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After Barbara Hamilton’s resignation, residents and the council debated whether to appoint a replacement or call for a special election. Courtesy photo
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Carlsbad to wait until general election to seat 5th member

CARLSBAD — There will be no special election this time.

The Carlsbad City Council has decided to wait for the general election in November to fill the vacant city council seat. The vacant seat is an at-large position formerly held by Councilwoman Cori Schumacher, who was elected to the council in 2016.

Following the resignation of former Councilwoman Barbara Hamilton, Schumacher later won Hamilton’s District 1 seat during a special election in March 2019, leaving an at-large vacant seat on the council.

Hamilton was elected as District 1 representative in November 2018 before leaving in October 2019.

“As a practical matter, the special election option is really not available in this instance because the next regularly scheduled election date is not until Nov. 3, 2020,” Sheila Cobian, city clerk services, said. “With that election, there will no longer be any at-large seats because the city will have completed its transition to district rather than at-large elections.”

The City Council has 60 days after a vacancy in an elected office to either appoint a successor or call a special election to fill the vacancy. The special election must be held on the next regularly scheduled election date not less than 114 days after the election is called.

Mayor Matt Hall, who was the lone no vote, said he believes calling on experienced former city councilmembers offers viable options for an appointment over the next six months. He said with the city’s budget beginning to take shape, and other pressing issues, the seat should be filled as soon as possible.

Hall said former councilmembers Michael Schumacher, Eric Larson, Julie Nygard and Mark Packard could seamlessly fill the position on a part-time basis, and have experience. As for District 4, the mayor said it is important to make sure both candidates — Teresa Acosta and Phil Urbina — each have a fair chance.

Councilwoman Priya Bhat-Patel countered, saying the residents of District 4 should make the decision.

“I would respectfully disagree,” she said. “An individual, regardless of whether they served two or four years ago, the issues we have now will take them time to get up to speed. We haven’t had too many deadlocked votes. I don’t want folks to see us as a divided council. We are a united council.”

After Hamilton’s resignation, residents and the council engaged in a weeks-long debate on whether to appoint a replacement or call for a special election. In the end, residents gathered enough signatures to call for the special election.

Schumacher and Councilman Keith Blackburn were both elected in 2016 as at-large candidates. It was the last at-large election in the city, as Carlsbad moved to district elections in 2018, where Hamilton, Mayor Matt Hall and Councilwoman Priya Bhat-Patel (District 3) all won.

This year districts 2 and 4 will be decided on Nov. 3. Blackburn, who is running for a fourth term is challenged by Lela Panagides in District 2. Teresa Acosta and Phil Urbina are contending for District 4. The council vacancy will be filled by the winner of the District 4 race.

7 comments

Lowell May 20, 2020 at 8:34 am

Matt Hall (and his hotel and development backers) is desperate to find some way to regain control. He doesn’t care how he does it. Watch all the money flowing into Phil Urbina’s campaign. Pay attention to where it is coming from. This information is easily accessible and speaks volumes as to what is at stake for the city of Carlsbad and its citizens.

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Addie May 20, 2020 at 9:06 am

So Matt Hall can stop claiming to be “fiscally conservative”, right? Once again he wanted to waste taxpayer dollars on a pointless special election because he thinks he would personally benefit. Please remember this next time he runs.

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PLEASE May 21, 2020 at 8:46 am

Its long past time for the Coast News to find a way to make “Addie” and “Lowell” and even “Casandra” to use their real identity in posting the same boring and depressing attacks on local Republicans over years-old drivel. These are the same people who have already turned the local Next-Door platform into a cesspool of online character assassination and have already established a Facebook group “Stay Asleep Carlsbad” for their #fakenews. Those of us who do not have SSDI to draw from, who have lives outside of attacking public officials are at a marked disadvantage in responding to these trolls. Rather than calling for censorship, please make commenters put their names out while executing their politics of personal destruction.

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Addie May 21, 2020 at 6:51 pm

How about commenting on any of the facts posted instead of complaining and whining? And my name is Adeline. My friends call me Addie. I do not post on Next Door. I don’t use my last name because some Republican thugs would likely come to my house. I notice YOU didn’t bother to use any proper name at all so please spare us your hypocrisy. It’s a known fact that Hall is frustrated and his cronies and donors are doing everything they can to get a majority back on council. Don’t believe me? Look at how is donating to Urbina’s campaign.

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PLEASE May 23, 2020 at 9:03 am

Here is another example of the behaviors accompanied by some convoluted explanation of “Addie’s” fake screen name. He/She/it’s bizarre assertion that “Republican thugs” would “come to my house,” is another example of how destructive and perjurious the years of attacks from these troubled beings have become. Noting the sheer impossibility of “commenting on any of the facts posted ” (there are none offered) my previous post was a respectful request that the Coast News consider using the Facebook comments feature or other mechanism to require users to post under their real name. . My use of the screen name PLEASE was intentional, as we are speaking of an ongoing abuse this platform by social media surrogates of Councilwoman Schumacher (and apparently an Acosta troll to boot.) We are not asking for censorship , we are asking for opinions expressed here to be accompanied by some accountability for the content by posters by making them verify who they really are. That prospect apparently terrifies “Addie” and “Lowell” and the other fake people posting here.

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Addie May 28, 2020 at 5:40 pm

Fact #1: Matt Hall claims to be a “fiscal conservative”
Fact #2: Matt Hall wanted to hold a costly special election over the mall (and we did it)
Fact #3: Matt Hall wanted to hold another costly election mentioned in the article.

PLEASE, you need to get some help, seriously. Maybe stop stalking these posts looking for things to whine about.

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Addie May 28, 2020 at 5:51 pm

More facts (not mentioned in posts but alluded to):
Urbina’s campaign has taken in $5000 from Mark Packard, at least $1500 from Tim Stripe of Grand Pacific Resorts, and $1000 from Wave Crest Properties of Encinitas. Not to mention lots of familiar names giving lots of money to his campaign who are also donors to Matt Hall. This would indicate that the connection between Urbina and Hall is not really subject to debate. Thus, further FACT…Hall wants Urbina on council so he can take back control. QED

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