Carlsbad City Hall. Photo by Steve Puterski
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Special election appears to be on horizon in Carlsbad

CARLSBAD — Although the City Council is on recess until Nov. 12, residents in District 1 are fighting for representation on the board.

After Barbara Hamilton’s resignation on Oct. 9, the council has been in flux and residents are demanding action. During its Oct. 22 meeting, the council voted to move forward with appointing a representative, while numerous residents were calling for a special election.

Those against an appointment have been gathering signatures for a petition to call for a special election, starting after the agenda item on Oct. 22.

Hope Nelson, a District 2 resident active with many city issues, said she turned in the required number of the signatures to the City Clerk’s office on Oct. 29. From there, the city will send the signatures to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters for verification.

The ROV has 30 days to verify the signatures, although Nelson said she is confident the ROV will do so before the Nov. 8 deadline to get the special election on March 3.

“It looks like we’re in good position and I think we’ve got it,” Nelson said of the 1,652 signatures required to force an election. “This is three years left on a term and people should get a vote. It’s that simple.”

During the last council meeting, residents demanded action from the council to either appoint or call a special election. Councilman Keith Blackburn summarized the issue by saying it was a difficult decision because those in attendance were split.

A special election on March 3 is estimated to cost between $7,500 and $19,000, while a special election on April 14 would run between $175,000 to $300,000.

Some residents also accused Councilwoman Cori Schumacher of manipulating the process, as her term expires in 2020. She was elected as an at-large candidate in 2016.

Some of those who do not support Schumacher called for the appointment of Tracy Carmichael, who lost to Hamilton by less than 300 votes. Others said the appointment process would give other active and qualified residents a chance to make their case.

Nelson, though, stressed her group activated the signature drive for one reason, to ensure the people of the district have a voice through their vote. She noted the council should’ve learned its lesson from the divisive Measure A in 2016 where residents gather signatures for a referendum and special election to defeat the measure.

“It’s highly unlikely our City Council will come to an agreement,” Nelson said. “We all know it’s a split group and they need a three-person majority, they’re going to run into a $300,000 election. First, they’re going to take our vote, then they will take our money. No way.”

Should the special election be called, one challenge will be fundraising and putting together a campaign in a condensed time frame. Nelson said possible candidates include Schumacher, Carmichael, Angel Simon and former Planning Commissioner Marty Montgomery, to name a few.

Carmichael said she plans to submit her application for the appointment, stating she believes the city should follow tradition as it has worked before. As for the special election, Carmichael said she is weighing her options.

One advantage, though, is she still has $20,735.77 in cash on hand, according to the last filing. She said she believes the cash can be used if she decides to run.

Schumacher has $20,527.83 in campaign funds available through her committee “Friends for Cori Schumacher for Mayor 2022,” according to the campaign finance forms on the city’s website.

“I believe I could use that if I were to run again for the same office,” Carmichael said of her cash. “I think that’s a reasonable amount of time to get a campaign up and running. Is it the ideal situation? Oh heck no.”

If a March election is called, the nomination period for candidates to file is from Nov. 12 through Dec. 6, according to Assistant City Clerk Sheila Cobian. As for the April election, filing would open Dec. 23 through Jan. 17.

Note: A previous version of this story reported the required number of signatures to be 1,654. Representatives from the City of Carlsbad informed The Coast News after the print deadline the San Diego County Registrar of Voters changed the requirement to 1,652.

5 comments

Laura Drelleshak October 31, 2019 at 8:40 pm

A few corrections: It’s Simon Angel, not Angel Simon. And unless Tracy Carmichael filed a 501 Intention Statement to run for another office by 3/31/19 and renamed her campaign committee, the committee funds became surplus on 3/31/19 and cannot be used by her to run for another office.

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Noel Breen October 31, 2019 at 11:02 pm

As the single largest donor to Councilwoman Schumacher, Laura knows about large donations. The report I’m linking states you gave at least $8813, but it was a preliminary report. It might be more. As the treasurer for Hamilton, Schumacher, and Citizens for a Friendly Airport, perhaps transparency would dictate you mention those things before trying to sink a person who is not running as of writing. I remember the days where matters like contribution and expenditure limits and term limits were part of what your team said they supported. Now those things really matter little now that the building trades dropped 20K into the coffers for Councilwoman Schumacher, which is about the balance you carried over from 2018.

San Marcos lives very well with a $250.00 donation limit. Cori’s other social media surrogates were blaming the Mayor for outside money influencing local politics. But why was campaign finance reform forgotten by Cori and her team? Until Barbara Hamilton resigned, there were three votes on their slate to drain the swamp. Rather than constantly harping on developer contributions, Cori and her supporters could have addressed the matter but failed to do so. As incumbents playing the campaign finance game, one could argue some of those pontificating are now part of the problem. No matter how many online surrogates try to deflect things elsewhere, everyone knows campaign finance reform would address outside developers and building trade union contributions driving our politics.

file:///home/chronos/u-fa1d1db9c37008d0872ab5f98ec288e67c44b608/MyFiles/Downloads/document%20(3).pdf

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Dave November 1, 2019 at 9:15 am

Please let us know where you do your grocery shopping. I want to be sure not to buy the sourest grapes in the world.

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Beth November 1, 2019 at 9:50 am

Carlsbad should consider limits on donations. A strong election law could level the field and keep outside donors from hijacking our community away from residents.

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Addie November 1, 2019 at 8:16 am

Note that nothing Noel has to say in any way responds to the prior post. Seems to be a favorite tactic of those who have nothing worthwhile to say. “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” Hall has been in power for decades and never cared about campaign finance reform. Why would he?

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