Carlsbad Mayor's Race Offers Voters Different Visions
Voters in Carlsbad will choose between two candidates for mayor who offer very different visions for the future.
The two candidates faced off in a forum Tuesday night. More than 200 Carlsbad voters turned out for the forum, put on by the Carlsbad Police Officers’ Association.
The coastal North County city, with a population of 115,000, has had only two mayors in the last 30 years.
Mayor Matt Hall, who has held the seat for the last eight years, was re-elected mayor in 2014 unopposed. This year he faces off with first-term council member Cori Schumacher. Schumacher was elected to the city council two years ago, following the contentious referendum, Measure A, that defeated a large retail development proposed for the strawberry fields next to a Carlsbad lagoon.
Hall, who supported that project, said blocking development is no solution for the future.
“Some people want to freeze us in the moment in time but that isn’t possible," he said. "When you think about our children and grandchildren, they have to have a place to live, good schools and good jobs, and we want them to have that opportunity here in Carlsbad, we can’t just shut the doors.”
Hall is running on his record of growth management and community consensus.
“My vision of tomorrow is what I call my 2050 plan. It’s working with the community, just like we did back in 1994 we did with growth management. What do we want to look like in 2050? It’s about our children and our grandchildren and giving them the same opportunities that we’ve been able to enjoy, and working as a community to get there.”
Schumacher is running on a platform of more transparency and more community involvement.
“There’s the growth-management plan that has allowed us to build out in a beautiful fashion," she said. "But being so over-reliant on developer fees and hitting that growth build-out point, where are our funds going to come from to keep us sustainable over time? That’s really the question.”
Schumacher said the city cannot rely on developer fees forever, and she proposes a new source of revenue for the future.
“Through instituting community choice energy, we would get to a point where the net revenues would come back into the city to have local renewable energy projects," she said. "And those projects would be the source, over time — through a utility-scale energy storage facility — where we would be generating enough energy to be able to sell the excess energy on the open market. There’s a system in Australia that is generating $800,000 every two days and it is one-third of the size that I’m contemplating for North County."
The two candidates, who ended the forum exchanging mutual respect and smiles, they have very different visions of the future for Carlsbad.
Hall represents decades of building a fiscally conservative city with millions of dollars in reserves, Schumacher represents a more transparent city government with increased citizen involvement in future growth.