Protecting Carlsbad’s small beach town feel, preserving open space, and maintaining a vibrant economic future are top priorities for Cori Schumacher, who is challenging two-term incumbent Matt Hall for mayor.
Schumacher was elected to Carlsbad’s City Council in 2016, defeating Lorraine Wood, who now supports Schumacher’s bid for mayor. “While we have accomplished so much together, there is a lot left to do,” Schumacher said. “We need a vision both rooted in our history, while looking forward to our future. I’m looking forward to sharing the vision that we have developed together for a future for all of us in Carlsbad.”
Schumacher believes Carlsbad is ready for a change in leadership. “Mr. Hall has served on the Council for decades and is no longer in touch with our changing community demographics,” she said. “Carlsbad is ready to move into a new phase of its growth and we need our community to be deeply engaged in the process.”
Reining in out-of-control development is a priority, and the community must drive these decisions, Schumacher insists. She also favors more neighborhood services, and more community choice when it comes to energy options. In addition she believes that workers’ rights must be strengthened.
Schumacher became an activist in Carlsbad when she led the opposition to Measure A, which would have allowed a retail mall south of Agua Hedionda Lagoon. That special election in 2016 was divisive, and Schumacher won the council seat in large part due to citizens’ resentment over the Council’s unanimous support of the measure.
Even though Wood was defeated for the Council seat, she now praises Schumacher, who is the only Democrat on the Council, and often on the losing end of 4-1 votes. “Cori is an amazingly ethical person (and it) is so important for the position of mayor,” Wood said in a Coast News Group interview. “Cori also operates at the ceiling of ethics, not in the basement,” Wood said, adding that Schumacher’s communication and vision for the city were factors in her endorsement.
Below is an edited version of Schumacher’s responses to Alianza’s questions.
Cori Schumacher, 41
Why are you running for mayor?
I am running for mayor to put our community back in the driver’s seat in all decision making and planning. Too many decisions are being made without allowing our residents’ input to impact decisions and plans. It’s time our community is put back in charge of our city moving forward.
Describe your main strengths/qualifications as a candidate for this office.
1. Community outreach and engagement. Over the last 3 years, I have created and maintained strong connections and communication with our community.
2. Interagency collaboration and cooperation that extends from the border to Sacramento.
3. Strong ties to global non-profit and NGO sectors in the fields of sustainable development and clean tech.
Explain your positions on the most critical issues facing Carlsbad.
I am a strong advocate for Community Choice Energy, which will put our residents in charge of energy procurement and decrease their costs by 2% immediately, with increased savings over time.
I am a strong advocate for increasing the number of staff for our city, especially in the area of public safety, planning (including our traffic department), and housing and neighborhood services to meet our residents’ needs and to provide world-class service.
Development and growth should not be driven by developers, but by our community and our community values.
We need a wholesale revisiting of policies and programs developed in the 1980s to bring them up to date and I have been advocating for this since taking office. The Council majority has finally started to respond to this advocacy and we are now revising our entire municipal code and have placed the Growth Management Plan on the agenda to start working on as a city.
Explain your position on budget/taxes/financial issues in the City:
Carlsbad is a fiscally sound city with an excessive current reserve of 56%. We need to reinvest in our community, in our staff, and in our future. We are overly reliant on developer dollars and I have crafted a plan that will keep us fiscally secure and thriving for generations through Community Choice Energy, clean tech innovations, and regional collaboration. Planning proactively for this, rather than waiting for developer dollars to dry up, is one of my main platform pieces.
Why should voters elect you over Matt Hall?
Under Mr. Hall’s leadership, we have seen a revolving door of City Managers, a destabilized city organization, and residents who do not feel heard. In addition, Mr. Hall has allowed vacant city properties to remain vacant for decades, costing taxpayers millions of dollars, and a downtown that is getting to be unrecognizable because of development that is out-of-line with our community’s desires to keep our Village and Barrio quaint.
It’s time for a new vision that puts our residents first. It’s time for proactive leadership that listens to our community and that can fulfill our commitment to retain our small, beach town feel, and ensure we have adequate staffing in public safety and other city departments to meet the high quality of service we need to maintain for our residents.
Employment: Current Councilmember, City of Carlsbad.
Family: I have nearly 30 nieces and nephews who are constantly in my thoughts as I make decisions for our future. My wife and I have been married for 10 years and have enjoyed living in Carlsbad for the last 12 years.
Rick Mercurio is Alianza North County’s Lead Reporter.