CARLSBAD — Four are in, but two have dropped out in two races for City Council.
As of July 16, candidates for mayor and the council can officially file their nomination papers declaring their intent and place on the November ballot.
The four new candidates joining the race are Tracy Carmichael and Linda Breen in District 1 and Corrine Busta in District 3. This year marks the first year the city of Carlsbad is using district elections to select council members.
Also joining the race is Barbara Hamilton, who filed her candidate intention statement after The Coast News’ print deadline on Thursday, July 12. Hamilton will challenge Packard, Carmichael and Breen in District 1.
Dropping out are Mary Anne Viney in District 1 and Kris Urdahl in District 3, citing personal and health reasons, respectively.
The race for mayor, though, is an at-large race, meaning every registered resident can vote between Mayor Matt Hall and City Councilwoman Cori Schumacher — the only two to have publicly declared their candidacy.
With the new additions, District 1 now has three candidates as Carmichael and Breen join incumbent Mark Packard. In District 3, Busta will take on Priya Bhat-Patel as Michael Schumacher (no relation to Cori Schumacher), who currently represents District 3, will not seek re-election.
Breen, retired and a former project manager for high-energy physics research at Stanford University, said she believes she is the best candidate for District 1. She is also part of the Democratic Central Committee and is chair of the North County chapter of the San Diego Progressive Democratic Club, although she will resign if elected as it is a conflict of interest.
Breen said she feels she is the strongest candidate in the district and her concern is the city needs a moderate voice. Quality of life, the Village and Barrio and the coastline are just some of her top issues.
“I decided I could make a difference on the local level,” she said. “I do bring a perspective of a long-term commitment to Carlsbad. People are looking for the respect of lifestyle and we don’t need to be polarized across party lines.”
Carmichael, meanwhile, was elected twice to the Carlsbad Unified School District (1994 and 1998) and lost two council races in 2002 and 2004. She is the president of the Carlsbad Christmas Bureau, a graduate of the city’s Citizens Academy and a member of the city’s Certified Emergency Response Team.
Her priorities include public safety, the airport, the Village and Barrio and an open dialogue with residents, to name a few.
“I believe there is a time for some change,” Carmichael said. “I want to run a positive campaign. I want to engage residents in the process.”
Packard was first elected to the council in 2002 and has been a mainstay ever since. The local dentist has served on dozens of committees and boards and is former chair of the North County Transit District.
One of his long-term goals has been to trench the railroad tracks from Carlsbad Village to Tamarack Avenue. Other priorities, he said, mirror the council’s five goals for the city, which also include enhancing the coastline, addressing traffic, the Village and Barrio Master Plan (which was approved on July 10) and a new City Hall and civic center.
“My philosophy has been if you like what we are doing, then vote for me,” Packard said. “We are aware this will be a more competitive race this time because there are some who think there should be radical changes in Carlsbad.”
District 3 became a battleground after Michael Schumacher announced he will not seek re-election this cycle. Bhat-Patel was the first to announce in March followed by Urdahl several weeks later.
Now, Busta joins the race. The Navy veteran works as a policy advisor and as grants manager in Supervisor Kristin Gaspar’s office. Busta said she decided to run because she didn’t feel right about candidates Bhat-Patel and Urdahl representing her family and community.
As for her top priorities, she said once in office she will have time to research and “dig into the layers.” But Busta finds herself months behind Bhat-Patel in campaigning.
“I’m very situational and very proactive,” Busta said. “It’s really going to be grassroots efforts. I want to make sure I’m getting in front of the constituents.”
Bhat-Patel, meanwhile, said she is encouraged by the many new candidates. The new district races, though, brings different characteristics to the election.
Additionally, Bhat-Patel has a three-month head start on the campaign trail, which has been filled with canvassing and pop-up events.
“I don’t think it changes anything,” Bhat-Patel said of the additional candidates. “Things have been progressing really well. Our base leadership team has grown. We’ve been knocking on doors every day … and making sure that we’re getting to know our residents’ needs and wants and representing their needs and wants.”
Steve Puterski covers Carlsbad and Vista. For tips or story ideas, contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @StevePuterski.