When we opened the Carlsbad Municipal Annex at 114 S. Halagueno St. several years ago, we decided to place three essential city services in that new building – our Municipal Court, our Council Chambers, and our planning and engineering department. Those are three very different responsibilities, but one Carlsbad resident was highly involved in all three during her incredible tenure as a public servant.
Janell Whitlock has served on our City Council, and she previously served as municipal judge. Finally, she had been a member of the very important City Planning and Zoning Commission. In other words, she played a vital role within all three important functions of our annex. She also did an outstanding job in all of those roles.
Those three positions don’t come anywhere close to describing Janell’s involvement – she’d also been a county commissioner and the Chamber of Commerce’s Age Friendly Retirement Coordinator, among many other roles. Most communities don’t have a single resident who was elected to city council, as a judge and as a county commissioner. Janell and her husband, the late Louis Whitlock, were Carlsbad’s biggest community cheerleaders for many years. Janell was a part of so much of what you see around town, including the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.
More than anything, however, Janell was the heart of this community. She cared deeply for those around her, and she always tried to do the right thing. Janell was also known for always doing her homework and coming to every meeting well prepared.
Janell passed away in July at the age of 83. Community events haven’t been the same since her passing, and many of us still expect to see her appearing at community events. Her last public event was at the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce’s banquet over the summer, in which she received a community service award that was named in her honor. One of Janell’s favorite projects was the age-friendly community effort. She worked hard for many years to obtain an “age friendly” status for Carlsbad, and she was also presented with a plaque during the Chamber event.
During Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Council will consider a vote to rename the building where the annex is held as the “Janell Whitlock Municipal Complex” in memory of this outstanding citizen and the wide variety of roles she played in helping Carlsbad. Those of us who were so fortunate to work with Janell should take the opportunity to introduce some of her legacy to future generations.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway