Editor’s Note: This is the second of three in a series of profiles of candidates for Carlsbad City Council.
CARLSBAD — The city of Carlsbad is known to be financially conservative and fiscally strong. City Council candidates Keith Blackburn and Glenn Bernard both said they would continue the legacy, and described how they would help the city continue to be economically sound.
Keith Blackburn, a longtime patrol sergeant with the Carlsbad Police Department, supports the Transient Occupancy Tax, or TOT, which is paid by visitors, as a way to continue funds to the city when current growth slows. Another way, he said, is to work with Car Country Carlsbad and the Westfield Plaza, formerly Plaza El Camino Real, to increase their business, which will in turn produce more tax revenue.
Blackburn has said his experience working with people and managing a real estate investment company has given him the credentials needed to manage city projects and city funds.
Blackburn has campaigned to maintain a strong police and fire department, invest in traffic signal technology to improve traffic circulation and maintain “our quaint village, precious open space and pristine beaches for future generations.”
Blackburn said he believes there is a need for business and real estate, but to protect the open space, lagoons and beaches, there needs to be a lot of mitigation.
Glen Bernard, a former Marine officer, said he wants to make sure city money is spent for the right reasons, citing examples of what he feels is past mismanagement, including continuing with the city’s tree planting program during a drought and continuing to build so much while telling residents to “conserve, conserve, conserve” water.
Bernard is against the TOT and is campaigning on a new “clever” plan that protects Carlsbad residents from paying room tax when out of town, in exchange for not charging room tax. Bernard claims the TOT is “tax without representation.”
Bernard has given his years as an officer and as a local realtor, along with his disdain for the inconsistencies in the current government policies, as reasons for his desire to run for City Council.
Bernard also maintains a Web site, BestStreetsInCarlsbad.com, and doesn’t feel curbs and sidewalks are conducive to a beach town feel.
All six candidates, five new to the arena and Mayor Pro Tem Ann Kulchin seeking re-election, have been making the rounds speaking to various homeowners associations in the four quadrants of the city.