.


Second, I would be curious to know what sort of relationship Rays has with these youth that she would be aware of Cherry Blossoms drinking? Kids usually hide that from their teachers because teachers usually contact parents. Rays gives the impression that she approves of this teenagers drinking, which is more the behavior expected of a fellow student rather than an educator. It is equally HIGHLY inappropriate to nickname her male student Princess after her husband and then make reference to his genitals! What is going on with this careless woman and her relationship to her students? She seems to believe that she is entitled to her privacy while she posts on public threads and websites. Ray appears to have the emotional mentality of a high school student herself rather than a responsible adult and educator. I have no doubt the students probably think she’s cool, and that’s a problem.


Cindy

I should clarify the following:


What Ray did is by discussing them in public message boards, she publicly exposed them as being sexually active (Princess) and having a drinking problem (Cherry Blossom).


mkaney

No Cindy, she didn’t expose her as being sexually active. Read a little bit about the club and you’ll see why it appears that way. They use offensive and politically correct terms to reference things in their runs. I know it seems odd, but those sexual quotes, except for some double entendres are for the most part referring to innocent things.


Cindy

mkaney you say: ” Read a little bit about the club and you’ll see why it appears that way. They use offensive and politically correct terms to reference things in their runs. I know it seems odd, but those sexual quotes, except for some double entendres are for the most part referring to innocent things.”

How is the public or a pervert supposed to know that? Remember that Ray was posting on public Yahoo message boards. Those public boards are where she posted about her students. I remind you that these students had been featured in the Santa Maria Sun along with their nick names.

BTW, what does this mean…… “We’re totally unashamed of taking a page out of the Hash Handbook for namings! The kid named Princess… :-)


mkaney

You know, it’s all relative really. I think I’d rather her teacher call her Cherry Bomb and discuss her underage drinking with others, in the context of health and physical fitness, than take her to a location once a week to symbollicaly drink the blood and eat the flesh of their leader, which simultaneously actually contributed to her underage drinking. I think it’s all very subjective.


No offense to anyone, I was raised Catholic, but I think it’s a valid comparison


Cindy

Hahahha, Your too much and I think you are missing the point of concern altogether. I think this is probably the first time I have ever disagreed with you.


BTW, I was also raise Catholic and it wasn’t the symbolic blood and flesh ritual that caused me to manifest my neurosis, it was having to go in the black box and figure out what I had done wrong because the voice in the dark box was always certain that I had done something wrong. If I didn’t figure it out, I wouldn’t be able to participate in the blood and flesh ritual and that meant I would go to hell and be burned up alive, forever and ever and ever. ;)


mkaney

I know the feeling, I can already feel the heat from the flames on account of my crass characterization. I’m playing devil’s advocate a little bit, as I do understand the concerns of the people here, but that’s because I come from a conservative background. Nonetheless, I think that unless there is any victimization going on here, that she is entitled to be judged on her actions in life that directly effect others, and not on other people’s mere sensibilities.


I think if people read some of the pages from the other Hash clubs they would get a better picture of what’s going on here and realize that it may not be that big of a deal, and that this might not be the world’s unhealthiest thing. Yes, the yahoo page was public, but it was specifically for the group.. and I think the fact that they weren’t initially trying to keep it under wraps is because they were doing it in good nature and did not feel like they were doing anything wrong.


Has anyone asked the student’s parents how they felt about it? Maybe they have the same kind of personality and it’s all kosher with them. In that case especially this would all just seem very judgemental.


Cindy

mkaney, you might be right. Perhaps they were on a message board that only they accessed and Ray knew everyone who was reading it and felt comfortable. As for the web site, the thing that makes me laugh so much is thinking of the shock the city council must have experienced, having that brought up in a public meeting. It just isn’t the kind of thing you expect to hear (and see!) a CC member and school teacher associated with. From what I’ve seen, they appear harmless enough, they are just completely nuts! I think I have seen a true case of what is called, the Peter Pan Syndrome, I guess that can’t be such a bad thing if they would just stop pasting their naked butts on WWW for all to see.


mkaney

What the heck is this, the Puritan meeting house? Really folks, I think you’re totally overreacting. I’m not saying it’s not crude, but I disturbed by the judgemental reaction to this. With all the hate, greed, corruption, lying, and mindlessness pervading government institutions, this ought to be the last concern on your list, if at all. In fact, I think that once you read more information, many of you are going to have a good chuckle at yourselves.


As it turns out, all these references to terms like “VIRGIN” are tongue-in-cheek. They have a vocabulary that has some sort of crude word in place of terms for aspects of their events. So many of these quotes you’re finding offensive are actually referencing fairly innocent activities. There are almost 22,000 members worldwide. They strive to give each other the most offensive and politically incorrect names possible


Instead of looking up those “scandalous” links, why not check out:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hash_House_Harriers

http://sbhash.com/


downdown

This is simply whether this is the caliber of person desirable for city council and high school teacher, especially after the Arnold issue. Such occupations need to broadly represent everyone, regardless if some are not offended.


Second, the people did not choose this council member. There was no election. This would have surfaced in a campaign before being voted in. Other candidates lost to Ray. Were they more suitable? Should citizens get to vote in their representatives or not? Ray will be here for three more years without a vote of the people.


Third, someone is lying about who posted the bare butt photo and crude comments. The post is clearly labeled “Caren Ray / SLO_Cop_You_Later”. Not owning up crosses another line.


mkaney

I am not disputing that people should have a choice in their representatives, but it is not the process that is in question here.


I do agree that if she is lying, that is a problem. If that is the case, then that I think is her biggest mistake. Perhaps she thought she could get away with not being individually identified because, well, frankly, bare butts seem to be fairly common theme with this group.


AGDUDE

Who do you think was more ,suitable for the job, ? .. another planning com.?? At this point,she needs to resign! Its time for a vote!


downdown

So, why did SLO Hash House Harriers (SLOH3) suddenly “delete” their website (by disabling all the buttons and removing the pictures)? On the very same day this article came out?


Why did SLOH3 quickly make it’s adult themed Yahoo discussion group “invite only”? On the same day this article came out?


Is A.G.’s new council woman really known as “SLO_Cop_You_Later”? See for yourself:


There’s still a remnant of the Yahoo group in Google’s cache— Google this EXACTLY and include the quotes:


“caren ray” sloh3


On the very first result, DON’T CLICK THE LINK—instead, clicked “Cached” (on the lower right of each result).


Hey! Isn’t that posting signed by “CopULater”? And, on the right it says the author is “Caren Ray”?


It also says:


“Cop-U-Later assured us that it is not so exposed we

will get busted so I’ll trust her on this. However it

is going to be pretty difficult not to have three

beers and then hop on the merry-go-round in front of

the store.


6:00 tomorrow wankers. Cop-U-Later’s Virgin Lay!

(yeah right) ”


What’s going on here? Something illegal or just stupidly juvenile for a grown woman?


PaulJones

“6:00 tomorrow wankers. Cop-U-Later’s Virgin Lay!

(yeah right) ””


Gotta wonder if the virgin lay by the Cop-U-Later is Princess?


JordanJ

Every young mans dream, hope the boy had a rubber. This is so ridiculous, I lost it laughing, this has got to be one of the most comical articles I’ve ever read. Kudo’s to the author. As for Arroyo Grande City Council – Good Luck with this one, it’s all yours, you too Santa Maria High School.


mkaney

They’re talking about a first time run!


Cums Solo

“Virgin Lay” is slang for the first time (virgin) that a person sets (lays) the trail for the other runners to follow.


This group, like many other social groups, occupations, and the like has its own jargon. In this case, being an adult group, many of the terms have double entendres and can be and often are misunderstood by those not “in the know”. Similarly, the hash nicknames are not the type of thing one puts on a resume.


The Hash House Harriers have been around for over 70 years, worldwide. They are a very friendly social group. The goals are simple:


* To promote physical fitness among our members

* To get rid of weekend hangovers

* To acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it in beer

* To persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel


So, if you want to be physically unfit, enjoy weekend hangovers, like being thirsty, and choose to feel old, don’t get involved.


Contrary to item 3, you don’t even have to like beer. Soda, water, and non-alcoholic beverages are available. No one is forced to drink.


This is a loose-knit traditional group that has been around for a long time. The sexual talk and innuendo is just that, talk. The hash is a bunch of adults who enjoy some non-competitive exercise, a bit of a game/riddle solving the trail, and let their hair down with some silly songs and socializing.


It has been covered in the mainstream press many times, and the reporters universally write that it is fun and harmless. Go for a run some time, you might like it.


And before you go there, “hash” has nothing to do with cannabis in this case. The term “hash house” is a nickname for a restaurant in Kuala Lumpur.


downdown

Perhaps you can explain the “misunderstanding” some might take from this photo:


http://sloh3.comze.com/SoBH3/IMG_0433.med.jpg


Or, the “innuendo” and “silly socializing” going on here:


http://sloh3.comze.com/SoBH3/IMG_0396.med.jpg


NOT WORK SAFE!


AGDUDE

That’s to the point, Harmless Fun,” tongue cheek”, Is that proper? Does she think thats ok? If she were a man, She’d be gone now! .. But she’s a woman ,so she will get away with this, Is Kevin Rice , city man. of Pismo Beach, city? This group seems blunt to the point, …. hmm .. Tongue and cheek,… She wont resign ..


downdown

“Innuendo” and “silly socializing”:


http://sloh3.comze.com/SoBH3/IMG_0433.med.jpg

http://sloh3.comze.com/SoBH3/IMG_0396.med.jpg


NOT WORK SAFE.


BiggerProblems

You have done research – are you enjoying yourself? Most of the stuff you found was done on private property. Some was done on public. The Hash House Harriers are everywhere – be so very afraid. I have run with Superior Court Judges and their bailiff. I run with D.A.’s, public accountants, policemen, etc. We are not a private organization. The site was taken down because of people like you and your ilk that use it to begin a vitriolic campaign against a silly and athletic group.


downdown

The is only ONE reason the site was taken down: SLOH3 wants to hide the content from the public.


Just stop with the “silly and athletic” crap already. Hashers are juvenile and depraved and participate in fraternity pranks and hazing young girls… dumping beer and flour on the “virgins”, pressuring them to flash body parts, making them sit bare butt on a block of ice. This group is gross and it’s no surprise at all that there are public officials involved.


Any club would be kicked off campus for this behavior.


downdown

Arroyo Grande’s new councilwoman (in white jacket) in this disgusting YouTube video?


SLO Hash House Harriers 100th Hash Circle (Not work/kid safe)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JFlo9p9rsE


Don’t bother taking it down like the web site. There are copies.


In fact, there are *lots* of copies of the old web site too:


This one (11-17-2007) mentions “Cop-You-Later”:

http://web.archive.org/web/20071117033330/http://www.sloh3.com/index.html


So does this one (03-17-2008):

http://web.archive.org/web/20080317101458/http://www.sloh3.com/index.html


This is just gross:

http://web.archive.org/web/20080508183246/http://www.sloh3.com/


And this:

http://web.archive.org/web/20080516144016/http://www.sloh3.com/index.html


It’s hard to delete stuff off the Internet, you know.


PaulJones

Most of the photo’s on the site have been removed, looks like you didn’t copy it fast enough, that’s fine, wasn’t looking forward to seeing a buck naked dude sitting on another guy’s head.


LMAO at the u-tube video, H-E-L-L-O, any adults out there???????? This is all the AGCC needs right now ! Oh Yeah, yah gotta just love it.


AGDUDE

I’m very sorry, I’m just up set .. sorry for the dumb, comm. But I am a long time member of this community, I care… I saw that U-tube video, she was there, Looks like she is in this up to her neck, …. Sorry I spent so much time on this silly stuff, But they wasted my time, and the city council are liar’s, why do I say that look at the process for the search for people to run , They never really honestly considered ,anyone other then the people who sat on the planning com. If you listen to the TV you would know that…. Sorry for the childish comments.

But it does seem like our leaders are childish, and at this point…. DO have egg on their faces!

What she has been involved with is stupid, and childish, sorry… I was there, I spent the time to Run.. for that seat, sorry my fellow citizens.. we all LOST!


AGDUDE

I think all this stuff started and came from mr arnold, I think they knew each other from this group, I think it was disclosed because He, arnold is P- off at all of the city, … The point is fun is fun , but who in their right mind hang’s out with others who drink, and run and expose butt, or you post penis on a public site this is beyond priv. life stuff , most folks laugh and have a good time, at parties, you put a funny hat on .. tell a joke fall down.. in most cases adults don’t get sexual while drunk , unless .. you flat don’t give a dam. what does these kids say this is wack! This is her” priv. life” sounds like some thing needs to be looked at hard, she said , this came up because other’s in camps don’t agree with her selection, I do not not think anyone, anyone would sink this lower , we need to look at , arnold, … seems ‘s like he let this loose… people wake up ! … why would anyone else be so petty most normal adults accept, this kinda thing.. who else would have so much to gain, ?how would ms ray get involved in a group like this? And to be honest she was there in the UTUBE video, she is crazy, to have run in the first place.. she was involved, in 2008 , according to the net , sounds very much like she was way into it. as per net records. A teacher, doing this she is crazy, going to be along 2 years mr ray! wish i could say i wish you well , how bout a drink later lol .. kidding .. This will not go away soon , arnold let it out of the bag, I’d say ! he engineered it ?? think about it.?