The ballot measure to approve the luxury shopping mall on the shores of Agua Hedionda Lagoon in Carlsbad got the support of 14 businesses in Carlsbad Village and several North County political leaders this week.

Though Carlsbad Village is just three miles from the proposed site, the businesses say the mall will be a boon for them as well.

“Rick Caruso and his committed team are working closely with the businesses in the Carlsbad Village to develop a mode of transportation, perhaps a trolley, that will easily transport people back and forth from the promenade to the Village and to the surrounding hotels, so visitors can have easy access to the village,” said Greg Nelson, owner of Gregorio’s Italian Restaurant.

The businesses include Barrio Eat Mexican, Board and Brew-Carlsbad, Carlsbad Chocolate Bar, Flippin’ Pizza, Gregorio’s Italian Restaurant, Knockout Pizza, Paon, Gaia Gelato, Paradise Pizza, Paradise Market, Señor Grubby’s, The UPS Store-Carlsbad Village Faire, Witch Creek Winery, Wysh Boutique and 83 Degrees, according to a release.

But the group opposing the mall, Citizens for North County, said Steve Barr – who co-owns Paon, 83 Degrees, Witch Creek Winery and Barrio Eat Mexican – removed his restaurants from the list, because he and his partner never authorized their support for the measure. Another restaurant, Vigilucci’s, also removed its name from Caruso’s list of public supporters.

On Wednesday, Caruso Affiliated announced the support of several current and former North County leaders, including Escondido Mayor Sam Abed, Vista Mayor Judy Ritter, Oceanside City Councilman Jerry Kern and Vista City Councilman John Franklin.

Caruso Affiliated has spent $7 million on the campaign, including $1.1 million since Jan. 1, making it among the most expensive campaigns run in the county, according to the Union-Tribune. Meanwhile, Citizens for North County has spent about $80,000, the bulk of which comes from Westfield Corp.

Controversial Charter School Eyeing Oceanside

A company under siege in Orange County recently announced plans to open a science academy in Oceanside.

Magnolia Public Schools operates 11 charter schools around the state, including one in San Diego. But in December, the Anaheim Union High School District called for a suspension of further charter school approvals, citing problems with Magnolia Public Schools.

In an opinion piece for the Voice of OC, the school board wrote that because of the opaque nature of charter schools, taxpayer money was going to fund a Turkish educational and religious movement, and questioned the organization’s financial health and management.

In 2014, the Los Angeles Unified School District found that the Magnolia Educational and Research Foundation was operating a $1.66 million deficit, and owed $2.8 million to the schools it oversees.

The district closed one of its San Diego schools in 2011, due to low enrollment, according to the state Department of Education. Another school failed to get off the ground before its application expired.

Media Update

A Valley Center-based publisher scooped up two local newspapers, the Valley Roadrunner reported Jan 5.

Roadrunner Publications, which owns the Valley Roadrunner, Valley Center Magazine and Boulevard Magazine, purchased the Escondido Times-Advocate and Valley Center Times-Advocate for an undisclosed sum, according to the press release.

The 90-year-old Escondido Times-Advocate merged with the Blade-Citizen in 1995 to become the North County Times, which was later purchased by Doug Manchester in 2012.

In 2013, Kelly Crews brought back the Times-Advocate, publishing a biweekly print edition.

Also in the News

The Union-Tribune’s Logan Jenkins says a recent California Supreme Court decision could kill master-planned communities, like Lilac Hills. (Union-Tribune)

Oceanside’s City Council unanimously supports a bill in Congress to move the spent nuclear fuel out of San Onofre. (Coast News)

 Del Mar approved the environmental review for the $18 million civic center, but held off on final designs and permits, including a coastal development permit. (Coast News)

Carlsbad’s Planning Commission approved 36 homes for the master-planned Robertson Ranch, capping off the 700-home project. Many people also called for a parking structure and trenched railroad tracks in the Village and Barrio in Carlsbad. (Union-Tribune)

Oceanside continued its ban on commercial medical marijuana, but will look into a plan to allow deliveries. (Seaside Courier)

Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated the number of charter schools operated by Magnolia Public Schools. 

Ruarri Serpa is a freelance writer in Oceanside. Email him at and find him on Twitter at @RuarriS.

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