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Carlsbad’s Measure A Generates Unprecedented Campaign Spending

Photo by Alison St John

Opponents rally against Caruso's 85/15 Project, proposed for the Agua Hedionda Lagoon in Carlsbad, Aug. 20, 2015.

Campaigning for and against a proposal to build a shopping and dining center on the shores of Carlsbad's Agua Hedionda lagoon is in full swing.

Campaigning for and against a proposal to build a shopping and dining center on the shores of Carlsbad's Agua Hedionda lagoon is in full swing. Supporters and opponents of the center are gearing up for a February special election.

The proposal, Measure A, is generating unprecedented campaign spending on the part of the developer, Caruso Affiliated. Rick Caruso has thrown more than $1 million into the fight since the first of the year, and spending on his campaign now totals more than $7 million.

Meanwhile opponents are out with homemade placards at “pop-up” protests around town. DeAnn Wiemer of the nonprofit group Citizens for North County, said they have raised a little over $100,000. They plan to use $75,000 donated by Westfield on mailers. Westfield has a mall 20 miles south of the planned project on La Jolla Village Drive.

Supporters say the project will bring a high-end retail development to Carlsbad and preserve most of the 200-acre lagoon front site, including the popular strawberry fields.

Opponents believe the project is too big for the site and will clog Interstate 5 and surrounding roadways with traffic. They also object to the developer’s use of the initiative process, which they say sidestepped thorough environmental review.

The Carlsbad City Council supports the project, after their staff reviewed the developer’s environmental and economic reviews. Escondido Mayor Sam Abed and Vista Mayor Judy Ritter also support the measure.

Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall and Weimer appeared on local cable channel KOCT recently. However, no other public debates with both sides of the issue are planned.

The special election is Feb. 23, but voting can begin Jan. 25.


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