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Voters in Carlsbad will see a lengthy ballot in November

Carlsbad voters will choose a new mayor, city clerk, treasurer, two city council members and decide the future of the aging Monroe Street pool in November’s election.

Choices are limited for some of the elected positions. The lone candidate for city clerk, Sherry Freisinger, is unopposed, although her name will appear on the ballot. The deadline for candidates to qualify for the election was Friday.

The deadline to submit a nomination for another office, that of mayor, was extended until 5 p.m. Wednesday, as incumbent mayor Matt Hall did not seek re-election.

So far, only two people are campaigning to be Carlsbad’s next mayor. Council member Keith Blackburn, a retired police officer first elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2020, is running against Michael Curtin, a retired tech executive and first-time candidate.

Hall has said for several years that he would retire at the end of 2022. He was elected to three four-year terms as mayor, preceded by four terms as a member of council, for a total of 28 years as Carlsbad’s elected official. He was also appointed to the city’s planning commission for 10 years prior.

The City Clerk position has been vacant since Barbara Engleson retired in August 2021 to leave Carlsbad with her husband. She had held the position for eight years. The city council decided not to appoint anyone or hold a special election to fill the vacancy, and the office’s full-time employees temporarily took on the duties of city clerk.

Voters rejected a measure the council placed in the June primary ballot that would have moved the town clerk to a full-time appointed position.

Current city treasurer Craig Lindholm has sought re-election. He was appointed to this position in 2013, then elected in 2014 and 2018. He was unopposed both times. This time he will face his first opponent, Lance Schulte.

Two of the city’s four city council districts will be on the ballot, and District 1 has garnered the most interest.

The City Council appointed longtime Carlsbad resident, businessman and consultant Peder Norby to District 1 headquarters a year ago, shortly after former council member Cori Schumacher resigned. Schumacher was facing a possible recall when she left to attend the University of California, Berkley. Norby’s nomination included the condition that he not seek re-election in 2022.

The candidates for the open seat are Anthony Bona, Melanie Burkholder, Cory Geigert, Allen Manzano, DeeDee Trejo-Rowlett and Samuel Ward, according to the city’s website.

Bona is a frequent council critic who posts short videos about city politics on his “Regular Guy in Carlsbad” YouTube channel. Burkholder is a licensed counselor and businesswoman. She briefly ran for Carlsbad City Council in 2016 before stepping down, and in 2020 was defeated by Tasha Boerner Horvath for the 76th District State Assembly seat. Manzano is a retired United States Navy commander. Trejo-Rowlett runs the family business Lola’s Market in Carlsbad. Ward is a lawyer and political adviser.

District 3 has two candidates. Incumbent Priya Bhat-Patel, first elected in 2018, is seeking re-election. His only challenger is Ray Pearson, a trustee for the Carlsbad Unified School District board.

Only residents living in a district can be candidates in that district or vote for candidates in that district. Carlsbad transitioned from the general council elections to the district electoral system beginning with the 2018 elections. The mayor, city treasurer, and city clerk continue to be elected by all voters in the city.

All Carlsbad elected positions are considered part-time jobs. The annual base salary is $27,451.32 for the mayor, $26,251.32 for council members, and $12,840 each for the city clerk and city treasurer. They also receive retirement options, health insurance, car allowance and other benefits.

Also on the ballot for all Carlsbad voters in November is a measure that, if approved, would allow up to $24 million of existing city funds to be spent to renovate and expand the Monroe Street Pool.

The council put the measure on the ballot because of the requirement for voters to approve certain construction projects that cost more than $1 million paid from the city’s general fund.

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