Something Sorta Stinks in Carlsbad

Agua Hedionda Lagoon is poised to become the backdrop for yet another nauseating acquisitive gluttony of commerce in an outdated mode of brick and mortar.

This is NOT what Carlsbad wants OR needs.

I stand in firm opposition to Caruso Affiliated 85/15 plan to build a Nordstrom-anchored monstrosity of a shopping center on the lagoon at the strawberry fields, in complete and utter disdain for its ecological and environmental importance to the sensitive ecosystem.

boatonbeachIn SoCal, we live very close to a lagoon called Agua Hedionda, (not the uber-romantic tropical blue lagoon in Kauai where my husband and I spent a magical pre-honeymoon in 1993) but this little lagoon of ours was named by the first Spanish explorers. The odor they reported might have come from a nearby Indian village, a sulphur spring, or possibly from decayed matter on the shores of the lagoon.

If you’ve ever been stuck in the muck, which is like quicksand in some spots, or if you’ve tried to wash the dried mud off a dog, you’d know it has a distinctively pungent odor.

Stinking waters for sure.

Still, it’s important historically for the Kumeyaay Native Americans AND the environment, and many of us are disturbed and concerned about the rumblings of development and a shopping center.

The developers seem to be trying to circumvent the standard process and place the development directly to the voters through the initiative process.

Hmm…something else smells in Carlsbad, don’t you agree?

Did you know that in November 2000, Agua Hedionda was designated as a critical habitat for the tidewater goby?

The San Diego Reader published a compelling article about this potential development:

From the article: Some say the initiative tactic used by big developers is a ploy to sway a generally uninformed electorate; or, in some cases, hoodwink them with slick or misleading campaigns. Additionally, councilmembers usually get a little nervous when angry mobs of voters show up at public hearings, usually opposed to large-scale development projects. Thus, councilmembers are more likely to follow public sentiment and vote against a project.

But Carlsbad residents should have seen this coming ten years ago, when voters passed another initiative, Proposition D. The measure set aside as permanent open space 300 acres along Cannon Road, which included some of the strawberry fields and the hills above the lagoon. Some Carlsbad activists say voters were duped, thinking open space was a good thing, but not realizing the rest of land could then be rezoned as commercial.

Learn about Prop D:

Just because some of Carlsbad voters may have been mislead by the 2006 Prop D’s real motives is no reason to give up and allow this shopping center on the lagoon under the power lines.

And come ON, do we really need MORE traffic congestion?


While I dug around for more information, I discovered an interesting read from 1976, California Department of Fish and Game U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s coastal wetlands report, The Natural Resources of Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

I discovered some interesting data about how important is was — and IS —  to protect the lagoon’s rich environment and heritage; to preserve and enhance its natural resources.

Read it here: hedionda1976

Excerpts from the study:

Long-range resource management in the southern California lagoons and estuaries must be based on an understanding of the interactions of ecological factors involved, including human use.

The greatest threat to the present status of Agua Hedionda Lagoon and its environs is the continuing pressure for development of the lagoon and its watershed. The demand is for three principal types of development: 1) recreational 2) residential 3) industrial.

The City has prepared a very good and quite complete environmental impact report (EIR) that defines land uses in light of the environmental information available on not only the natural resources of the lagoon, but also on water and air quality, agriculture, aquaculture, archeological sites, energy conservation measures, as well as noise, traffic, visual resources, utilities, community services and recreation facilities. The EIR on the specific plan also speaks well to the relationship between local, short-term uses of the resources as opposed to preservation, maintenance and enhancement of the long-term productivity of the environment of the lagoon area. The specific plan EIR also enumerates the environmental effects which cannot be avoided if the project is implemented. These include: 1) a decrease in the amount of open space, 2) alteration of natural land forms, 3) removal of a small portion of the remaining natural vegetation, 4) displacement of some of the resident animal populations and partial destruction of their habitat, 5) an increase in erosion potential through vegetation cover removal, an increase in demand for recreational facilities, etc., 6) some problems in water quality maintenance and 7) increased human encroachment on sensitive natural and scenic areas. The EIR reflects the City of Carlsbad planning department’s awareness of and concern for the area’s natural resources. For the EIR also contains many sound mitigation measures for the impacts on the environment identified in the report. The EIR went into the review process in June 1976, and will be reviewed by several appropriate agencies, including the Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Which brings us to right back to that odor, the stench of back door politics at work.

A couple of groups have emerged to help organize those of us who not only do NOT want our city to be further sullied by unnecessary development that’s killed most of what made Carlsbad unique, but is troubled by Caruso’s attempts to bypass the city’s usual planning and public hearing process and circumvent city municipal codes.

rosecarlsbad copyWhat can we do?

  2. Send the Carlsbad City Council a PINK ROSE and urge them to let the people vote on the Caruso Affiliated Agua Hedionda 85/15 Plan. (1200 Carlsbad Village Dr. Carlsbad, CA 92008) (I brought a rose with a note attached to the council offices but the receptionist didn’t really didn’t want her picture taken as she accepted it.)
  3. Join Carlsbad Locals Against The Agua Hedionda 85/15 Plan
  4. Join Citizens For North County
  5. Attend protests, meetings.
  6. Vote/recall these politicians out of office!

22 thoughts on “Something Sorta Stinks in Carlsbad

  1. Maybe you could also let Nordstorms know that you and others are opposed to building here. The developer might not care about due process, city ordinances or local residents but they usually pay attention to financial backers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is unfortunate that you quote the San Diego Reader article as one of your primary sources when they have one very big fact absolutely wrong. It is not true that the land where the retail center will be built “could then be rezoned as commercial”. The 48 acres along the freeway has been zoned for commercial development since the early-80’s. It was not included in Prop D so no one was “duped”. If you think I am wrong, I suggest you contact Gary Barberio at the City who made this commercial zoning clear to both the City Council and the Planning Commission.


      • Just wondering why Arnie keeps popping up. Is it possible that he has vested interest? Why is he so impatient to get his mall? Did Caruso or Callidus hire Modern Postcard to do the mailings? Just curious. It’s only fair to ask since he and his buddy Klaus seem to want to accuse US of working with Westfield Mall to kill this project (which is a complete joke).

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree with you and wonder how we can get answers to all of our concerns AND shed a light on truth. What happened with the mall? They made such a big deal about the $300 million expansion and shutting down for 18 months and now look at it. And Nord won’t tell me why they don’t build there where it makes SENSE and where there is existing infrastructure. We heard about getting an attny to file an injunction to stop any development, can someone check on that?

        Liked by 1 person

    • Great idea, yes, we’ve contacted Nord and for me, this is a total hardship (as a dedicated shopaholic) but I will boycott. In my next article, I’ll print the deets of who to contact at Nord. We have a perfectly fine shopping center that has the room for Nord to do a complete buildout with existing infrastructure, and they refuse to answer my questions about why they won’t build there.


  2. Bravo. Something sure does stink and the smell is NOT coming from the lagoon. It’s wafting down from LA and Orange county and seems to have made its way into City Hall.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We fight the same battle here every year between the developers and the town managers. The developers offer money, the managers thing $$$$ without considering the long term costs and devastating effect of this bargain from hell. You fight the battle, then you fight it again. And again. It never ends.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s awful. I write a note from here, but I know as an out of county resident, it won’t really be heard. At least they’ll know they have someone out their way making waves, though… 🙂 Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What the supporters of this thing don’t get (or don’t WANT to get) is that many of us are against it not because of the project, but because of the WAY in which it was and is being done…deceptively. My grandfather taught me that if something smells bad, you can’t just cover it up. You have to either wash it or get rid of it. Maybe the Mayor needs to take a bath…or maybe we need a new mayor.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My apologies Arnie. Looks like Caruso used Mailing Pros out of Huntington Beach. But then why are you so adamantly in favor of this thing? Just can’t wait to go to Nordstroms, is that it?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: “…I’m not impressed by men in fancy suits with fake tans.” | Enchanted Seashells…Confessions of a Tugboat Captain's Wife

Now it's your turn to share your pearls with me. Cheers!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s