May 19, 2020

Carlsbad to wait until general election to seat 5th member

By Steve Puterski


CARLSBAD — There will be no special election this time.

The Carlsbad City Council has decided to wait for the general election in November to fill the vacant city council seat. The vacant seat is an at-large position formerly held by Councilwoman Cori Schumacher, who was elected to the council in 2016.

Following the resignation of former Councilwoman Barbara Hamilton, Schumacher later won Hamilton’s District 1 seat during a special election in March 2019, leaving an at-large vacant seat on the council.

Hamilton was elected as District 1 representative in November 2018 before leaving in October 2019.


“As a practical matter, the special election option is really not available in this instance because the next regularly scheduled election date is not until Nov. 3, 2020,” Sheila Cobian, city clerk services, said. “With that election, there will no longer be any at-large seats because the city will have completed its transition to district rather than at-large elections.”

The City Council has 60 days after a vacancy in an elected office to either appoint a successor or call a special election to fill the vacancy. The special election must be held on the next regularly scheduled election date not less than 114 days after the election is called.

Mayor Matt Hall, who was the lone no vote, said he believes calling on experienced former city councilmembers offers viable options for an appointment over the next six months. He said with the city’s budget beginning to take shape, and other pressing issues, the seat should be filled as soon as possible.

Hall said former councilmembers Michael Schumacher, Eric Larson, Julie Nygard and Mark Packard could seamlessly fill the position on a part-time basis, and have experience. As for District 4, the mayor said it is important to make sure both candidates — Teresa Acosta and Phil Urbina — each have a fair chance.


Councilwoman Priya Bhat-Patel countered, saying the residents of District 4 should make the decision.

“I would respectfully disagree,” she said. “An individual, regardless of whether they served two or four years ago, the issues we have now will take them time to get up to speed. We haven’t had too many deadlocked votes. I don’t want folks to see us as a divided council. We are a united council.”

After Hamilton’s resignation, residents and the council engaged in a weeks-long debate on whether to appoint a replacement or call for a special election. In the end, residents gathered enough signatures to call for the special election.

Schumacher and Councilman Keith Blackburn were both elected in 2016 as at-large candidates. It was the last at-large election in the city, as Carlsbad moved to district elections in 2018, where Hamilton, Mayor Matt Hall and Councilwoman Priya Bhat-Patel (District 3) all won.

This year districts 2 and 4 will be decided on Nov. 3. Blackburn, who is running for a fourth term is challenged by Lela Panagides in District 2. Teresa Acosta and Phil Urbina are contending for District 4. The council vacancy will be filled by the winner of the District 4 race.

June 20, 2019

Acosta joins District 4 City Council race

By Steve Puterski

CARLSBAD — A new candidate has emerged in the race for the District 4 seat on the Carlsbad City Council.

Maria Teresa Acosta, 40, announced her candidacy last week and joins Phil Urbina in the race for the new seat. So far, Acosta, who goes by Teresa, and Urbina are the only two candidates to announce their intentions for District 4; although the election is in November 2020 so more may come forward.

Councilman Keith Blackburn has also announced his re-election bid for District 2.

Acosta is an eight-year resident who said she wants to maintain the quality of life. She said issues specific to District 4 she is focused on are infrastructure, public safety, small business and the environment. These same issues are what Acosta said she will focus on citywide.

In addition, she said the La Costa area feels disconnected from the city and she wants to re-engage those residents with the rest of the city.

“I am confident I will be an excellent representative for District 4 and the city as a whole,” Acosta said. “Not only do I have the leadership skills and experience needed to be a highly effective council member, but I am in this for the right reason: to contribute in a positive way to the community I love.”

She also owns a business consulting firm, Acosta + Partners, which develops public-private partnerships across the state.

Acosta earned her bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of Southern California and has a master’s in business administration from Pepperdine University. Previously to her consulting work, Acosta worked at a software firm, the California League of Cities and the state senate.

She was a regional public affairs manager for the League of Cities and for seven years was a field representative and intern director for former state senator Jack Scott.

Acosta is also an active member in the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, chairing the Technology Advisory and co-chair of the Government Affairs committees. She is also a graduate of the Carlsbad Leadership Academy, HOPE Leadership Institute, Center for Creative Leadership Latina Leaders Program and San Diego County Water Authority Academy.

Acosta has also picked up endorsements from State Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath and Carlsbad Councilwoman Cori Schumacher.

District 2 and 4 are new seats as the city moved to district elections last year. Only the mayor is a citywide race.

Currently, Blackburn and Schumacher serve as at-large candidates. Blackburn lives in District 2, while Schumacher lives in District 1. The district map was created two years ago and establishes the boundaries for each of the four districts.

June 14, 2019

Teresa Acosta joins race for Carlsbad City Council District 4

Phil Urbina also campaigning for the seat in 2020


Carlsbad business owner Teresa Acosta announced June 12 that she is running for a seat on the City Council next year, the second non-incumbent in the race for District 4.

Acosta joins Phil Urbina, who launched his campaign April 28. The 2020 election will be the second for Carlsbad under a new district-based system of representation.

“I am passionate about living in Carlsbad and am running to put my experience, skills, and energies to work on the council to maintain our top-notch quality of life,” Acosta said in her announcement. “I will focus on key infrastructure issues, safe neighborhoods, environmental stewardship, and supporting our local small businesses.”


Acosta is president of business consulting firm Acosta + Partners. She is also listed as a strategic partner with Madaffer Enterprises, according to its website. The government affairs consulting firm is run by Jim Madaffer, current chairman of the San Diego County Water Authority and former publisher of the Seaside Courier as part of Mission Publishing Group. Acosta has also taught business communication courses at MiraCosta College.


Acosta has been active in Carlsbad community affairs. In her announcement, she cited several examples, from involvement on Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce committees, including winning Committee Member of the Year awards in 2017 and 2018, and serving on the board of directors for the nonprofit MAAC Project, to serving on The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Community Advisory Board and being a member of the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation. Acosta is also a graduate of such programs as the Center for Creative Leadership Latina Leaders Program, Carlsbad Citizens Academy and San Diego County Water Authority Academy.