Supervisor candidates tussle in Nipomo

April 17, 2014


Caren Ray is warning voters about big money donors, Lynn Compton is making no bones about being Republican and Mike Byrd is facing a charge of unethical behavior for offering an opinion during a debate. Those revelations and more surfaced Wednesday evening during a fourth district supervisorial candidates forum at Nipomo High School.

Ray, an appointed incumbent from Arroyo Grande, Compton, a Nipomo businesswoman, and Byrd, an Arroyo Grande real estate broker are vying for the District 4 seat on the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors. Each of the candidates participated in the forum Wednesday put on by the San Luis Obispo County Latino Outreach Council.

Ray touted her on-the-job experience and often warned audience members that her opponents would use fear as a weapon. Compton said she believes strongly in property rights and stated that government regulations are killing businesses in the county. Byrd, a moderate Democrat, proclaimed his independence from partisan politics.

Byrd took the only firm stance on the hot-button issue: the Phillips 66 rail spur. Phillips 66 has proposed creating a railway line to bring oil by train to its Nipomo Mesa refinery.

Byrd objected to the plan because of safety issues.

“I have a hard time with the trains,” Byrd said. “I don’t think they should be allowed.”

Trains tracks in the county have histories of mishaps, and the rail spur poses an environmental threat, Byrd said.

Ray, who opted not to take a position on the rail spur, said Byrd approached the issue with a closed mind. Ray claimed that it was unethical for candidates to take a stand on issues before the board.

Generally, sitting supervisors, not candidates, do not take hard stances on subjects until they have heard both sides.

“This is unethical and unacceptable,” Ray said.

Compton said Phillips 66 offers good-paying jobs and contributes to the county tax base, but the project has serious safety concerns.

Compton did not shy away, though, from discussing her partisan ties.

“I make no bones about the fact that I’m a Republican, and I’m the only Republican running,” Compton said.

Compton said she holds Republican values of less government, taxation and regulation.

Ray, a Democrat, disputed Compton’s assertion that the supervisorial seat is a partisan position. She also stated that, as supervisor, she has crossed party lines on close votes.

“I bring balance,” Ray said.

Byrd disputed Ray’s claim that she is not a partisan Democrat. He also said that he lost interest in seeking the Democratic endorsement after receiving a questionnaire from the county central committee. The questionnaire asked candidates if they would appoint partisan Democrats to fill county positions, Byrd said.

The forum, for the most part, lacked flare. The Latino Outreach Council issued the questions to the candidates ahead of time, and several of the questions pertained to the candidates’ backgrounds and qualifications.

A large contingent of the crowd left the forum early, and at least one audience member dozed off toward the end.

The forum closed with a bang, though, when Ray, who had the last word, took a jab at Compton. Ray said money is pouring in to Compton’s campaign, particularly from North County, which is allowing her to open multiple offices and place big posters everywhere.

“Those big posters mean big money,” Ray said.

Earlier Wednesday, CalCoastNews reported that Compton had several campaign signs on private property, which appeared to violate county code due to their size. Ray, however, had dozens of illegally placed campaign signs on public property, particularly on county road right of ways and beside freeway ramps.

The primary election for the District 4 seat will take place on June 3. Any candidate who receives a majority of the vote will claim the seat. If no candidate receives a majority in June, a runoff election will occur in November.


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I met Supervisor Ray last week and am convinced it is vital that we help her get elected in the 4th District. She is authentic, speaks clearly and directly about the issues. She looks you in the eye and convinces you she will be a supervisor that brings balance to the Board . I hope to work to reelect Caren Ray as our representative (I don’t live in the 4th, but would feel comfortable talking with her about county needs. I urge voters to elect Caren Ray in June.

Well, no Fishing Village, you don’t live in the 4th district. You are in Bruce’s district, and I’m sure you are fine with the cabal created by Gibson, Hill, and Caren Ray. Hell, you likely are Bruce. Or one of his “guys.”

Caren scores a big no by not stating her sentiments on the oil refinery rail spur. No one doesn’t have an opinion. And no one has to stick to her/his opinion. But please, I really am not interested in someone who is so cautious and guarded. I have no idea which position she currently prefers–for or against the rail spur. That frustrates me to the point of say, No thank you Caren Ray. I will not vote for you.

Add to that, she is too closely aligned with Adam Hill. That just means No Way.

Except you are a Paso guy who has no vote in the 4th either and who supports Compton for reasons that surely do not serve the south counties interest.

So thanks for the input, but you are irrelevant.

Not to you apparently.

My opinion is only that, added to the irrelevant pile of all of these comments.

This town, this county. I try to remain optimistic, but I fear the fix is in. I hope I am wrong.

Gibson and Hill. What an embarrassment they have become. They should not be driving this machine.

It is your Paso vote that has no relevance in the 4th district


Well no one uses the word “re”- appoint

Just seeing the picture of MS Ray sitting with that pompous ass Hill back when him and, I rule, Gibson should have been at a meeting that day is enough to not vote for her at all,you’ll get noting but the same O same O with her Hill and Gibson. Get rid of her and Gibson.

Yes, visuals can be strong.

Like watching the forum and Compton’s body luang use change from aggressive arrogance at the start to slouching biddy and sagging face as she realizes she just got spanked and now even her supports know that under the pretty wrapping is just an empty box.

Yes, visuals can be strong

Wow. You’ve got some serious mommy issues Adam.

Funny, but not much to say about Compton’s clear weakness.

Well, with Deb Geaslen on deck to be Compton’s legislative aide if she wins, the south county will have not much to laugh about.

Care to support your claim? Or, is this more FUD from the Ray camp?

Well let’s see, they are close friends and supporters, Compton claims the torch of Paul (which I imagine scares the crap out of the local advisory boards), Deb has been seen participating in the campaign and views the spot as something that was taken from her unjustly. It all fits.

Until Compton publicly says she is not bringing the Geaslens back into power in county politics, it is very clear what will happen. I look forward to Compton publicly stating otherwise. It will give many relief.

I don’t mean to be funny. Your comments above are misogynistic. Reminds me of that hate-all rant by Adam Hill’s in the Santa Maria Sun. Oh, hi Adam!

I will likely not vote for Ray for supervisor (and I am in her district). The reason will not be based upon her positions necessarily. It will be the same reason that I won’t vote for Lois Capps. While neither is (in my view) a particularly bad person with abhorrent views, both seem to act as enablers for fellow politicians in their own party who are either corrupt, megalomaniacs or both. As long as there is an opponent with somewhat reasonable positions and no broad ideological agenda, I will vote against them. In Ray’s case, Byrd seems to qualify. In Capp’s case, I may end up not voting at all.

I can’t agree with your conclusion, but it seems to be a valid point of view. That’s refreshing and respectable. Thanks

You gotta love when an incumbent is sweating and trying to throw fear at the voters… ooOou don’t elect them or bad things will happen.

What’s with Caren Ray? Why is she trying to sound ‘moderate’ and fiscally responsible and ‘Republican’ all of a sudden?? Why is she objecting to an opponent taking a position on a train spur?? I would like to know what all of our candidates feel about such things…. is she leaning to support?? In todays realities, only an ideological idiot would oppose the railroad… so where are you Caren??

Lastly, signs and donations is all you can criticize your opponents , Caren. If thats it you are well behind the power curve and I look forward to real change I can believe in on this board!

I’m guessing you are mistaken on the meaning of incumbent. Ray was attacked with fear mongering and called out the others.

What in her history is not shown her to be a political moderate and fiscally responsible?

And lastly, with a solid record on the job the best the opponents can offer is trying to hang another social misfit board member around her neck. That shows they have little to offer.

If you had watched the forum you would see why Ray did not need to attack on anything else, the opponents took themselves down. The republicans bring out someone who probably doesn’t even know she is making racist remarks and promotes affirmative action, again probably having no clue. Good luck with that one folks.

“In todays realities, only an ideological idiot would oppose the railroad…”

Would the people that died in West, Texas and Lac Megantic, Quebec, Canada qualify as “ideological idiots” , in your opinion ?


Watch it for yourselves. But be sure and watch until the verrrrry end.

There are problems watching the debate unless you watch it on Internet “Exploder.” Hopefully, they will get it fixed so intelligent Mac users can view.