Saturday, January 28, 2023

Q & A with Carrie Downey, Coronado City Council Candidate

Ahead of election day on November 8, 2022, The Coronado Times has asked the four City Council candidates to answer the following questions in their own words to give the community insight on their background and views. The Q&As will be published in the order received.

Q: How did your Coronado story begin?

A: One weekend in 1991, I visited Coronado and fell in love with how walkable Coronado felt. I loved the idea that my family could walk to school, the library, movies, and get pizza like I could growing up. I requested that the Navy station me in Coronado.  I served my next three tours here, including as the base lawyer for what is now Naval Base Coronado, until I retired from the Navy. After retiring, I opened a Coronado small business, my law firm, Law Offices of Carrie Anne Downey, bought a home and my three daughters were able to attend K-12 here and graduate from Coronado High School.

Q: Share an overview of your professional experience.

A: I am honored to have served as a Coronado City Councilmember, three times previously. Most recently from 2014-2018. In 2005, as a Coronado representative to SANDAG, I was asked to chair a newly formed regional committee to develop consensus among the building community, environmental groups, city representatives, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and CA Fish and Game, on how to allocate a share of Transnet tax revenue to protect endangered species habitat around the region. I was reappointed as Chair yearly for eight years by SANDAG Chairmen of both parties, because I helped the committee find consensus.

I have a B.S. in Business Administration, a Juris Doctorate, and a Masters of Law.  I have been a lawyer for 30 years, providing environmental, and regulatory advice to Navy Commanding Officers, California government owned utilities, Non-Profit Boards of Directors, and private clients. My background and education prepared me to analyze city projects and policies to address the needs of our community within available budgets. I have a proven track record in helping committees and organizations find common ground to adopt sound policies.

Q: What are some highlights of your community involvement?

A: In addition to serving on the City Council, I have served on the Coronado Hospital Foundation Board, and as President of the Village Elementary School PATT. I have enjoyed chairing the Student Speaker contest yearly for the Coronado Lions Club where I am currently Vice President, and cooking food for the San Diego Women’s Shelter with the Coronado Woman’s Club, where I have also served as President. In 2010, I was proud to help Floyd Ross form the 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization the Coronado Promenade Concerts (CPC) that would help to sustain and grow our more than 50 year tradition of providing free Sunday concerts each summer in Spreckels Park. I have served on the CPC Board of Directors since inception as the volunteer legal counsel.

Q: What motivated you to run for City Council?

A: Given the big policy changes Coronado will be forced to make because of the worsening drought, lack of affordable housing, and infringement on Coronado’s local land use authority, we need to get different perspectives involved in making decisions. I believe my unique experiences as a woman, a mother whose children went through the Coronado public schools, as a small business, as a 23 year homeowner and a two year renter, and as a disabled person will add a point of view currently absent from the City Council. I want to bring a different perspective and I want to make it easier for more residents to participate in City Council meetings.

Q: Please give us your brief perspective on the following issues and indicate your top priorities ~ beach sewage solutions, e-bikes and Infrastructure issues: including Satellite Watering Recycling Facility (SWRF) and utility undergrounding, Caltrans roadway relinquishment, ways to promote and maintain a balanced business district, and community grants.

A: I support the City’s efforts to use all possible strategies including lobbying to continue pushing the Federal Government and the State Government to fund a permanent solution to address the cause of sewage not being treated properly within the sewage system in Mexico.

The Satellite Water Recycling Facility (SWRF) is still on the City’s Capitol Project list, as it should be. Although the initial project bids far exceeded the initial City Engineer’s estimate, the City needs to restart the project review to determine how to lower the cost. California will soon start having to institute more drastic water rationing measures, and golf courses could be required to use recycled water or close. Coronado has a unique agreement with our water provider California American Water that allows the City to reuse our wastewater.  The policy question is not just what will it cost to create recycled water for golf course use but what is the long term cost if we do not. If we were to lose the right to operate the golf course, I am concerned that a large plot of land, much of it under Port control, could be recommended for a use such as hotels, water born businesses, or other new uses residents may not prefer.

I believe Caltrans road relinquishment and local business district improvement are connected. The City and the Navy need to continue working on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to allow relinquishment to the city, while allowing Navy input on operational changes to 3rd and 4th and Orange Ave. that could affect military operations. Coronado and the Navy successfully negotiated the changes to Ocean Boulevard, and traffic light timers on the Silver Strand in front of the SEAL Command to address the needs of all users. We need to continue negotiating on how to incorporate similar input, until a solution is reached. Once relinquishment is accomplished it would allow the city to expand policy options for Orange Avenue to promote local businesses, including a permanent policy on outdoor dining and placement of matching street furniture.

Ten years ago, I drafted the beginnings of a new grant process that required applicants to identify how much of their yearly budget came from the city grant and how much from donations from Coronado residents. I thought it was important for me as a policy maker to know which nonprofits’ services mattered most to our residents before allocating taxpayer money to nonprofit services. Since then, several changes have been made to help the Council determine which applications meet the needs of the community. I support the evolution in the evaluation process to having community member panels evaluate the applications, to provide more resident input into the City Council’s decision.

Q: What is your favorite thing about Coronado?

A: It has felt like home since the first day I arrived. So much of what makes Coronado great is the opportunities our residents have to get involved in the community. Coronado residents care and are willing to roll up their sleeves and get involved to make progress. I love striking up conversations with people in line at the post office or Vons and discovering a connection. I truly feel we are all a team trying to keep Coronado the vibrant community we love.

Learn more about the candidate here:

[email protected]

Carrie and Elton, with kids Dustin, Samantha, Rebecca, and Charlotte, relaxing in their backyard.


Jennifer Velez
Jennifer Velez
Jennifer fell in love with Coronado as a teenager while visiting a college friend. She vowed that someday she would make it her home, and that dream has recently become a reality. Fast forward through completing college with a BA in Journalism, Public Relations and Communications, she then went on to work with a variety of clients. She also taught Journalism and coordinated fundraising for her children’s school, and was a staff writer for San Diego Family Magazine and contributed to other parenting publications. Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]