CARLSBAD — It was a true celebration of Carlsbad and its leaders as longtime mayor Claude “Bud” Lewis delivered his final State of the City address Aug. 27.
A sold-out crowd paid tribute to Mayor Lewis and his career at the annual luncheon hosted by the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort. Attendees also screened this year’s informative “State of the City” video presentation.
“For the people that live here, this is Buddy Town,” Mitch Mitchell of San Diego Gas & Electric said of the mayor’s four decades in office. “We are incredibly grateful for what you’ve done to make this city one of the best in the world.”
Lewis’ leadership has been instrumental in creating and maintaining a high quality of life in Carlsbad. The video detailed the city’s continued efforts to provide top-notch programming, public safety services and open spaces when faced with a reduced budget.
“It’s been a tough couple of years but we’ve maintained a balance of what the citizens want and what we can provide,” Lewis said in the video.
According to the video, city officials used budget forecasting to prepare for an economic downturn, allowing Carlsbad to remain largely unaffected by the nation’s current crisis.
“Our citizens have come and formed a partnership with us,” Mayor Pro Tem Ann Kulchin said. “Carlsbad is one big family, and when things get tight, that’s when families come together.”
As more green initiatives are being ushered in each day, Carlsbad also remains a leader in environmentally conscious and sustainable practices. Lewis’ pride and joy — the future Poseidon Resources desalination plant — is well on its way to providing a drought-resistant water supply for the region.
“We have been able to break ground and begin the first phase of construction,” Peter MacLaggan of Poseidon Resources said. As the final steps in this “10-year adventure,” Poseidon is securing delivery arrangements and plans to fully operate in 2013.
Quickly approaching build out, Lewis cautioned that Carlsbad now faces the challenge of transitioning from a city of growth to one that’s focused on sustaining what is already in place.
In honor of his many achievements in Carlsbad — from schoolteacher to football coach, councilman to mayor — Lewis was presented with the inaugural Starfish Leadership Award. A letter from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger applauding his career successes was also read at the luncheon event.
As his decades-long reign comes to an end, Mayor Lewis offered advice to those in attendance. With elections just a few months away, he encouraged voters to research and support those candidates they feel have the city’s best interest in mind.
“As long as you stay involved, you’ll always have a great community,” he said.