The Coast News Group
Eric Munoz, formerly of the city’s planning staff and two-term president of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation, voices his opposition to Measure A, otherwise known as 85/15, which, if passed, would allow for the development of a mall near the lagoon. The special election for Measure A in Carlsbad is Feb. 23. File photo by Steve Puterski
Carlsbad Carlsbad Featured Community Featured

No on A movement gains new supporter

CARLSBAD — As the days tick down and the ballots begin to flow into City Hall, another Carlsbad resident is taking Measure A to task.

Eric Munoz, formerly of the city’s planning staff and two-term president of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation, has publicly renounced the controversial plan.

The proposal, known as the 85/15 plan, aims to develop 26 acres for a luxury retail and entertainment mall, along with creating miles of hiking trails, increasing strawberry farming and fostering farm-to-table restaurants. The special election is Feb. 23, although mail-in ballots from the city were distributed last month and can be mailed back by the election.

Munoz, however, laid out his argument stating Proposition D, which was passed in November 2006, is being bypassed, and any lawsuits filed would have to be defended by the city along with public concerns from former planning commission chair, planning director and city attorney.

“True intelligence is knowing when to say no,” Munoz said in his statement. “Now Measure A provides that challenge to our community.”

The grassroots organization Citizens for North County, led by President De’Ann Weimer, applauded the endorsement.

“No one in this city is in a better position than Mr. Munoz to assess the potential impact of this proposed mega mall on the Agua Hedionda Lagoon,” Weimer said. “He knows the history of the lagoon, has fought for its preservation and has the technical expertise to understand the details of this proposal. Today, he has debunked suggestions that the trail improvements and other promises by Caruso Affiliated are enough to outweigh the unknowns created by this proposal. We hope Carlsbad voters listen to and heed Mr. Munoz’s concerns.”

Munoz also railed against the public beach access lease termination saying the public will be barred from the lagoon “via staff and city council action with no public recourse or action.”

He also slams the renderings for the potential mall, which is mostly funded by Caruso Affiliated, where no official concepts have been presented to the city for review.

“This stuns me,” he said. “For it verifies that the community has no specifics on the proposed development to provide a basis for their vote.”

Munoz continued by bashing the absent development agreement, an item critical for the development and operation of Legoland. In addition, he questions the benefits of the plan saying they are overstated as is using money to avoid “normal city process.”

As for the foundation, which voted to support the measure, Munoz said the group has good intentions because they support the development of a trail system. However, he said he could not support the group’s position “at the expense of realizing the reality of granting 15 years of sole control to a developer with a hand crafted specific plan that is not bound by a development agreement or functional equivalent.”


Guardian of lagoon February 17, 2016 at 10:16 pm

Eric Munoz is beyond reproach. The mayor and city council know this and if pressed will tell you so. So don’t bad mouth a good man. He’s the world’s leading authority on saltwater marshes. He is called to help lagoons all over the planet. he savednHedionda lagoon ten years ago you kooks. You trash talkers aren’t fit to clean his sandals. NO ON A, A BLATENT LAND GRAB!

Casandra February 9, 2016 at 4:54 pm

I was very fortunate to hear Mr. Munoz speak last night at a private party. He is far too intelligent and has too much too say about his love of the ocean, the lagoon, his experience with the City of Carlsbad, and Proposition D for it to be condensed into just one article. Please try to hear Mr. Munoz speak sometime. Very educational.

Donna Bower February 9, 2016 at 2:02 pm

Thank you Mr. Munoz. I know you care deeply about the survival of the lagoon. This measure has been intense for our city.
I appreciate the brave dignity of all. The lagoon is a special place. Where kids can have a huckfinn experience fishing sup, wake boarding. I’m sure that a better plan for reasonable development can be accomplished.

Common sense February 5, 2016 at 11:57 pm

I’m amazed at the fallacies, ambiguities and fear that the ‘no on A’ campaign have put forth. Follow the facts and then make an informed decision. At this point only the uneducated are following the ‘grassroots’ no on A campaign. Make a strong, reasonable and logical argument based on FACTS and then I’ll listen. No hasty generalizations like ‘Recall City Hall’. So all of the outstanding things that the city council has done over the last few years can be undone with one thing you disagree with? And please tell me your alternative candidates are better than those you choose to oust from office or is anyone capable of making this city so special? Please retort with something other than ‘Save Carlsbad’.

Ralph Clats February 3, 2016 at 7:40 pm

No on A!

Caruso has spent big bucks to hoodwink Carlsbad residents. As usual, the City Council is in bed with anybody who will bring more development, more tax revenue and less open space to our fair city.

celia February 3, 2016 at 5:00 pm

I don’t live in Carlsbad so I can’t vote, but it seems like we have enough traffic, shopping, and pollution. Shame on Mayor Matt Hall for a lack of neutrality when he spoke last week at the Carlsbad Republican Women’s Mtg.

Paul February 3, 2016 at 4:02 pm

Mr Munoz and those that read his opinions, need a Fact Checker.

Richard February 3, 2016 at 2:56 pm

Caruso, the developer, can well afford all the TV ads that are very deceptive and misleading. The NO on Measure A campaign are grassroots individuals standing up to protect nature and fight traffic gridlock, they don’t have the money to put ads on TV. People who have actually studied the plan have laid out the legal loopholes, the lack of any specificity regarding what the developer will actually do to back up those nice empty promises being made. This is not about protecting the remainder of the lagoon, this is not about protecting a very profitable strawberry farm. This is about a land grab and building a huge mall to attract tens of thousands of upscale shoppers coming from L.A. and other places each and every day, worsening the traffic on I-5 beyond anything you experience today. Unfortunately they’ve already bought the City Council who have laid down for the plan have done everything to thwart public opposition, including telling people not to sign the referendum petition and then scheduling a special election for the vote on an off-day where they are hoping for low turnout. I don’t live in Carlsbad but this is really a regional issue affecting everybody who wants a small piece of paradise protected and might ever drive on I-5 through North County. If you live in Carlsbad or know anybody who does, please urge them to VOTE NO ON MEASURE A on TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 23.

Sloper February 3, 2016 at 12:20 pm

Bravo Mr Munoz. I have already sent my ballot in with a NO on A Vote. I’ve lived in Carlsbad for 20 years. One of the big attractions was the open space around the lagoons. Drive anywhere on the 5 and there is no other town with such unique spaces. This Mall and parking structure will cut off the view of Agua Hedionda Lagoon, making Carlsbad look like LA.

Caruso’s marketing plan is overwhelming. Petitioners at the markets and home improvement stores, save the strawberry fields, 85/15, Nordstroms (come on are we that gullible), Mailers every day, internet and TV commercials, Petitioners knocking on my front door (That really pissed me off), City officials lending their name ((Mayor Hall, Fire, PD, etc —- for identification purposes), the Lagoon Foundation, Jimmy, now I see a commercial that the Mall will reduce Carlsbad Traffic Redlight wait times (Note the Ambulance in the background). What’s next – the mall will save the baby seals, puppies and panda bears.

When someone/group pushes so hard and spends so much for a Mall you know something stinky is going on.

Editor Please an article on “How to recall City ‘Hall’?”

Jan Neff-Sinclair February 3, 2016 at 3:54 am

Between the jumbled language, lack of punctuation, and run on sentences, I honestly cannot tell what the comment above means.

I did catch the phrase “proven developer.” He has proven to be duplicitous and has proven that he will promise anything to anybody to get their vote. And it is often the case that “high-end” and “community oriented” are mutually exclusive. The folks who go to high-end destinations are there to avoid the rest of the community. Most of the community in Carlsbad can’t afford to park at a Caruso property, let alone shop there. A community-oriented plan and project would provide the most use and access for the most people. But there is a reason that the older wealthier citizens have been wined and dined and courted by the out-of-town developer . . . not only would they like somewhere to go during the day that is really nice and excludes the riff-raff that is the rest of Carlsbad, but they vote and they vote in special elections. Most of the population does not . . . thus the rush to election.

I am glad that Mr. Munoz has the guts to stand up to the machine of the city bureaucracy. So much of this election reminds me of the high-jink in electioneering in my home town of Chicago . . . where every other governor ends up in prison. Vote No on A. Save Carlsbad!

Kelly February 3, 2016 at 2:02 am

For almost two decades, Mr. Munoz has actively supported the preservation of the lagoon. He states facts, something that Caruso’s renderings lack greatly.

Caruso’s true colors shine brighter during his business presentations when he glorifies crowds, traffic and the worship of the almighty dollar.

Let’s not forget that those who made Carlsbad great enough to attract Caruso are the same ones who warn us against Measure A.

Jj February 2, 2016 at 10:27 pm

I wonder why the Caruso plan includes public beach access lease termination? Were they worried about eager Nordstrom shoppers swimming across the lagoon to avoid paying to park in the four level parking garage?

Bill Hays February 2, 2016 at 10:19 pm

Actually K. Eltinge, as stated in his letter, Mr. Munoz was Chairman of the Proposition D Citizens committee…what do you want from him in regard to supporting Prop D? Further, with all the Prop D. bashing going on – we are 10 years beyond it passing – nothing has been built there. Carlsbad has been fine – we have the use of the lagoon and funds that the City is supposed to use to enhance the lease space with trails. The Council has just gone off on a tangent…

Guardian February 2, 2016 at 9:23 pm

Eric Munoz is far from from just another voice! Twice president of the Hedionda Lagoon Foundation and so much more. He’s the only man we’ve seen with courage and integrity in a leadership position in a long time! Caruso gets sole rights to the lagoon and you’re all right with that? Shame in the mayor. He swam with a shark and got shredded by Caruso! The city council is done for. Adios one and all…. Vote no on A.

K. Eltinge February 2, 2016 at 4:47 pm

Mr. Munoz has not been a great supporter of Proposition D which was a poor land use plan, designed to have highway commercial which is not community oriented to pan a well thought out land use pan that involves the community. He does not believe that a proven developer who is ready to bring a high-end community oriented centercan build anything the he could back, He is just another voice that can’t say or see anything positive.

Comments are closed.