CARLSBAD — A surprise announcement shocked residents as Councilwoman Barbara Hamilton said she will resign effective Oct. 31.
She said her decision was due to family health reasons during the Sept. 10 City Council meeting. Elected in 2018, Hamilton represents District 1, which covers the Village and Barrio neighborhoods.
“It’s with regret that I am informing you that I am resigning my seat on City Council,” she said. “I thank everyone who has worked collaboratively with me and helped me to help my community over this past year on the council.”
Mayor Matt Hall was stunned and shocked hearing Hamilton’s short announcement, saying, “that took the breath out of us. I don’t know what to say now. Just thank you, thank you, thank you for what you’ve done for the community.”
He praised Hamilton’s decision for putting family first. Councilwoman Priya Bhat-Patel thanked Hamilton for her service and said the council will miss her.
“The sheer passion and dedication she has to voice the concerns of our community have always been apparent,” Bhat-Patel said on Twitter. “From the very start she was committed to bringing the voices of the community to the forefront.”
Councilman Keith Blackburn said Hamilton has the support of the council, noting he knows how much time and work she put into her service and campaign.
In November 2018, Hamilton rallied to win the District 1 seat over Tracy Carmichael with 38.38% of the vote in the four-person race. Hamilton trailed after Election Day, but the count for the next several days went in her favor as she became the first elected official for the district.
The city moved to district elections in 2018 where Hamilton and Bhat-Patel won seats on the council.
The City Council has two options to fill Hamilton’s seat. Within 60 days of the vacancy (Oct. 31), the council must either appoint a new representative or call for a special election.
However, the residents of the affected district (District 1) may require the council to call for a special election, according to the municipal code, if 10% of registered voters in the district sign a petition and file with the city clerk.
If the council appoints a new representative, residents still may call for a special election through the aforementioned process. Additionally, if the council cannot come to an agreement on the appointment within 60 days, a special election must be called.
The election would be held on the “next regularly established election date not less than 114 days from the call of the special election.”
With the addition of Hamilton and Bhat-Patel, the political lean of the council shifted from a conservative majority to a liberal one.
Hamilton was vocal in her desire to protect the Village and Barrio from over development and helping the city move toward Community Choice Aggregation, or Community Choice Energy, among a number of other issues.
“I trust that my colleagues on council will work together to appoint a council member in District 1,” she said. “I trust that my colleague will have listened to my voice, and to the voices of concerned residents in these older Carlsbad communities.”