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Calendar >  Carlsbad City Manager

Carlsbad City Manager

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May 12, 2022

Protecting public safety and the environment were main themes at this week’s City Council meeting. I’ll recap those items plus more below:

  • More new environmental measures being phased in
  • A reminder about new organics recycling (starts July 1)
  • New smoke detector installation program saves lives
  • Using technology to reduce crime
  • Supporting our community through federal grants
  • Updated campaign sign rules in effect
  • Celebrating local businesses
  • Get ready for bike to work day
  • Fun things to do this weekend
  • Next week’s public meetings

Phasing out single use plastic The City Council took the next steps this week to deliver on Carlsbad’s commitment to environmental sustainability by introducing three new ordinances that will be phased in over the next two years (ordinances are what we call city-specific laws):

  • A ban on the use of single-use plastic bottles at city facilities and city-affiliated events
  • A ban on single-use plastic bags at retail stores and food establishments (to mirror the rules already in place for grocery stores)
  • A ban on intentionally releasing helium balloons into the sky

The new ordinances are part of a plan approved by the City Council in December 2021 that spells out how the city will help reduce waste going to the landfill and littering our streets.

  • To make sure businesses have plenty of time to adjust, the bag ban will be enforced starting July 1, 2023, for retail stores and July 1, 2024, for food establishments.
  • The balloon ban will be enforced starting in July 2023.

Why balloons? California already has laws prohibiting the outdoor release of balloons made of electrically conductive materials, such as foil or Mylar, but has not addressed more common latex balloons. Latex balloons – and the strings, ribbons or plastic components that come with them – often end up in the ocean, where birds, sea lions and other animals mistake them for food.

Earlier this year, the City Council approved other measures to support the city’s sustainability goals. Here’s a graphic summarizing all the changes and how they’re being phased in. The reason for the two-year timeline is to allow the public and businesses plenty of time to learn about and get ready for the new rules.

When to recycle food scraps? We have gotten some questions recently about the new state law requiring food scraps and other “organic” material to be recycled.


  • New trash carts are being delivered to get ready for our new trash contractor to take over pick up July 1. This includes a green cart for organics.
  • The organics recycling program in Carlsbad also starts July 1.
  • For now, you can put your yard waste in the green bins like you have been all along, but please hold off on the food scraps until July 1.
  • Republic Services, our new trash contractor, will be sending out more information about how to recycle organic material and how to get a free kitchen bin as we get closer to July.

 Get more information on our website: Reduce, reuse, recycle

Stay safe with free smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm installation. The city is offering two new programs to help keep you safe in case of a fire or carbon monoxide leak.

  • Free smoke alarm installation is available to all residents who need help getting this done.
  • Carbon monoxide alarm installation is available to residents 62 and older.
  • You will need to purchase the devices; our firefighters will come to your home, find the best locations and install them for you.

 Here’s a video from a recent visit we made to a 55+ community in Carlsbad:

Call 442-339-2665 or email firepreventionpublic@carlsbadca.gov to arrange a date and time. 

Learn more about the smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm installation programs and home fire safety by visiting our website. 

Using technology to keep Carlsbad safe. Speaking of safety, the City Council approved two items this week that will help our Police Department do its important work:
The city has been using license plate reader technology for more than 20 years, and we need to update the system from time to time.

  • Given the role this technology has played in solving crimes, recovering stolen cars and more, the City Council also voted to add new locations, providing greater coverage.
  • Cameras are strategically located near freeway entrances and exits, around shopping areas and at city borders. We also have some license plate readers that are mobile.
  • I encourage you to read the staff report, which includes several examples of recent cases that were solved thanks to our ability to track a license plate, including the tragic homicide in Hosp Grove last year.

The other item approved Tuesday is an update of our computer aided dispatch system.

  • This system links officers in the field with our dispatch center, which answers 9-1-1 calls.
  • The new version we are getting works with mobile phones, has mapping capabilities, displays “be on the lookout” notices with photos, and has the capability for citizens to interact with the police department more efficiently. The new system also includes in-car cameras that will automatically turn on when someone is in the back seat, as well as a forward-facing camera that will record traffic stops and other police interactions. This adds an extra layer of officer safety as well as transparency to the community.
  • It also enables officers to communicate more efficiently when they’re in the field and get real-time data to help make critical decisions during an incident.

Both of these items are examples of how tools for law enforcement have changed with the availability of new technology. Along with adding these new tools and resources, the city has established several policies that govern their safe and appropriate use. You can see these on the city’s website.

While we’re on the topic of law enforcement, Sunday is the beginning of National Police Week, which was established in 1962 to honor officers who have lost their lives while protecting others. The City of Carlsbad Police Department has lost two officers in the line of duty. Officer Wesley Fox and Officer William Jack gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving the community of Carlsbad, and we will be forever grateful. You can read more about them and National Police Week on our website.

City awards federal grants to support low-income residents On Tuesday the City Council approved $527,154 in federal grants to help low- and moderate-income residents, with a focus on increasing and preserving affordable housing and reducing homelessness.

  • The grants have a strange name – Community Development Block Grants – but an important purpose.
  • The money comes from the federal Department of Housing & Urban Development each year, and the city can decide how to best use it, within the parameters of the program.
  • A citizens’ committee reviews applications and recommends funding to the City Council.

This year’s recipients include:

  • Casa de Amparo (facility improvements): $40,000
  • Interfaith Community Services (prevent and reduce homelessness): $25,000
  • Legal Aid Society of San Diego (fair housing services): $23,000
  • Community Resource Center (prevent and reduce homelessness): $20,000
  • Catholic Charities (prevent and reduce homelessness): $14,000
  • Brother Benno (prevent and reduce homelessness): $10,073
  • WRC, formerly known as the Women’s Resource Center (Prevent and reduce homelessness): $10,000

In addition to the seven organizations, the City Council directed $302,651 to the Carlsbad Affordable Housing Fund, which was established by the city to develop affordable housing for lower income households and purchase affordable housing units that can be made available at a cost affordable for lower income families.
You can learn more about this program in the May 10 City Council staff report.

New rules for campaign signs Election season is here, the first since new rules were approved for where campaign signs can be displayed in Carlsbad.

  • Temporary political and other non-commercial signs are not allowed on public property or on streets in the public right-of-way (like along sidewalks and street medians).
  • Signs are allowed on private property with the permission of the property owner.
  • The maximum allowable size of signs during campaign periods (30 days prior and five days following an election) are 10 square feet total signage per property.
  • Signs may be no more than 3.5 feet in height above ground if located in a front yard and no more than 6 feet above ground if located elsewhere.
  • Signs are allowed in traditional public forum areas (e.g., a person holding a sign in a public park) as long as a person is holding the sign or within 5 feet of the sign.

Why the change?

  • The city has in the past allowed political signs to be placed in the public right-of-way (like along sidewalks and street medians) on major streets in commercial and industrial areas during campaign season, with certain restrictions.
  • Enforcing the rules has become increasingly time consuming and expensive, with staff working overtime to remove signs from places they are not allowed and field complaints about sign theft and vandalism among competing campaigns.
  • Signs were also causing safety concerns, such as people running across a busy street to put up a sign and signs blocking views for drivers.
  • Candidates have access to many more ways to promote themselves these days, such as social media, making signs less important than they used to be.
This move puts Carlsbad in alignment with 14 other cities in San Diego County, with only Oceanside, Santee and Vista still allowing these kinds of signs on public property.
More information
Campaign sign fact sheet
Election information

Celebrating local businesses It’s Economic Development Week, which makes it a great time to reflect on the local businesses that help give Carlsbad its special charm and are a big part of what makes our city an amazing place to live, work and play.

I’m proud to report that the city’s economic development staff have worked with more than 85 companies on expansion, talent attraction and retention projects over the past two years, supporting more than 11,400 jobs and $1.4 billion in economic activity.

  • Economic development continues to be a priority for the city because it supports our high quality of life for Carlsbad residents, workers and businesses by contributing to a vibrant and resilient economy.
  • The city’s economic development efforts help establish partnerships with multiple organizations and support the next generation of new businesses and entrepreneurs.

 If you’re looking to improve your economic prospects by making a career move, visit the Carlsbad Life in Action website to explore job openings and submit your resume so that city staff can help connect you with Carlsbad companies and recruiters. 

Celebrate Bike to Work Day Bike to Work Day, a regional celebration to encourage commuters to get out of their car to bike to work, is back this year and will take place Thursday, May 19.

There are several pit stops throughout Carlsbad, including one hosted by Carlsbad Commuter, the city’s program to help people find alternative ways to get to and from work. That will be at the corner of Faraday Avenue and College Boulevard and feature music, breakfast burritos, resources and games. 
Before you hit the road, please register online so the region can track participation (and you just might get a free t-shirt).

Working from home? No worries, you can still bike to the nearest pit stop to take in the festivities.
Visit the Carlsbad Commuter website to learn more.
More information carlsbadcommuter.comSANDAG Bike to Work Day

Events this weekendThe City of Carlsbad is bringing back the past at the Hot Rods & Cool Treats carnival and classic car show, one of our newer community events geared at bringing multiple generations together. Hot Rods & Cool TreatsSaturday, May 1411 a.m. to 2 p.m.Pine Avenue Community Park3333 Harding St. 

  • Enjoy vintage carnival games for the young and the young at heart, like can-knock-down, ring toss, frog hopper and more
  • Build your own sundae at the ice cream bar
  • Vote on your favorite classic car
  • Enjoy live performances covering the oldies, face-painting, crafts, and a fun zone
  • Senior Center will be open with program demonstrations

The event is free, and carnival game tickets and food will be available for purchase, including hot dogs and root beer floats. Awards will be given out in seven categories:

  • Best of show
  • Best interior
  • Best paint
  • Best wooden car/wagon
  • Most original car
  • Kids’ choice
  • Spectator’s choice

If you’re up for even more fun on Saturday, enjoy world music with a fiery soul at the Front Row Saturday performance featuring Jimmy & Enrique.

Front Row Saturday: Jimmy & Enrique

Saturday, May 147:30 p.m. Schulman Auditorium at Dove Library Free admission

Upcoming public meetings The next City Council meeting is Tuesday, May 17, starting at 5 p.m. in the City Council chamber. Topics scheduled to be discussed include:

  • A workers’ compensation settlement for a city employee 
  • The permit that allows the city to enter state property to maintain the upper picnic facilities at Tamarack State Beach and the coastal bluff at Tamarack/Frazee State Beach
  • Granting the City Manager the authority to sign agreements protecting private property owners from damage claims for the use of their properties by the city 
  • Adopting an ordinance to reduce the use of single-use plastic bottles and bags and prohibit the intentional release of balloons in Carlsbad
  • The annual work plan and report from the city Planning Commission 
  • An economic and financial update on the third quarter of fiscal year 2021-22 
  • The results of the city’s recent employee engagement survey 
  • Appointing a Historic Preservation Commission member to serve as an alternate member on the Growth Management Plan Update Advisory Committee

A link to the full agenda and staff reports is available on the city’s website. You can watch the meeting live on the city’s website or cable TV channel. 

Also next week, we have one commission meeting scheduled: May 16, 5:30 p.m. – Parks & Recreation Commission

We have several vacancies on city boards and commissions at the moment. Please take a look and consider applying. It’s a great way to stay connected to your community and help influence important programs and initiatives.

Finally, you may have seen stories about a small fire that started in Laguna Niguel yesterday afternoon and quickly spread to over 200 acres, destroying an estimated 20 homes. Smelling the smoke in the air brings many of us back to 2014, when something very similar happened in Carlsbad.

This Saturday marks the eight-year anniversary of the Poinsettia Fire, another fire that broke out unexpectedly (fire season typically starts in the fall) and spread very quickly.

The main takeaway from fire officials is that here in California, there really is no “fire season” anymore, at least as long as we are experiencing drought conditions.

  • I want to assure you that the Carlsbad Fire Department is one of the finest in the state.
  • Our City Council has made significant investments in personnel and equipment to keep our city safe.
  • To truly be prepared, we need residents to do their part too.

Please take a few minutes to review some easy steps you can take to make sure you and your family are prepared for the next wildfire.

Bonus points if you could also share that site with your friends and ask them to get prepared too!
I’ll be back next week with more city news. Have a wonderful weekend.

Scott Chadwick, Carlsbad City Manager

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