Caren Ray-Russom campaign worker guilty of felony vandalism

March 11, 2019

Caren Ray with Patty Welsh standing behind her

By Cal Coast Times staff

A campaign worker for Arroyo Grande Mayor Caren Ray-Russom was found guilty of felony vandalism today for destroying more than $4,000 of city, business, campaign and personal property during the 2018 mayoral campaign. [Cal Coast Times]

On Monday morning, Patty Welsh plead no contest to felony charges related to the campaign, and a misdemeanor vandalism charge regarding a separate incident. Judge Craig Van Rooyen informed Welsh if she plead no contest he was going to find her guilty.

Judge Rooyen then sentenced Welsh to three years probation and ordered her to attend 50 hours of counseling, and pay restitution and fines.

Caren Ray and Patty Welsh marching in the Harvest Festival Parade.

During the mayoral campaign, Welsh worked for the Ray-Russom campaign asking businesses and residents to put up Caren Ray-Russom for mayor signs.

On Oct. 9, Welsh drove around Arroyo Grande tossing Christmas ornaments filled with brown paint at Jim Hill for mayor signs. During her rampage, Welsh also damaged the property of businesses and people who promoted Hill, Ray-Russom’s opponent.

Welsh also plead guilty to misdemeanor vandalism regarding a separate incident in Arroyo Grande.

On May 28, a woman returned to her car which was parked on Pradera Court in front of a side gate to Welsh’s backyard and found her tire had been slashed and a message written on her windshield.

“Thanks for blocking my entrance” the message said.

At a hearing on Feb. 13, Welsh’s attorney Ginger Ortiz asked the court to reduce the felony vandalism charge to a misdemeanor, a request Deputy District Attorney Chris Peuvrelle argued against. Judge Van Rooyen then sent a request to probation for a recommendation on charges.

Probation recommended a felony charge for the vandalism related to the campaign, Judge Van Rooyen said.

Prior to the determination, multiple members of the community sent letters to probation detailing allegations of past acts of vandalism, thefts, harassment, and threats.

In 2016, while Welsh was working on the Jim Hill for Mayor campaign, a homeowner spotted Welsh pilfering a city council candidate’s signs. Members of the Hill campaign told Welsh to return the signs, but Welsh refused to comply, and she was removed from the campaign, according to text messages. Welsh then became a vocal opponent of Hill.

In 2017, Welsh accused Hill of Brown Act violations, charges Ray-Russom used to mount an investigation that cost tax payers approximately $100,000.

While the investigators determined Hill had not violated the Brown Act, they found that Hill had shared his government email password with his wife.

In the Nov. 6 election, Ray-Russum won the mayor’s seat with 4,782 votes to Hill’s 4,250 votes


Slap on the wrist…she needs prison time.

Erik T

Nice work Dan Dow. We are very proud of you. Now it’s time to convict Bill Worrell, Charles Tenborg and James Wagstaffe for conspiracy and committing fraud on the court in the Tenborg vs Cal Coast News trial. We are talking about proof of multiple felonies, political or not.


Don’t count on it from Dan Dow, just like with John Wallace, DA Dow let Wallace steal several million of the ratepayers money and only gave him a slap on the wrist. In the end Dan Dow will always protect his special class, the ones who can funnel large sums of money, something Patty Welsh couldn’t do.


50 hours of counseling will not fix Welsh. She is violent, at one time boasting she had “body slammed” someone in the council chambers. Ray and Welsh share an end justifies the means mentality.


Its is great that not only did the district attorney’s office prosecute a political crime, the vandal was convicted of a felony. It is a lack of prosecution for crimes regarding politicians and their friends that has led to the rampant lawlessness in our county.


This felony conviction of Caren Ray-Russom’s close friend and campaigner shows that political corruption has increased under Caren Ray-Russom and it is just another indication that she lacks the moral authority to lead.

In November, not only was Patty Welsh caught on video committing these felony acts of political vandalism, the video and pictures were available for weeks, and Caren ray-Russom failed to notify law enforcement that her supporter was responsible.

Also, in the November election, it was disclosed that Caren Ray-Possum was one of several whacky progressive candidates on the Central Coast who took campaign cash from known drug dealers. I was deeply disappointed to learn that these people are working with drug dealers, felons and out-of-town developers to try to remake our community, and I would like to see the judge order another mayoral election as part of Patty Welch’s guilty plea.

The Cal Coast News should reach out to Caren Ray-Russom for comment.

Ted R

Nice work.