CARLSBAD — A pair of residents are looking to parlay the success of the No on Measure A campaign into seats on the City Council.
Cori Schumacher, 38, and Bill Fowler, 66, both announced their candidacy this week as they challenge incumbents Keith Blackburn and Lorraine Wood.
Schumacher, no relation to current city councilman Michael Schumacher, is an activist and CEO of a nonprofit who helped lead the charge against the controversial Measure A.
Fowler, meanwhile, also worked on the No on A campaign and currently is a consultant with Search Technologies.
The council seats are at-large with a four-year term and the filing deadline opens in July and ends Aug. 12. The election is in November.
Schumacher, meanwhile, said her experience in working against Measure A was a factor, although she took time after the election to decide whether she was ready to dive into city politics.
The 10-year resident said before the Feb. 23 special election, noise grew among friends and supporters of the No on A campaign asking whether she would run for city council. But her eyes remained on defeating Measure A, which was successful, before announcing her next step.
“So a month ago, people started asking,” Schumacher said. “I said, ‘Now is not the time because we have Measure A right in front of us.’ As time went on, more and more people kept asking. As I considered it, it was, ‘am I ready, is Carlsbad ready?’ I know Carlsbad is ready for change. I had to step back and see if I was good for Carlsbad.”
Once she announced her candidacy, she took to social media and set up a Facebook page for her campaign.
One reason for the change, she explained, is being an activist is a reactionary position. Naturally, the next appropriate action is to bring about change from the inside, a proactive response.
“You can either keep trampling the grass or you can walk inside the institutions and make policy in a proactive way,” Schumacher said. “It’s a philosophical understanding of what it means to be an engaged citizen in government. It’s not coming from business, even though I’m a CEO of a nonprofit. It’s coming from a real care for what I’ve experienced as a community member here in Carlsbad.”
Although her campaign is in its infancy, Schumacher said her goal is to create “community engagement” and said she will not commit to a “prefabricated platform.” However, she is interested in the Village-Barrio Master Plan, McClellan-Palomar airport and the Encinas power plant, to name a few issues.
Fowler, meanwhile, began his journey on the No on A campaign gathering signatures for the successful referendum. He also went door-to-door, which is when he said he realized the tide has changed in Carlsbad about how the electorate evaluates city government.
“It gave me a chance to talk to citizens, look them in the eye and listen to what they had to say about the Caruso (Affiliated) project and all the related things that came with that,” Fowler explained. “I was struck about the depth of feeling about what was going on with the proposal. That really inspired me to get even further involved. There’s an awakening in Carlsbad that the current city council has stopped listening.”
Also early in his campaign, Fowler said his primary focus is on limiting political donations to city candidates, clean energy and maintaining and protecting natural resources versus being “obsessed with tax revenue.” In addition, he will not accept donations more than $500.
“That is not a wrong priority, unless the priority versus protecting our natural resources is out of whack, which I think it is,” Fowler added. “What I would always question first about a project is how well does it protect our natural resources and lifestyle, then look at what the revenue is.”
This story has been updated since its original posting.