Supervisor candidates clash over hobo bash

September 5, 2014


A planned fundraiser for San Luis Obispo County supervisor candidate Lynn Compton involving “hobo stew” has become the center of the latest controversy in the nasty campaign for the fourth district seat.

The Compton campaign is planning an Oct. 5 fundraiser at the Oceano train depot in which attendees are invited to come dressed in hobo attire and eat soup dubbed hobo stew. The fundraiser has prompted allegations from incumbent Caren Ray’s campaign that Compton is showing contempt for homeless individuals.

“Are you appalled, offended and outraged by this disgusting lack of compassion for a segment of our county’s population which Lynn Compton is supposedly campaigning to represent,” Ray’s treasurer Kathie Matsuyama wrote in an email to supporters.

Supervisor Adam Hill also chimed in, encouraging others to forward Matsuyama’s email and to post about the issue on social media pages.

But, Compton’s campaign says that Ray’s supporters have drummed up a controversy by twisting the definition of hobo.

A hobo is not a homeless person, the Compton campaign says. Rather it is a traditional American lifestyle that values travel over stationary living and involves work, just usually in short stints. They also noted that this same type of hobo event has been done for years by the Oceano Elks.

“This is no way of disparaging homeless people,” Compton supporter Linda Austin said in an email. “Hobos are part of American lore.”

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All you cats, just waiting to pounce. People, if you don’t like Lynn Compton or you like Caren Ray, fine, but stop the bashing. I’ve never read so much ridiculous pretzel logic, trying to turn a railroad themed fundraiser into a bad thing!


Red Herring argument.

The issue is not who we “like.”

The issue is Lynn Compton using a disadvantaged class of people to make fun of to fill her election$$$ coffers.

No amount of red-herring arguments can wash away the taint of bigotry from Compton.


“Man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments.” Grapes of Wrath


The attack by Ms. Matsuyama is proof of the fact that the left is not willing to run a campaign by defending their agenda and policies, but rather they stoop to the most inane charges in an attempt to validate their authentic credentials as caring and superior people. I for one am fed up with this type of campaigning and wish that we could conduct ourselves as adults by sticking to the issues, of which we have more than enough to debate. The bottom line is that this behavior is an insult to the intelligence of the voters – except of course for the most ardent left wing “true believers”.


I hope she apologizes, she sounds an awful lot like Debbie Wasserman Shultz, when she made the statement that Scott Walker ” had given women the back of his hand”. What a ridiculous stretch, screams of desperation, like she was swinging for the fence on this one…but struck out instead.


It is the behavior of Republican candidate Lynn Compton which an insult to the intelligence to voters.

Far worse, however, is Compton’s elitist I-got-mine-who-cares-about-you moral compass which would allow her to use a disadvantaged class of people to make fun of as a theme for her campaign fundraiser.

She just makes it worse by refusing to accept the responsibility for her twisted campaign-fundraiser theme. Unfortunately, not accepting responsibility for her poor decisions has become her real campaign theme.


By the way, is there any truth to story I was told about Caren Ray saying she supports getting rid of Proposition 13 so they can raise more tax revenue at one of her gatherings recently?


Sure, what does she care! Her house was deemed historically significant, she pays pennies for property taxes. Talk about a “let them eat cake” attitude!


I don’t know what’s worse: having Caren Ray as a Supervisor or having someone like her teaching our children. It doesn’t seem like she should be doing either from her past experiences and what her campaign seems to be up to.


Red Herring argument.

The issue is Lynn Compton and her use of a disadvantaged group of people to make fun of as the theme of one of her fundraisers.

If Compton is so insensitive to homeless people at a very public venue, I cringe to think how she will act out her bigotry behind closed doors if she was to win the election.


Ms. Matsuyama added “Author 5Cities Homeless Coalition Fund Development Feasibility Study” after her name as she was said author. She spent quite a lot of time helping the Homeless Coalition with this study so that they could try for matching funds to better help the homeless. As a result Ms. Matsuyama became even more aware and sensitive to the plight of the homeless. She authored the letter on her own because of her caring…NOT Caren Ray. I happen to know this because I am a close friend of Ms. Matsuyama’s.

Kevin Rice

Tell your friend she is a horrible campaign treasurer and to stop making inept “clerical errors”.


It’s distressing that people don’t know the difference between the hobos of the past and current homeless. Here are some notables who led the hobo life at one time:

Notables who have hoboed

Jack Dempsey

Loren Eiseley

Woody Guthrie

Harry Kemp

Jack Kerouac

Louis L’amour[21]

Jack London

Robert Mitchum

George Orwell[22]

Harry Partch

Carl Sandburg

The Hobo code of conduct:

An ethical code was created by Tourist Union #63 during its 1889 National Hobo Convention in St. Louis Missouri.[16] This code was voted upon as a concrete set of laws to govern the Nation-wide Hobo Body; it reads this way:

Decide your own life, don’t let another person run or rule you.

When in town, always respect the local law and officials, and try to be a gentleman at all times.

Don’t take advantage of someone who is in a vulnerable situation, locals or other hobos.

Always try to find work, even if temporary, and always seek out jobs nobody wants. By doing so you not only help a business along, but ensure employment should you return to that town again.

When no employment is available, make your own work by using your added talents at crafts.

Do not allow yourself to become a stupid drunk and set a bad example for locals’ treatment of other hobos.

When jungling in town, respect handouts, do not wear them out, another hobo will be coming along who will need them as badly, if not worse than you.

Always respect nature, do not leave garbage where you are jungling.

If in a community jungle, always pitch in and help.

Try to stay clean, and boil up wherever possible.

When traveling, ride your train respectfully, take no personal chances, cause no problems with the operating crew or host railroad, act like an extra crew member.

Do not cause problems in a train yard, another hobo will be coming along who will need passage through that yard.

Do not allow other hobos to molest children, expose all molesters to authorities, they are the worst garbage to infest any society.

Help all runaway children, and try to induce them to return home.

Help your fellow hobos whenever and wherever needed, you may need their help someday.

If present at a hobo court and you have testimony, give it. Whether for or against the accused, your voice counts!


YES! Ms Matsuyama I am appalled, outraged and just plain disgusted by your despicable attempt to portray the Lynn Compton campaign event as showing contempt for homeless individuals. How ridiculous can you get? There is a big difference between hobos and the homeless. I hope some of the great comments here will enlighten you to an era of railroad history and Americana from days gone by. People all over the country celebrate the days when hobos rode the rails. The culture and lifestyle has been a subject of many

documentaries and yes, people involved around railroads celebrate the hobo lifestyle with parties and serving “hobo stew”. You trying to make a political scandal out of this is just too much. I am sure Ms. Compton takes the plight of the homeless very seriously and I am sure when she is elected supervisor she will do a great job.


Thank you Citizen. What a great post. I have been looking up hobos online and found out all kinds of interesting information. They had this code of ethics and they also had a vocabulary, a certain “lingo” and made these fascinating symbols telling other ‘bo’s what

lay ahead in the coming town.


Morro Bay Elementary used to have a Hobo Day when the kids would come dressed as hobos and we learned about their culture. It was fun!


And what century was that happening? Was there also a Slavery Was Fun Day?


Oh, for heaven’s sake.

You post a list of famous hobos, followed by a list of supposed rules for hoboism, implying that the famous hobos agreed with, and followed, those ridiculous rules.

In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. I’m sure Woody Guthrie and Jack Kerouac would have either laughed their @sses off, or puked, if presented with that list of hobo rules. Same with Jack London.

I am not saying that list of people did not, as a practice dating back years, follow some of the concepts incorporated in the hobo rules.

But it would not be because someone gave them a list of rules to follow, but because some of the rules coincidentally fit the rules these individuals had already internalized long before someone came up with the ridiculous idea of having rules of conduct for hobos.

Dan Carp

This has got to be one of the most ridiculous accusations I’ve heard. As a child we would go up to the train station in the evening here in SLO with food for our “hobo” friends. We sat around their campfire (yes…you could do that then) and listen to their travel stories always trying to one-up each other. They are great childhood memories as I never felt unsafe or was solicited for anything. It’s not disparaging to celebrate this very important part of our cultural past. Keep up the good work Lynn.


Well said Dan Carp. What great childhood memories.


I’m glad you took food to your hobo friends. Do you have any homeless friends? Do you take food to them? I bet they have stories, too.


Making fun of a disadvantaged class of people, for money, is not celebrating their culture.

It is cartoonizing the humans in the group, much as African-Americans were cartoonists by Amos & Andy, Zip Corn and Jim Crow characters.


“cartoonists” in last sentence should be “cartoonized.”


I had no idea she USE TO work for the Homeless Coalition. I would like to ask her, has she ever, EVER called one of her homeless clients a hobo?


I am curious as to why you would think that a person as sensitive as Ms. Matsuyama would even be tempted to mock a homeless person by calling them a “hobo?” Would you? Probably!


Good to know Ms. M has at least one fan.


Actually, she has a lot of fans. They just are very busy doing constructive things for the world and don’t bother to look at stuff like this.