CARLSBAD — With two candidate forums in the books, voters are getting an idea of the positions of the four Carlsbad City Council candidates.
This year features two district races, with long-time Councilman Keith Blackburn taking on Lela Panagides in District 2, and Teresa Acosta and Phil Urbina squaring off in District 4.
The candidates responded to a number of citywide topics coming from the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, who hosted the forum, and residents watching. Some of those included a potential Ponto Park, 5 Big Moves, homeless and police reform.
All agreed about a potential park, however, Blackburn and Urbina were more cautious in their approach, citing the issue must go through the proper channels in the city. Urbina said he’d love to see a park, but since the issue is complex, a thorough review is needed.
Acosta and Panagides also are in favor of the park, noting they have discussed the issue at length with other supporters.
Another big issue comes with the San Diego Association of Governments’ “5 Big Moves” program, which is calling for $177 billion on public transportation projects. The controversial project is pitting those who are demanding SANDAG fund current highway deficiencies rather than allocate, and most likely calling for a vote to raise county sales taxes, to strictly trains, busses and light rail, among other, projects.
Blackburn said SANDAG is “skipping too far ahead,” revenue not being spent on current issues such as Interstate 5 and State Route 78. Still, he said he likes that SANDAG is looking forward.
Panagides, meanwhile, said the pandemic has changed everything and would encourage SANDAG to reconsider the plan, noting more people will be working from home after the pandemic.
According to SANDAG, at least 33% of workers are projected to telecommute.
Acosta said she is in favor of the program, noting it is critical for the county to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to meet state mandates. Additionally, she said the plan takes cars off the road and by using technology it can keep vehicles off the highways and lower congestion.
The four candidates were also asked yes or no questions on several other issues including trenching the railroad tracks in Carlsbad Village, defunding the police, a community review board for the police department and project labor agreements for all city projects.
Acosta, Blackburn and Urbina support trenching, while all candidates responded they are not in favor of defunding the police department. As for the review board, Blackburn and Urbina do not support the idea, while Panagides is in support and Acosta was undecided.
Regarding project labor agreements, which are union-friendly contracts requiring an entity to use mostly union labor, only Acosta was in support.
Read next week’s Coast News for our Carlsbad City Council election preview.