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Calendar >  Carlsbad City Manager

Carlsbad City Manager

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News from the City of Carlsbad | Dec. 21, 2023

We’ll be marking the winter solstice this evening with more rain, although things are expected to clear up in time for the weekend and Christmas Day on Monday. Today I’ll go over some last-minute tips for a safe and sustainable holiday, plus the backstory of Ho Ho Highland.

  • Storm watch safety tips (and two new weather sources to follow)
  • Drive sober or get pulled over
  • 5 things to do today to keep our oceans clean tomorrow
  • Beware of the winter fatberg
  • Winter species spotlight: Ridgway’s Rail
  • Help shape public art for the Chestnut underpass
  • Reduce food waste and help the environment
  • Holiday city service schedule (including tree recycling)
  • Neighborhood connection, one inflatable Santa at a time

Less light, more rain on the shortest day of the year

Carlsbadians are notoriously skeptical of weather forecasts, especially those predicting heavy storms. It makes sense, given how lucky Carlsbad tends to be, often missing the worst of heavy downpours and extreme winds. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still take reasonable steps to keep our homes and families safe when rain is coming.

The latest forecast from the National Weather Service calls for a slow-moving storm tonight, followed by sweater weather over the weekend into next week. (Please note, I am using the Carlsbad definition of “sweater weather,” which is anything below 68 degrees.)

By the way, are you wondering about the latest predictions for El Niño? Here’s a link to a weather blog produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It explains in plain language why it’s so hard to predict how warmer than normal ocean surface temperatures affect the chances of rain. And here’s a link to yesterday’s National Weather Service briefing on the San Diego forecast. Be warned, both contain way more detail than you ever thought possible.

Extra caution to #Care4Carlsbad

Wet roads combined with increased holiday traffic calls for a little extra caution on our roads and planning ahead.

  • Stay alert for holiday shoppers who may be distracted, visitors from out of town unfamiliar with their surroundings and kids on winter break. Some local school districts started winter break this week and all will be off next week. (Did you know four school districts have schools in Carlsbad?)
  • Slow down and avoid slamming your brakes since wet roads make it more likely to slip and slide as you come to a stop.
  • Turn around, don’t drown. Never drive through standing water. As this video explains, even a shallow puddle can be dangerous, and it’s just not worth taking a chance.

By the way, even though our proclamation of local emergency for traffic safety has ended, we continue to promote traffic safety, including through our local schools. If you’re a parent of a school-aged kid, be on the lookout for more safety tips from your school principals this week.

Drive sober or get pulled over

Through New Year’s Day, the City of Carlsbad Police Department will have additional officers assigned to patrolling city streets looking for drivers suspected of being under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

  • If you’re not staying in for the night, make sure you have a game plan to get home safely.
  • Consider not taking your car at all. Get a ride to your destination so you’re not even tempted to drive home if you’re not sober.
  • Keep in mind, impaired driving is not just from alcohol. Marijuana, prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs may also impair your judgment and reactions.

The high-visibility enforcement effort is part of a national campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, with the goal of stopping suspected impaired drivers who put others on the road at risk. Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. LEARN MORE

5 ways to keep Carlsbad’s oceans clean during a rainstorm

Excess water from irrigation or rain carries chemicals and other pollutants directly from our yards into the storm drain system and into our ocean, lagoons and creeks. Help prevent pollution from entering our waterways by:

  1. Picking up trash so it doesn’t end up in the storm drain system (80% of the trash and litter found in our oceans travels there from inland places).
  2. Picking up pet waste before it rains so it doesn’t get carried into the gutter and eventually the ocean.
  3. Not applying fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides before rain and consider using non-toxic or natural products for pest or weed control.
  4. Turning off your sprinklers before rain so the ground can more easily absorb water from the storm, rather than running off into the streets and gutters.
  5. Calling the Storm Water Hotline to report pollution at 442-339-2799.

In addition to stormwater runoff, our lagoons and ocean are vulnerable to sewage runoff when pipes break or get clogged and overflow. Our Utilities crews asked me to remind you about a couple of very important steps you can take to reduce the chances of this happening:

  • Never put fats, oils or grease down your drain. They harden into something called “fatbergs” and eventually can block pipes altogether. (I will let you Google fatberg if you want to see what I am talking about.)
  • Scrape small amounts of oil and grease into the trash, not into your organics recycling bin.
  • Use your garbage disposal sparingly. Fun fact: these are meant to take care of food scraps that accidentally go down the drain. You aren’t supposed to put food down there intentionally.
  • Do not rely on grease-cutting detergents to wash away grease.
  • Wipe cooking pan residue with a paper towel and throw it in the trash.

One final reminder, “flushable” wipes are not really flushable. They get caught in screens and pipes and can lead to costly plumbing repairs.

Winter species spotlight: Ridgway’s Rail

One of the many reasons we want to protect our local waterways is that they provide important habitat for wildlife.

  • If you take a stroll along the Batiquitos Lagoon Trail around sunrise or sunset this winter, you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a Ridgway’s Rail.
  • These gray-and-rust-colored birds live mostly hidden in dense vegetation in marshes, where they use their long bills to probe the mud for prey.
  • Low tide offers the best opportunity to see a Ridgway’s Rail, but you may hear one even if you don’t spot one.
  • Their distinctive calls are loud, with quick and repetitive clacking noises. You can sometimes hear them from a quarter mile away. 
Photo credit: Brennan Mulrooney

The Ridgway’s Rail is listed as a federally endangered species because their estuary habitat is threatened by rising sea levels, sediment buildup and invasive predators like rats.

Carlsbad is the only city in North County with an approved Habitat Management Plan, which helps protect rare and endangered plant and animal species, such as the Ridgway’s Rail. The plan is just one of the ways we work to protect the environment, a priority outlined in the City Council’s 5-Year Strategic Plan

Help shape Chestnut underpass public art

The city’s Cultural Arts Office is kicking off the planning process for new public art that will be located at the Chestnut Avenue I-5 underpass. The undercrossing serves as one of the main entrances to the Barrio and links the neighborhoods around Holiday Park on the east side of the freeway and the city’s Barrio community.

  • This will be the first permanent public art included at a freeway underpass in the City of Carlsbad.
  • The first step is to select the artist.
  • A public art advisory subcommittee formed by the Cultural Arts Office will make that decision at a meeting planned for the first week of January:

Public art advisory subcommittee meeting

Topic: Choosing the artist for the Chestnut underpass public art project

Thursday, Jan. 4, 6 p.m. -Council Chamber, 1200 Carlsbad Village Drive

You are welcome to come to the meeting and provide input, either in person or beforehand via email. All the details will be in the agenda, which I’ll share when it comes out. You can also sign up to be notified about public art projects in the Barrio via email.

Meal prep tips to reduce organic waste

We are now a year and a half into organics recycling here in Carlsbad, part of new statewide regulations to reduce food waste going to landfills. Because holiday celebrations go hand in hand with holiday feasts, here are a few things you can do to reduce waste:

  • Make a grocery list and reconfirm your guest list before shopping.
  • Coordinate dishes with guests to minimize waste.
  • Save scraps like vegetable peelings and meat trimmings for savory broths, hearty soups or future recipes.
  • Send leftovers home with guests or freeze them for future use.
  • Compost any remaining food scraps in your green cart. This video will help you determine what goes in which color bin.

Holiday city service schedule

Here’s our holiday city service schedule. City offices will be open next week, just closing on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Trash pickup will be delayed by one day between Dec. 25 and Jan. 6.

Please note that, in addition to holiday closures, the Pine Avenue Community Center will be closed Dec. 26 and 27 so the floors can be stripped, rewaxed and deep cleaned.

Here’s a map of some of the major construction planned for next week where there could be traffic delays.

Tree recycling

Last year, we turned 53 tons – that’s right, tons – of Christmas trees into compost and mulch through our tree-recycling program. We use the compost and mulch for landscaping at city parks and provide it to Carlsbad residents for pickup at the Palomar Transfer Station.

This year, our trash contractor, Republic Services, will pick up trees on trash day starting Dec. 26 through Jan. 14. Be sure to follow the directions for preparing your tree to ensure it gets picked up. We’ll also have several drop off locations available. LEARN MORE

Neighbors connect, plan something special for the community

It started small after Thanksgiving, just a few giant inflatable Santas along Highland Drive in north Carlsbad. Was it a coincidence? But then there were a few more, and a few more after that.

Today, if you drive down Highland, you’ll see nearly 60 friendly Santas waving you by.

Here’s the backstory. About a week before Thanksgiving, a resident on Highland Drive came across a story about a street in Toronto lined with giant inflatable Santas. It all started in 2013, when someone decided to buy an “obnoxiously” oversized inflatable Santa, thinking it was so over the top it would be funny. But then others followed suit. Now, this part of Toronto has come to be known as Kringlewood.

Our local resident and her daughter thought it would be fun to get neighbors on their own street together to do the same. They created flyers explaining the idea with instructions on where to buy the giant inflatables, and then distributed them along their street.

Well, let’s just say the idea blew up! 

Now, neighbors who had never spoken before are pals, drivers are passing by with a smile and a wave, and the Santas have become the talk of the town.

I should note this is not the only street where neighbors have come together to coordinate holiday decorations, just one of the more high profile because of its location.

Fostering a small town feel where people feel connected to one another is one of the core values in the Carlsbad Community Vision and something that truly makes Carlsbad special.

That’s it for today. I’ll be back next week with my final update of the year. Until then, I wish you all the best as we wrap up another wonderful year in this great city.

Scott Chadwick, City Manager

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City of Carlsbad | 1200 Carlsbad Village DriveCarlsbad, CA 92008 www.carlsbadca.gov


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