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Carlsbad Officials May Ask Voters to OK More Flexible Charter City Status

With its new budget in hand, Carlsbad seemed to be on track to begin the new fiscal year with a brand-new entertainment sports venue for residents and visitors alike, a spanking new municipal golf course, the Crossings at Carlsbad.

With opening day approaching, only bad weather or some unplanned event could postpone the christening of the project.

But that is just what happened on July 2.

In the early morning fog, a private plane leaving McClellan-Palomar Airport crashed onto the fairway and green of the third hole. Because of this, it looks like a postponement of the weeklong opening ceremonies is likely.

On the heels of the opening ceremonies, two charity golf tournaments were scheduled.

The first one put on by the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, and the other by the High-Noon Rotary Club.

Officials from both groups are waiting for the city’s assessment of the damage.

Carlsbad is also analyzing whether or not it should ask the voters to approve the city moving from a general law city to a charter city.

Cities that become charter cities generally do so to save money and have more control over municipal affairs.

There are several things city officials can look forward to if the measure is brought before the voters.

General law cities are bound by state law when it comes to election timetables.

They must pay state-determined prevailing wages on municipal construction projects.

Charter cities generally have more flexibility when it comes to creating joint powers authority. In this case, that would have a major impact on the agreements with Poseidon Resources and the construction of the city’s desalination project.

Many cities are considering proceeding with the change from general law to charter.

Vista is going through that at the present time and officials claim that the city could save millions by writing its own charter and exempting itself from the state’s wage requirements for its municipal construction projects.

The rules of engagement and interpretation are being explored by several cities in North County.

The bottom line is that a charter city is not totally exempt from state laws, but a charter city has much more flexibility.

In other North County news:

– & #8201;A fixture in the newspaper world in North County is stepping down at the end of September. Dick High has been the publisher of the North County Times for more than 12 years. He will be replaced by Peter York, the publisher of The Daily News in Longview, Wash. Dick is a friend, client and mentor of mine. He will be missed for a number of reasons, including his vision, candor and leadership.

– & #8201;June 23 saw the curtain rise on the new theater operated by New Village Arts Theatre in downtown Carlsbad. The theater has won recognition throughout its tenure and was awarded the Outstanding Ensemble Award from the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle. Now with a home on the corner of State and Grand streets, it kicks off the birth of live theater in the village.

– & #8201;The city of Vista is beginning talks with a developer to build it first business-class hotel. ABA Development LLC is looking at a 3.4-acre site near the intersection of Melrose Drive and Faraday Avenue for a 151-room hotel. City officials have longed for a hotel to serve the businesses in the Vista Business Park, home to more than 650 businesses.

– & #8201;K2 Inc., one of North County’s largest concerns, was sold April 25 to the Jarden Corp. What happens to the mastermind of the company? Well do not fear for Dick Heckmann, the affable founder and chief executive officer, for he is headed for an even bigger gig. He is to become the CEO of the Heckmann Corp. of Palm Springs. The firm, a special-purpose acquisition company, plans a $500 million public offering very soon. Better known as a blank check company, the firm with a cast of VIP directors sells stock to the public to finance a merger or acquisition that the executives have not yet identified. The VIPs joining Dick include former U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle. Lou Holtz, better known for building football teams like the University of Notre Dame than companies, joins Dick’s team as well.

– & #8201;Temecula Valley Bancorp Inc., the parent company of Temecula Valley Bank, has been selected to the June ABA Banking Journal’s list of top-performing community banks and savings institutions for the fourth time. The company was ranked 27th among banks and thrifts with assets between $100 million and $3 billion.

– & #8201;Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas is a true community player. Its 2007 Community Benefit Plan indicated that it devoted $28.4 million to community programs and services.


Ted Owen is president and CEO of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce.

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