CARLSBAD — The much-anticipated State of the City Luncheon hosted by the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce was a sold out event. In the spotlight, Mayor Matt Hall gave his debut “State of the City” speech while former, longtime Carlsbad Mayor Claude “Bud” Lewis was in attendance.
More than 500 attendees filled the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa ballroom for an elegant August 26 afternoon affair. In the audience were civic and business leaders, and Carlsbad Chamber members.
Ted Owen, president and CEO of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, provided the warm welcome. “This is a milestone event,” he said. “Today, we will hear Mayor Matt Hall for the first time.”
Hall has held the position of mayor for 9 months.
Before Hall took center stage, he said he was very excited about giving his speech.
“Obviously, Buddy has left me a legacy that is very hard to get to the next level and there isn’t any one person that will get us there,” Hall said. “The only way it will work is coming together with the public sector, schools, business community and the citizens of Carlsbad – all of us working together can make a difference.”
Hall said that his greatest hope is that everyone who walks away from this annual luncheon does so with a renewed sense of energy.
At the podium, Hall delivered a speech with the intent to empower the business community and citizens of Carlsbad. An annual progress was underscored and punctuated with future City projects.
Getting Carlsbad to the next level of profitability, he said, will be a team effort. Hall pointed out each member of the city council and publically recognized his or her great accomplishments. Mayor Pro Tem Ann Kulchin and council members Mark Packard, Keith Blackburn, and Farrah Douglas were singled out.
Hall wanted guests to know that on each tabletop was a greeting card for them. Inside were the City Council members’ business cards.
“(The cards) have all five of our business cards in it,” he said, adding how even personal contact numbers were included. “We work 24/7, so if you need assistance, or just want to talk to us, please feel free to do so.”
Hall said he and his other city council members have met privately with businesses to listen to their challenges and address them.
“We truly enjoy doing that,” Hall said. “Our focus as a council is to empower each and every one of you so you can be as profitable as possible in who you are and what you do.”
Hall also referred to the Carlsbad city staff members as exceptional. Some staff members spotted were Lisa Hildabrand, John Coates, Ronald Ball, Gary Barberio and many more.
“Together, we can make a difference; we have an award-winning city, award-winning schools, and we have award-winning business community, and we as a staff, look forward to working with each and every one of you,” Hall said.
Also there were city officials from surrounding communities such as Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood, Encinitas Mayor James Bond, and Escondido Mayor Sam Abed and North County State Assemblyman Martin Garrick.
In the past, Hall said, people have looked at other nearby cities as competitors. But that mindset has changed. “It has become obvious that the cities that surround us are not my competitors but my allies,” he said.
Hall pointed out that working with the other mayors and their city councils will bring economic development not only to Carlsbad but to all of North County.
Gina McBride, Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce Chairman of the Board described Hall’s speech as a strong business presentation and thought the guests were quite pleased with it.
“I do see a strengthening relationship as we work with the City toward the common goals of attracting and keeping quality businesses here in Carlsbad, growing and prospering as the economy recovers, as it surely will, while maintaining one of the finest qualities of life in Southern California,” McBride said.