EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was updated with a clarification from Councilwoman Cori Schumacher regarding her statement about the protests in Carlsbad and follow-up comments.
CARLSBAD — Those demanding changes are looking to something more specific within the city, updating the Master and Growth Management plans.
Keyrollos Ibrahim, Maggie Munn and several other younger residents are pushing for the city to bring back the plans for updates. The group organized the three-day protest in Carlsbad in line with the Black Lives Matter protests from June 5-7.
Additionally, a group of younger activists and newcomers to the world of politics is also engaging the City Council regarding police reforms, but Ibrahim said the master and growth management plans are areas where their input and ideas can be set into action.
Munn, 25, said it’s a more strategic way to address large-scale change for decades to come. Several issues the group is researching are housing, homeless and policing policies.
“It was a very solid way to get our foot in the door strategically,” Munn said. “It was a firm way of letting City Council members know we are a part of the conversation. It’s an appropriate first step in starting the conversation with city officials and community members to make sure everyone in Carlsbad feels represented.”
During the June 23 City Council meeting, Munn and Ibrahim, a 28-year-old Carlsbad native, and others said the master and growth management plans have not been updated since the mid-1980s. They’re calling for the council to introduce the plans for updates, noting how the city and times have changed.
The two plans give city staff and the council of the direction of how the city plans its future regarding growth, public safety, traffic and many other aspects of daily life in Carlsbad.
Both Munn and Ibrahim said they’ve had discussions with the council, and appreciative of Mayor Matt Hall for bringing up the item on June 23 and moving ahead with community workshops addressing policies for the police department and the two plans.
“We are working on the specificity of what our group will present,” Munn said. “Finding ways to bring cultural aspects of the community to Carlsbad, finding ways to marry ordinances with appropriate housing measures.”
However, a rift between the group and Councilwoman Cori Schumacher has been growing, Munn and Ibrahim said. The protest organizers were in contact with city staff and the police department regarding the peaceful three-day protest.
Schumacher posted to social media suggesting other potential protests were “being created by suspected white nationalists and spread by know (or unknowing, well-intentioned individuals)” to further a white nationalist agenda.
In a follow-up post, Schumacher clarified her previous statement was not related to a specific event, such as the one in Carlsbad, saying it was a false assumption and conjecture. She said she did not weigh in on any single event, and the activist community has become more aware of BLM SD events.
Munn and Ibrahim were outraged, but have since pivoted to diving into the master and growth management plans to identify areas where more inclusivity is included to address homelessness, affordable housing, policing. With policing, Ibrahim said they want to eliminate forced arbitration, which is used when a serious complaint is made against an officer and runs the city about $200,000 to address.
Additionally, Ibrahim, an Egyptian American enrolled at St. John’s Law School in New York, said another goal is to make it easier for officers to be whistleblowers without facing serious backlash from the police union.
While those policing policies may take more time, he said the master and growth management plans are specific areas where change can happen more quickly.
“I’ve had my own experiences with police brutality in Carlsbad,” Ibrahim said. “I wanted to know what Carlsbad could do, specifically, to improve the situation to improve the lives of people of color. Especially as a preventative measure to prevent anything from like what happened to George Floyd and what happens to people of color every day in this country from happening in our city.”