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Candidate forum puts Carlsbad candidates in the spotlight

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.


Patrick October 13, 2020 at 10:08 pm

Phil Urbina took the time to meet with our Hanover Beach Community (which is 500 yards north of the proposed “Ponto” park) on September 10th. Phil is 100% in favor of a park (Phil was Commissioner of the La Costa Little League for many years and understands the need for a park in the SW quadrant of Carlsbad) and would initiate a feasibility study to turn the park into a reality. The Hanover Community wants a park and everyone I have spoken to in Hanover is voting for Phil Urbina for District 4. Feel free to cruise by our neighborhood; you will only see Phil Urbina signs, lots of them. In addition to the Park, the community feels Phil will bring a much-needed practical, smart, and common sense approach to our city council with his 40 years of community service.

Addie October 5, 2020 at 9:20 pm

FYI to anyone who is willing to see for themselves what the real truth is, here is the link to the People for Ponto site, specifically where they asked candidates to respond. Feel free to look at other parts to see how long this group has been active and notice its activities predate both this election cycle and any interest or comments by any of the candidates regarding a park at Ponto.

And my name is Adeline. My friends call me Addie.

Addie October 5, 2020 at 8:11 pm

Dear “Truth”,
Obviously you have no idea what the word “truth” means since just about everything in your post is a lie. First off, People for Ponto started LONG before this current election. In fact it started because Shopoff Developement and others wanted to develop Ponto and were DONATING MONEY TO HALL to grease the wheels. The fact that Urbina is being supported by all of Hall’s donors makes it pretty clear that he would side with Hall on any vote regarding this issue (or any other for that matter). Urbina was given the chance to answer People for Ponto and chose to give no clear response. Other people with more integrity than you can go to their website and see for themselves. Your lame attempt at disinformation is easy enough to discredit. As for bullying, I guess if you consider statements of facts “bullying”, then that says more about you than anything. The REAL truth hurts. Vote for Acosta…she will represent District 4 and the people who live here (not Matt Hall’s pals from 92008 and the developers who back him). As for Cori, you want to raise her as a red herring. The issue here is Acosta vs Urbina, but since you bring it up, threatening anyone including an elected official is not protected speech which is why the court ruled in her favor. Sorry to hurt your feelings again but as they say, “Deal with it.”

Truth is October 3, 2020 at 6:00 pm

Mr. Urbina has made it clear he supported a Ponto Park for months now. The “People for Ponto” is a sham group like the “Citizens for a Friendly Airport” created to create false flag imagery of mass support for NIMBY and Cori related causes. Given the recent attack on the First Amendment launched by Councilwoman Schumacher against her critics, our formerly friendly seaside village has a lot more to worry about than who is genuflecting before another bunch of vicious progressive operatives. Actually, the divisive viciousness of the Cori personality cult is one of Carlsbad’s biggest issues.

The utter intellectual bankruptcy of Addie and the content posted under her family of screen names invariably boils down to lying. scare tactics, cyberbullying, and online character assassination of candidates and private citizens alike. As recently as today we were treated to an anonymous mailer from a group of these allegedly “transparent” hypocrites peddling the same tired menu of recycled attacks from Measure A days. All of the bluster and BS aside, its nothing more or less than an attempt to elect a union Toadie as willing to sell out Carlsbad as Councilwomen Schumacher and Bhat-Patel. Just say no.

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Addie October 1, 2020 at 3:45 pm

Just noticed that the ad Urbina has posted on this very site is a joke…Police, Parks, and Potholes? We all support our police and the city does a great job repairing our streets. But parks? Really Phil? Then why wouldn’t you answer the People for Ponto when they asked you directly whether you support a park by the beach? Maybe because you’re hedging so you can claim you support parks without really meaning it and then later vote with Hall and Blackburn to allow a huge hotel to go up there? Is that the reason?

tere renteria October 1, 2020 at 11:04 am

Carlsbad has one of the best Police departments and is one of the best cities in North County. why would anyone want to defund the Police Department, anywhere? I would definately support the Ponto park but agree that anything planned for that property needs the proper studies before a conclusion. I also don’t feel that our city needs project contracts for all employees. If anything I would support less union labor. great coverage, thank you

Lowell October 1, 2020 at 8:02 am

When asked directly about support for a public park at Ponto, Acosta gave a clear, straight answer. She said she would support it. Urbina, on the other hand, would not make any commitment but instead hemmed and hawed. Even his campaign literature is unclear about what he stands for other than vague platitudes. Let’s be clear. Urbina is Hall’s guy and will vote however Hall tells him to vote. If you want to allow Shopoff Development (or some other developer) to come back and build a monstrosity at Ponto, then just let Hall get a majority on council. It’ll happen and once it’s done, it can’t be undone. If you live in Carlsbad and want to have any hope of a park there, then vote for Acosta.

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