The Carlsbad councilmember who recently tried to beef up enforcement against public health order violators says she has received a threatening email and been the target of personal attacks.
“It’s a disagreement that has opened the doors to folks being able to expel their deepest, darkest angst and hatred toward somebody that is in the public eye trying to do their best to protect their community,” Carlsbad District 1 Councilmember Cori Schumacher told NBC 7 on Monday.
Last week, Schumacher, 43, who is a member of the LGBTQ community, received a profanity-laced email that she posted, uncensored, on her Twitter account.
“THE CITY HATES YOU,” says a small portion of the letter that doesn’t contain foul language.
The letter came on the same day a special council meeting was called to discuss potential stricter enforcement of health-order violators.
In Carlsbad, many restaurants continue to stage what they call a protest and are serving customers in violation of the orders.
“It’s speech that is bordering on threatening and dangerous," Schumacher said about the email. "So instead of it being, ‘I disagree with this position,’ it becomes something that is very personal and crosses the line."
During the virtual meeting, more than 100 public callers ripped Schumacher’s efforts to discuss enforcement.
Schumacher tweeted that the callers were encouraged by Carlsbad mayor Matt Hall.
“And our GOP mayor eggs them on during meetings when they call in to comment, allowing longer time for those who level personal attacks and encouraging them w/'good job' & 'well done.' #notnormal,” tweeted Schumacher.
NBC 7 reached out to Hall, whose voice mailbox is full and has not yet responded to a request for comment.
Schumacher said her relationship with Hall has "gone south" ever since she ran for his seat.
“This is very intentional and very strategic, to make me an ineffective leader and to punish me for being an outspoken LGBTQ woman leader in the city of Carlsbad,” Schumacher said.
A bigger concern, said Schumacher, is the impact it could potentially have on her council colleagues, who chose not to second her motion on stepped-up enforcement. There was never a vote.
“It’s tough when you have this environment where, when you express something, an idea, and it gets torn apart, and the person gets torn apart," Schumacher said. "No ideas are going to come forward.”
While Schumacher said she fears for her own and her wife’s safety, she will press forward. She said she has heard from constituents who are afraid health orders are not being followed.
“We need to do the work of making this space, this political space, the space that we come together to negotiate our future, we need to make it less toxic,” Schumacher said.
Schumacher said she welcomes a meaningful conversation on policy issues and understands the frustration of business owners.
Meanwhile, Schumacher said she expects the current angry tone to get worse before it gets better. And she’s fully aware much of the vitriol will target her.
“It’s my responsibility to be the backbone of my community when it comes to health and well-being -- that's my spine," Schumacher said. "And if my spine can’t take it, I don’t know how we expect anybody else in our government to do so.,