Election 2016: Truckee hospital, airport candidates dive deeper into local issues | SierraSun.com

Election 2016: Truckee hospital, airport candidates dive deeper into local issues

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — The Rotary Club of Tahoe City hosted a forum Tuesday, Oct. 4, for candidates running for both the Truckee Tahoe Airport District and Tahoe Forest Hospital District board of directors.

Candidates answered questions submitted by audience members that focused mainly on noise at the airport, and health care costs at the hospital.

Tuesday marked the second forum featuring candidates in both races; on Sept. 15, candidates answered questions at Truckee Town Hall in a forum sponsored by the Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce and other partners.

The hospital's board of directors has two open seats and three candidates: Alyce Wong, John Mohun and Randy Hill.

The airport board has three open seats and four candidates: Lisa Wallace, Andrew Terry, Rick Stephens and Teresa O'Dette. O'Dette was not present at the forum on Oct. 4, nor was she on Sept. 15, citing a family conflict.

The airport candidates reiterated their support for the temporary tower to be installed next summer as an experiment to help control flight patterns and therefore reduce noise.

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"We're risking getting to a tipping point," said Terry, who explained that noise concerns are the biggest issue facing the airport today because such a large number of people are impacted.

Wallace and Stephens echoed this sentiment, but also addressed the need for affordable housing in the region.

"The airport also built the Clear Capital building, and because it was in Nevada County, they didn't build workforce housing, and they should have," said Stephens.

The candidates differed when it came to the issues of other airport amenities.

Stephens said he overall supports the amenities the airport provides to the community. Wallace said she supports maintaining the current amenities, but not increasing them. Terry, on the other hand, said that airport traffic has little to do with airport amenities.

"The thing that drives aviation activity up here is this thingie of water — I'm kidding, but you know it's the lake," Terry said.

Terry and Wallace, who have stated that they're running together, each reiterated their commitment to ensure the local airport isn't responsible for driving growth.

Conversely, the forum for the hospital board very much centered on how to help Tahoe Forest grow, or at least remain viable.

Mohun said someone once likened the current health care system to going to the gas station, with exceptions: "Only there's no prices and you don't know how much you're going to need. You just pay the bill at the end."

The candidates again tackled the issue of health care costs and how the facility can compete with businesses in Reno when it has the challenge of remaining open for 24 hours a day.

Wong said she'd like to see greater transparency so customers understand the costs before agreeing to receive treatment.

Still, one of the more unique concerns to come out of the discussion was how the hospital can recruit the best physicians.

Hill said the issue isn't just about recruiting physician, but also how to retain them — a goal he said the hospital has lost sight of.

"They are very important to us — we must make the environment right for them," he said.

More online

Visit the following websites for your respective county to learn more about the airport and hospital elections, as well as upcoming important dates and other information:

Nevada County: mynevadacounty.com/nc/elections/Pages/Home.aspx

Placer County: placerelections.com/current-elections.aspx