Candidates near the end of campaign trail

CARLSBAD — With the end of the campaign trail in sight, each of the six candidates running for City Council are stepping up their campaigns in hopes of filling one of the two seats open in the upcoming election.
Some of the names and faces are more familiar than others, but all six candidates have faced each other at a number of public forums held over the past few weeks, giving their version of why they would be best suited for the job.
Ann Kulchin is the only candidate running for re-election. The longtime councilwoman and three-time mayor pro tem announced last summer that she would run for office once again. Kulchin, who has served on the Carlsbad City Council for 28 years, made the announcement in July on the steps of the city offices, surrounded by family and supporters, including the mayor and fellow council members.
The former school teacher has three grown children and moved with her husband to La Costa in 1978. Kulchin said she first decided to run for City Council in 1980, when, she said she realized there was no representation on the council for the southern part of the city.
“This is where we chose to live and I really enjoy what I do,” Kulchin said. “It has been exciting to make a difference in people’s lives.”
Kulchin said she is proud of her role in the building of the Dove Library and the new Library Learning Center, as well as putting sand on the area beaches.
Among her goals for the next term, if re-elected, she said, will be to continue her work on the recently approved desalination plant, to be built at the site of the Encina Power Station, while encouraging the current power plant owners to move the facility farther inland so the coastal property can be used for open space and or parkland.
Kulchin said she supports the long-awaited Alga Norte Park, with the swim complex and skate park, and is the only council member who recently voted to move forward on it.
Kulchin said her years of experience serving on the council, as well as on local, regional, state and national committees, makes her the candidate who can best continue to serve the residents. Supporters have said Kulchin has the reputation of being fiscally disciplined, environmentally sensitive and growth conscious. In these unpredictable economic times, Kulchin said, it is best to have someone who already is well-known and well-respected to represent the city.
The city of Carlsbad is financially conservative, and despite the times, still fiscally strong. Now the focus has shifted to economic, social and environmental sustainability.
A growth management plan was put into place and voted on by the residents in 1986, requiring developers to build roads, parks and other infrastructure. But now, said Kulchin, the city must maintain them.
The challenge, she said, is to keep Carlsbad operating in the “black” while maintaining the parks, trails, roads and public buildings. Kulchin said the city needs to focus on encouraging development or redevelopment of hotels and other money-generating venues such as Car Country Carlsbad and Westfield’s Plaza Camino Real, and to work with the private sector on naming rights for various buildings around town. Kulchin defends the golf course, as do many in the city who have said the facility will eventually pay for itself and provide another ongoing source of revenue to the city.
“With our city fast approaching build out, we are at a critical crossroads,” City Council candidate Thomas K. Arnold said. And as we transition from managing growth to managing maturity, he said, we need the vision, leadership and big-picture perspective of a veteran journalist with 25 years of experience.
As a writer, reporter and columnist for San Diego Magazine, Los Angles Times and San Diego Reader, Arnold said he has become familiar with the area and the local and regional issues facing residents, and decided to run after years of interactions with those in the community who feel the city needs, “change, vision and action.”
Now, as the publisher of Home Media Magazine, Arnold said he knows how to build a team and run a successful business in challenging economic times.
Thinking creatively, Arnold said, and “old-fashioned business principals, private-sector partnerships and outsourcing,” are suggestions he gives for sustaining the economic revenues while building the city reserves.
By not wasting money on projects, such as the $70 million golf course, Arnold said the city would have a better chance of building back the reserves that once stood in excess of $100 million.
As the father of young boys, and a native San Diegan who lives in the northeastern quadrant of the city, Arnold said he is especially familiar with the issues of importance to families who live in Carlsbad. Supporters have said he has the vision, integrity and leadership needed for the job. Arnold said he also sees the need to bring a fair and balanced approach to developers and public unions.
If elected, Arnold said, his top priorities will be to maintain the quality of life, while focusing on open space and the neglected Barrio and downtown Village redevelopment by going after the right mix of merchants to bring people to the downtown.
“I am worried about our future,” Arnold said, citing examples of projects that have been put on hold. “I run a business and I know how to take action.”

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