CARLSBAD — A disagreement between a city official and a resident has unfolded on social media and captured the public’s attention.
The spat began last summer during the general election but gained significant traction after Carlsbad Councilwoman Cori Schumacher published a Facebook post on April 17 regarding alleged “attacks” from Linda Breen, a former candidate for the City Council.
“After a year of constant public attacks, I want to take a moment to make something very clear,” Schumacher wrote. “I have tried to ignore a series of attacks that began during the campaign season and has persisted past this point.”
Schumacher said the Breens have launched a campaign of “bullying, outright lies, projections and manipulations” following her endorsement of Barbara Hamilton during the 2018 general election.
Hamilton defeated Linda Breen to claim the District 1 council seat.
Supporters applauded Schumacher for defending herself from perceived transgressions initiated by the Breens.
But others chided the councilwoman, suggesting her social media comments were “inappropriate” and “distasteful.”
Schumacher did not respond to requests for comment.
The Breens said they are in disbelief that a public figure would so brazenly attack private residents.
The simmering discord boiled over Schumacher “called out” Noel Breeen during an April 14 Town Hall meeting.
The Breens said Schumacher’s public attempts to humiliate them sends a negative message to residents.
The Breens said they were blocked from Schumacher’s personal Facebook page.
As a result of online harassment from Schumacher’s supporters, the Breens have decided to leave Carlsbad.
Noel Breen acknowledges that he’s made a lot of people upset, but draws a line with public officials.
“Donald (Trump) uses his personal Twitter and it’s pretty unprecedented. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Noel Breen said. “We used to be one of them. The message she’s sending is, if you make her mad enough, she’ll embarrass you in public … and put you on blast. They know what they’re doing.”
Schumacher stated the attacks “are couched as issues-oriented, but they are driven by personal animus that stems from a vindictiveness tied to feeling entitled to my support for a candidate during the last campaign season.”
Schumacher further alleged that Noel Breen was ready to “initiate a vendetta.”
“It is crystal clear Ms. Breen remains very unhappy about my endorsement of Ms. Hamilton. As she said in her letter, ‘I deserve the Democratic endorsement, and you know I do. I also deserve your support,’” Schumacher wrote. “I am hoping that with this post, folks who have seen this play out over time will understand the Breens’ behavior for what it is: revenge for not supporting Ms. Breen.”
Schumacher later addressed Linda Breen and others who questioned her statements regarding Community Choice Energy.
In another Facebook post, Schumacher suggested an alternative energy program could generate $200 million in revenue for the city, although the feasibility study projections were much lower.
Schumacher cited a KPBS story where Gary Sabalea, a consultant for EES Consulting who conducted the study, said a joint-powers agreement with Carlsbad, Encinitas, Del Mar and Oceanside could be a $200 million outfit in the future.
Noel Breen said this isn’t the first time he has been critical of Schumacher’s remarks on financial matters.
The Breens said that during her mayoral campaign, Schumacher claimed an Australian battery farm could generate roughly $450 million a year and suggested Carlsbad could follow suit.
Another example came during the Jan. 8 City Council meeting after Schumacher claimed SANDAG had an $18 billion deficit before changing the estimate to $18 million.
Schumacher later “clarified” her previous statement, settling on a deficit between $15 billion to $18 billion.
Steve Puterski covers Carlsbad and Vista. For tips or story ideas, contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @StevePuterski.