CARLSBAD — Once again, residents packed the house on Oct. 8 to watch and listen during the final stretch for the highly contested mayor’s race between incumbent Matt Hall and Councilwoman Cori Schumacher.
This marked the third large-scale public forum or debate between the two, which was hosted by the Carlsbad Police Officers Association. The finale will be from 6:30-8 p.m. Oct. 23 at Pacific Ridge School, 6269 El Fuerte.
But during Monday’s forum, Hall and Schumacher laid out their visions for the city.
Schumacher made clear her desire to invest and cultivate green and clean technology as a method to supplement revenue instead of relying on developer fees. She noted since the city is close to build out, another source of revenue must be found, as green energy and battery storage can provide big money.
“Carlsbad has the opportunity to be a leader,” she said.
Hall, meanwhile, said the success of the city has been due to the 1986 Growth Management Plan, as voted on by residents, and the 1988 General Plan, both of which he worked on prior to his election to the City Council in 1994. He said developers, not residents, have paid for the infrastructure and amenities for the city, adding the future of the city has been well planned and financed.
“The city is successful because of that plan,” Hall said. “Carlsbad has never been stronger.”
But being a forum hosted by the police union, the candidates were asked about their commitment to public safety, staff recruitment and retention and California Assembly Bill 931 (use of force).
Hall said he will continue to provide competitive pay, benefits, training and technology to the Carlsbad Police Department. Public safety, he said, is his top priority, noting the city is the “sixth or seventh” city of its size in the U.S., depending on the survey. Buisnessinsider.com recently ranked Carlsbad the sixth-safest city in the country.
Schumacher, though, said increasing staff is important, despite claims the department didn’t need more personnel, adding in the last budget cycle five positions were added.
Hall said the police department has been given more tools, such as the license plate readers, to combat crime. He noted the city’s pay and benefits perks as some of the best in the county, which leads to retention.
Schumacher said housing is an issue for officers and police department staff along with the 2010 passage of Proposition G, a reform requiring a public vote on city pension increases, being a challenge. In addition, she said it is critical to retain officers since it costs about $200,000 to train them.
Both candidates, meanwhile, do not support AB 931, which limits the use of deadly force, among other actions for an office in a dire situation.
Hall said it is hard to understand why officers are restricted from making life-or-death decisions in a span of two seconds.
“I have full faith in each and every one to have the right to do their job,” he said.
Schumacher said the law was a result of poor thinking driven by politics in Sacramento.
“Proactive policing is the best way to deter crime,” she said.