Supervisor Caren Ray ‘s unwarranted self-promotion
September 22, 2014
OPINION By JULIE TACKER
In a recent mailer and Smart Voter bio, San Luis Obispo County District 4 Supervisorial Candidate Caren Ray lists some of her accomplishments. She must be underestimating the intelligence of the District 4 voter, expects they have short memories, doesn’t care, or believes they will not check to see if she actually “helped create the Five Cities Fire Authority, which improves fire protection and saves taxpayers $150,000 a year.”
Ms. Ray was appointed to the Arroyo Grande City Council on May 25, 2010. After six years of negotiation, the Five Cities Fire Authority (FCFA) Joint Powers Agreement became effective on June 7 that same year. Ms. Ray had been in office just two weeks.
Nevertheless, though she had nothing to do with the formation of the FCFA, she claims credit as she campaigns to hold her seat on the board of supervisors.
The culmination of the agreement consolidated the fire companies from Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach and Oceano. You will not find Ms. Ray’s name on any documentation related to FCFA. She never served on its board and you won’t find her name on any documents related to FCFA since — but for the city letterhead for the time she served there.
Ms. Ray’s campaign material states that the FCFA “saves taxpayers $150,000 a year.” If that were accurate, the FCFA would not have pursued a $1 million assessment district last spring.
That assessment, which Ray claims she supported, was to have fully funded the three new positions that had been established through a grant and a fund for firefighting apparatus and equipment.
In 2013, when considering a special tax for FCFA, Ms. Ray was quoted in the New Times voicing her support for the special tax and the firefighters, “There are clearly essential needs we need to fund,” and “I could support a lesser amount, but if we take this to the voters, I want to make sure we nail it.”
Even though Ray said she would be voting in support of the FCFA, she did not vote yes in favor of funding the FCFA through an assessment district, according to the ballots which are a public record.
Ms. Ray is articulate and appears confident, but when she is patting herself on the back she should realize that making claims for work in public service the “facts” can easily be checked. Since she overstated her involvement in the formation of FCFA and her support of an assessment district, it raises questions about her other campaign claims.
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