Caren Ray campaign funds and filings folly

October 8, 2014
Kevin Rice

Kevin Rice

OPINION By KEVIN RICE

Is there anything more odious than a politician who violates a law they personally voted to pass? Many of us remember 2011, when the Tribune took four of five San Luis Obispo City Council members to the woodshed for ignoring their own ordinance requiring trash containers to be stored out of public view. I lobbed a return volley at our not-so-fastidious daily rag for doing the exact same thing at their own homes.

This time, it’s Supervisor Caren Ray.

On June 3, this year, Ordinance 3261 was proposed to the SLO County Board of Supervisors which would require election campaign finance reports to be filed electronically instead of on paper. These are the filings that disclose to the public just who is contributing money to election campaigns, and how much. The reports are posted on the web by the county clerk for the benefit of the public. Everyone should check out who is funding candidates before voting.

With many hundreds of pages of paper filings, our county clerk was spending a whole lot of time scanning paper and manually redacting out private details such as home addresses. Not only does this waste staff time and paper, but the public also doesn’t get to view the reports until all that work is done. Hence, electronic filing doesn’t just save taxpayer funds. It also allows the public to get access to campaign finance details the moment a candidate files a report.

So, guess who hasn’t filed a single electronic report since voting to adopt Ordinance 3261 on June 3? Supervisor Caren Ray, that’s who. Caren Ray has filed a total of thirty-four paper reports in that time, all of which had to be manually scanned and redacted by county staff. Moreover, the ability of the public to see the reports is delayed.

Meanwhile, Caren’s opponent, Lynn Compton, has been filing electronically since March—before Ordinance 3261 was even proposed.

Just what is wrong with Caren Ray? I mean, we can bicker about whether she actually, truly, honestly “fully supports Proposition 13” (of course, she doesn’t), but here and now she is blatantly violating a local county ordinance she, herself, voted to pass.

And, Caren Ray didn’t just vote “yes” on Ordinance 3261… she was also the maker of the motion to pass Ordinance 3261. Boy, she was looking so good up on the dais on June 3 moving the county forward… not so much in hindsight.

County staff tells me Caren Ray’s campaign treasurer, Kathie Matsuyama, has had difficulty entering all the campaign data into the county’s electronic filing system in the four months since June 3. That might be somewhat understandable, except Matsuyama seemed to have enough spare time to write emails about hobos. I can also personally attest the electronic system is extremely simple to utilize. I’ve filed a number of statements. The system even helps prevent some of those nasty “clerical errors” because all your math is automatically calculated.

Sidebar to Treasurer Matsuyama: You erroneously added $250 to Supervisor Ray’s cash contributions in your May 22 report. You declared $53,777 itemized cash on page 4, but on page 14 the (correct) total was $53,527. See how electronic filing could be helpful?

Caren Ray’s latest report (paper filed Monday, but not available to the public until Tuesday) is near chaos. Disclosing the occupation and employer of donors is required so the public can have a clue why a donor is giving $10,000 to a supervisor election. Apparently, Caren Ray believes “self” is both an occupation and employer. That’s wrong. “Owner” isn’t an occupation either. “Attorney” and “realtor” are occupations. So is “developer”. As to names of employers, companies that are self-owned usually have names like “Joe Blow Homes”, not just “Joe Blow”. Hiding the fact that Joe Blow is a mega-developer by leaving words off isn’t cool, Caren. When Caren Ray lists someone’s occupation as “entrepreneur” and their employer as “self” that hides the fact that their company manages all the county golf courses and has a strong interest in getting some payback from the supes for their $3,000 contribution.

“Retired” isn’t an occupation either. Retired folk need to own-up and just put down “none” when asked. Campaign treasurers need to translate here.

Then, there’s all the inconsistencies in Caren Ray’s reports. Her report this Monday omits $4,000 that was previously disclosed in special reports required to be filed within 24-hours for contributions over $1,000. Worse, Caren Ray reports some of the $1,000 plus contributions occurred using different dates than were reported on the 24-hour reports. These mysterious date changes suggest the original 24-hour reports were falsified so they wouldn’t appear to be filed late (more than 24-hours). Whatever the reason, there are about a dozen such date discrepancies.

The county’s electronic filing system keeps track of dates and amounts. And, using it complies with Ordinance 3261. A winning combination.

More discrepancies: A $5,000 donor (a developer) who resides in Pismo Beach according to a prior 24-hour report somehow got changed to Arroyo Grande in Monday’s report. Maybe Caren Ray wants it to look like her money comes from inside District 4. It doesn’t. Analysis of every single one of Ray’s reported contributions over the past twelve months reveals only 33 percent of her money comes from District 4 donors. Two-thirds of Ray’s campaign funds come from outside her district.

Out-of-county contributions account for $34,221 of Caren Ray’s campaign funds.

Most of Caren Ray’s out-of-county money came from L.A. county based mega-developer John Scardino (and his family and friends) and Texas-based developer Haythem S. Daylett, principal and founder of Legend Communities. Legend is behind hundreds of acres of development in SLO county, including Woodlands/Monarch Dunes/Trilogy, Blacklake, Vista Del Mar, Chandler Ranch (Paso), and also Bradley Square (Santa Maria).

But, the biggest shock, is $40,000 came from only three people. All tied to developers that includes the Dalidio property in San Luis Obispo. The same names are dumping money like crazy into SLO’s sales tax measure and two SLO city council candidates: Dan Rivoire and Carlyn Christianson. If elected, they will approve reducing the safety zone around SLO’s airport, clearing the way to build hundreds of high-density homes and commercial properties. Traffic, air pollution and water shortages, anyone?

Do the voters of District 4 and San Luis Obispo really believe Caren Ray and other left-of-center personalities are going to keep SLO County beautiful? Will Caren Ray stand up to protect scant water resources on the Mesa (at least one private well has already gone dry) in the face of all her new mega-developer friends? Will Caren Ray stand up to Union Pacific Railroad when voting on the refinery rail spur project that stands to bring hundreds of oil cars through SLO County?

Oh, right, Caren Ray took money from Union Pacific Railroad as well. All you need to know is right in her campaign finance disclosure in black and white. On paper. In violation of Ordinance 3261. The ordinance she moved and voted to pass.

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fishing village

I do not respect the opinions of this author.


Kevin Rice

Well, it’s somewhat mutual, though I’ve seen one or two posts from you I agree with. But, what’s that got to do with FACTS? Nothing. “Religious” disbelief does nothing to contradict or rebut the facts which I have laid out and which can be verified with a little elbow grease and the publicly available documents.


MajorityFan

Again attacking the messenger.


kayaknut

Since they can not dispute the facts that’s all they have.


Bserious

This ordinance took effect July 3. Since then, your candidate, Compton, filed paper (not electronic) 497 disclosure forms on 8/25, 9/15, and 9/29 and one paper (not electronic) 460 disclosure form on 7/29. Will you be writing an expose’ on those “violations?”


The law also exempts electronic filing if the “original” documents were filed with the state or county. The original documents for calendar year 2014 were filed before the ordinance was passed on June 3, making electronic filing optional.


“The candidate or committee shall file the statement using the electronic filing system available on the Registrar of Voters website.” says the ordinance. Anyone using this website knows that it is not always working, making only a paper filing possible.


The remaining content of your attack is not worth a response.


Kevin Rice

YOU’RE FLAT WRONG.


(1) Three of the four Compton filings were simply duplicates of electronic filings. I’m not nitpicking a couple filings—Caren Ray HAS NOT ONCE obeyed the ordinance she moved and voted to pass. Ray has blatantly disregarded the law she created 34 times, not twice.


(2) You lack understanding of the term “original”, which does not mean the “first” document. “Original” means the copy with the “wet” signature. Certain originals (Form 410) are filed with the Secretary of State and the county only gets a COPY (not the “original”). There is no “grandfathering” scheme such as you imagine that exempts Caren Ray. If you wish clarification, please ask the County Clerk’s office. I have, and my own committee falls into the same situation as Caren Ray. I had to file electronic.


(3) I’ve NEVER had access issues with the web site. That’s hearsay and a red herring. Caren Ray had FOUR MONTHS to enter her data and another week after the 9/30 closing date to finalize her last filing.


(4) It is fallacious argumentation to use the “not worth a response” claim. That simply means you are unable to come up with a rebuttal. It only reinforces my claims as it is, in essence, acquiescence.


Ishmael09p

I was talking with some friends about this at the cafe over our breakfast. All six of us agreed that if anybody else had said these things we might take it seriously. Kevin Rice’s record (not just on Ms. Ray) speaks more loudly than his mouth. He is a known political dirty tricks player and his opinions can’t be trusted. If you all want us to listen to you on the subj of politics, leave him out of it.


toryrand

well you are quite the authority. talking with friends at a cafe over breakfast – let me guess granola and soy milk was the main course. anything else i should know about that was discussed over breakfast? cant wait, i am in need of another epiphany.


Ishmael09p

I am an authority on some things, Toryrand. Such as what I discussed at breakfast, what I had at breakfast, and on my personal opinions. I only gave my opinion and that a table of geezers at the Cowgirl all agreed. I think that this comment section is here for people to give opinions, isn’t it? A few of the other comments and the thumbs boxes show me that I’m not the only one who thinks that way. I won’t continue this with you. You’re mean-spirited, and that isn’t


Ishmael09p

Something I want to help you practice. I think you truly do need that epiphany.


toryrand

if i wanted information parroted to me i would go to the pet store and get a parrot…..


Rich in MB

I just talked to 36 friends and they all voted for Lynn….which since my friends are 6 times more than your coffee clutch we win. Ridiculous….sure just like your attempted attack on the messenger to hide from the issue. Check mate.


Stunned

I’m always baffled when these types of stories pop up yet I shouldn’t be amazed at all! This lady should be absolutely ashamed of everything she is and represents but wait…..I’m guessing she’ll soon explain it away.


Great work as usual Kevin Rice. You and Jim Hill should partner up in some way.


Justducky

That’s a terrible thing to say about Jim Hill! If I were Jim I would take offense being linked with a person like Kevin:((


agag1

Some say the same about those closely linked to Adam Hill


Randy Sheila

My read: Author is historically fastidious, calling out government discrepancies, and applauds the ordinance that Caren Ray supported because it promotes government efficiency as well as transparency. Volunteer campaign worker for Ray must be lying about having difficulty inputting into the new electronic system because (she) has time to write an email criticizing the competition for publically being insensitive to “hobos”, or homeless people. Volunteer campaign working must also be lying because the Author knows personally that the new electronic system it is easy to use and there is no excuse for not having entered any information for public scrutiny. Author then criticizes volunteer for having a $250 discrepancy for $54,000 total, disclosing a 0.5% mistake apparently gleaned from information somewhere. Caren Rey is also trying to hide the identity of a golf course management company that has contributed to her campaign because they expect, and she will have to provide, special favors assumedly illegal and unfairly rewarded. Being retired does not mean that you don’t have an occupation. Caren Ray’s supporters are dishonest because they are not truthfully disclosing their real professions, and the Campaign Volunteer is also responsible for this? Or is Caren Ray? Caren Rey gets campaign contributions from outside of her district and ANY candidate that does this is unsavory. Developers and railroads are bad, local developers are worse, and ANY candidate that represents them is unsavory. Caren Rey and other liberals (Democrats) will allow these developers to skirt CEQA laws and public review until the air is polluted, traffic congested and the water is gone. And, according to the author, that is all I need to know because it is all right there in black and white. I’m happy to know that conservatives (Republicans) would never stoop as low. But if I find out that they are guilty of the same transgressions, I will continue to not vote for them.


Stunned

Ummm…..was there a point coming or did you just replay the whole thing with remarks?


MajorityFan

He was translating Integrity to English.


toryrand

so much for being succinct yet comprehensive…..


Liberty1948

Go get them, Kevin.

GK


toryrand

Government waste? Double Speak? Double Standards?


Mariposa

To put this in somewhat archaic terms, Karen (and ALL of our elected officials) need to not merely talk the talk, but walk the walk. Otherwise, it’s just more speaking with a forked tongue which has become increasingly odious to alert, discerning voters—both locally and throughout every branch of government. Thanks, Kevin, for sharing your research with us!


MajorityFan

That would include Ms. Compton as well, I assume. All of her filings were paper, not electronic.


Kevin Rice

No. Compton has filed electronically almost exclusively. And she’s not the hypocrite that passed a law and then ignored it.


MajorityFan

And she filed on paper as well?


agag1

Well, my, my my. Looks like Caren will have some explaining to do when she visits with Dave next.


StakeHolder

Come ask for yourself. Katcho is sponsoring a candidate’s forum for Compton and Ray this Friday and noon. Yes, again not convenient for the working class, but maybe he thought you could brown bag your lunch and make the meeting.


The event will take place from noon to 1 p.m. at the South County Regional Center at 800 W. Branch St. in Arroyo Grande.


When do we get to hear a candidates forum with Katcho and Heidi Harmon?


Myself

Why would anybody vote for Ms Harmon,all she whines about is climate change,shes just another useless Democrat


MajorityFan

Tell us about that on November 5th.


Myself

If by a long shot she did get elected she would still be a whiney useless Democrat.

You people better wake up,these so called elected people we put in office do nothing but tax us,regulate us and cost us time,money and jobs they are not here to help but to help rule.


Rich in MB

Really….Dave is so far in the Ray camp he thinks she really does support prop 13….don’t count on Dave calling out a fellow traveler my friends.