CARLSBAD — Two residents lambasted members of the Carlsbad City Council for not protecting, or at least acknowledging, three constituents’ First Amendment rights during a July 13 meeting.
Katie Taylor and Larry Posner both questioned the council’s lack of action, defense and acknowledgment of legal action taken by former Councilwoman Cori Schumacher.
Schumacher filed a restraining order against Posner, Anthony Bona and Noel Breen last year but a judge ruled against her in March on the basis that she had violated their First Amendment rights.
The judge granted Bona and Breen’s anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) motion and ordered Schumacher to pay nearly $50,000 in legal fees for the three men.
“I must say the council failed miserably, and I mean miserably,” Posner said. “We had a meltdown here. When citizens are harassed and falsely accused in a police report … what does the council do, nothing. You people failed to do your jobs and protect the citizens and their First Amendment rights.”
Taylor, who was part of the recall effort against Schumacher, said residents will not tolerate another toxic city council member and warned against any efforts to silence constituents.
“Cori is the face of destructive politics,” Taylor said. “We the people will not tolerate ever again the actions taken by Cori to besmirch, attack, make false accusations in court against Carlsbad community members.”
She also demanded an apology from the council for remaining silent throughout, and after, the litigation. Taylor said the quality of Posner, Bona and Breen’s lives will never be the same as the “lies” continue to flourish on social media and in person.
She also called out the council for their inaction yet spending nearly eight hours for implicit bias and microaggression training.
During a recent meeting discussing an ethics ordinance, Deputy City Attorney Cindie McMahon said the city cannot discuss the case due to ongoing litigation, although she did not offer further details. Mayor Matt Hall had touched on the subject during the item, which focused on the council’s behavior and actions in public.
Two of Schumacher’s biggest supporters — Jan Neff Sinclair and Christine Wright — also spoke saying Schumacher left a lasting legacy. Sinclair said Schumacher raised the bar, brought transparency to the council and moved the council into the 21st Century.
Those aspects of transparency included a regular newsletter, town halls and office hours, Sinclair said. She added Schumacher dove in headfirst, saying her resignation is a “great loss” for the city.
Wright, meanwhile, said her newsletter helped explain the complexity of the issues while noting Schumacher spearheaded the city’s lifeguard program and homeless outreach program.
“I believe she would have made for a great mayor,” Wright said.