- What is your position on the Village/Barrio plan?
Let’s have a thoughtful, comprehensive downtown plan that reflects the residents’ priorities, not just the developers’ priorities. When it comes to the Village-Barrio Plan, the City Council has lost sight of the agreed upon core values of the 1994 General Plan and Community Values: (Small town feel; Beach community character and connectedness; Open space and the natural environment; Access to recreation and active, healthy lifestyles; The local economy, business diversity and tourism; Walking, biking, public transportation and connectivity; Sustainability; History, the arts and cultural resources; High quality education and community services; Neighborhood revitalization, community design and livability). Perhaps it would be helpful if these values were read aloud at the beginning of every City Council and Planning Commission meeting. Given the current mayor’s and City Council members’ ownership of property downtown, I believe it reasonable to ascertain in whose interest are they voting.
Let’s be meticulous and careful about our past and future. Reduce the height limit back to 35 feet. Make the village walkable and bikeable (wouldn’t it be wonderful to have walking tours through the historical sections, the beach, boutique shops, wineries, cozy restaurants?) Keep the easy, relaxed, healthy, enthusiastic, beautiful parts of the Village and Barrio. Perhaps we should demand strict building and architectural designs. Sprawling, mass planned and shapeless buildings will destroy the unique feel of our Village. Honor the natural beauty of the coast.
- If the county Measure A fails, what path would you take for the city to trench the tracks in the Village?
Although trenching the tracks in the Village creates safety benefits, reduction in noise and some economic effects, it is an enormous cost to the city. The question remains: Is it worth it? As a city council member most decisions are made weighing the costs and benefits of any project. If Measure A fails, I would be very careful about using our taxpayer’s money to trench the tracks without an advisory ballot measure to capture the residents’ position on this project.
- What is your stance on open space and how to reach the 40 percent goal set by the General Plan?
As I’ve publicly stated on social media, my website and the press:
The General Plan needs to be amended to reflect the optimal lifestyle decisions for Carlsbad residents. The city’s egregious disregard for the citizen’s right to vote on Measure A lingers. Almost 52 percent of the electorate voiced their disapproval regarding the tactics undertaken by the out-of-town developer and City Council to circumvent the state environmental laws and speed the Lagoon development. I experienced first hand the hypocrisy of the City Council that gave an out-of-town developer a free California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pass yet, earlier, that same City Council sued the Carlsbad Unified School District under the CEQA statute.
When I am elected, I will vote to have the 48 acres zoning returned to TR (Tourist Recreation) immediately. Why not begin a tradition of protecting and enhancing our open space? I will work to turn the 48 acres into a much sought after green space featuring birding, views, country trails, lagoon access, native vegetation/flowers and connect it to the Proposition D vision of public access, trails, look-out points and picnic areas according to the original 2006 vote.
In addition, the City should move forward with the Proposition C park concepts. (Just as they moved forward with the Safety Center and Alga Norte complex). Why have we waited 14 years? The citizens’ resources (our tax dollars!) should be used to benefit the citizens’ wishes. This should take precedence over building a new City Hall.
- How can the city become more involved, and what is your plan, concerning land use decisions at the power plant?
How often does a prime piece of Southern California beachfront property the size of the Encina Power Plant become available for development? If the City of Carlsbad doesn’t get this right, generations 60-100 years from now will be suffering the consequences. Our coast and ocean are the jewels of California. We have major decisions regarding this property in the next few years.
Let’s get input from all citizens, not just from “those who matter.” Make sure that every stakeholder has a seat at the table. For instance, thanks to the voters’ passage of Proposition P in 2006, the Carlsbad Unified School District had a major development project in the construction of Sage Creek High School. As the plans for the school progressed when I was on the Board, the Assistant Superintendent of Instruction was directed by the Board to gather a committee of the newly hired school principal, a number of district teachers, student leaders, parents from the community, classified employees, local business leaders and the head of construction for the building contractors. For almost two years, the committee met 6 times per year to collaborate on the vision and plans for the school.
Sage Creek High School will graduate its first class in June 2017. It has won awards for architectural design, green energy technology and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum. Its students are involved with local STEM business programs, have a successful athletic program, and qualify most of their students as University of California and California State University eligible.
This is a great model for conversations with developers and SDG&E. It works. It’s successful. The City Council can do the same.
- How would/or are you proceeding to work with the state to address the lack of lifeguards on the northern stretch of Carlsbad State Beach?
Let’s learn from other California communities (like Monterey) and their successful plans for adding State lifeguards. Perhaps it is possible to add state lifeguards under a city contract. Although parts of the northern stretch of Carlsbad State Beach are private, all California beaches are public to the sand below the mean high tide line. Is there a solution to placing lifeguards by the mean tide line? Working with the local property owners? Emphasizing the safety of local residents and tourists? I believe we can work toward a solution but time is of the essence. We do not want deaths or injuries to continue.
Steve Puterski covers Carlsbad and Vista. For tips or story ideas, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @StevePuterski.