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Governor’s appointment could affect groundwater ordinance 

Governor appoints Caren Ray county supervisor

Paso Robles emergency groundwater ordinance in the balance

Caren Ray

Caren Ray. Photo from

SACRAMENTO – Governor Jerry Brown Thursday announced the appointment of Caren Ray, 45, of Arroyo Grande, to San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors. She will represent the fourth district in south county. She fills the seat of Paul Teixeira, who died of a heart attack in June.

The decision could effect the debate over the Paso Robles groundwater basin emergency ordinance that is set to expire Oct. 11. County supervisors failed to extend the initial 45-day moratorium on new vineyard plantings earlier this week, by just one vote. An emergency ordinance requires the support of four out of five supervisors.

The board is revisiting the issue next Tuesday. Ray has perviously indicated support for the emergency groundwater ordinance, according to reports.

Ray has been a member of the Arroyo Grande City Council since 2010 and a teacher at Santa Maria High School since 2007. She served on the City of Arroyo Grande Planning Commission from 2005 to 2010 and was owner of the Game Room from 2002 to 2006.

Ray was a teacher at Santa Maria High School from 1993 to 2000. She earned a Master of Arts degree in educational leadership from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $82,014. Ray is a Democrat.

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Delve a little deeper into the water basin issue

  • To read the full text of Arnold’s “Strategic Priorities” and direction to staff for the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin Urgency Ordinance, please click on the link above.
  • To read an article on the Groundwater Basin by 1st District Supervisor Frank Mecham, please click here.
  • According to the staff report presented by Kami Griffin, the Assistant Director of the San Luis Obispo County Planning and Building Department, Section 65858 of the California Government Code sets forth the circumstances under which a County may adopt an interim ordinance as an urgency measure.
  • The staff report went on to say that, “An interim ordinance must contain legislative findings that there is a current and immediate threat to the public health, safety, or welfare, and that the approval of additional subdivisions, use permits, variances, building permits, or any other applicable entitlement for use which is required in order to comply with a zoning ordinance would result in that threat to public health, safety, or welfare.”
  • But the options for the urgency ordinance as outlined in the staff report did nothing to specifically address relief for those who had run out of water – or might run out in the near future (see Attachment C – Sample Ordinance Language).
  • To learn more about the various groups either advocating for an urgency ordinance or for other solutions, please click on the name of the following groups – PRO Water Equity and the Paso Robles Agricultural Alliance for Groundwater Solutions or PRAAGS.

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About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.