Council is Hot ticket item this election
A voice for the people. No special interests. A passion for Truckee.
These are the main sentiments behind three of the candidates for this year’s Truckee Town Council race.
Steve McCann, Kenn Rieders and Joel Quist, who all describe themselves as regular kind of guys, say they were inspired to run by their desire to be a true representative and voice for the people of Truckee.
Here’s a brief look at each of the three:
Steve McCann’s initial inspiration to run for council actually spawned from the words of a current councilmember at a meeting last year.
“They were talking about how great it would be if we could build up this town to be like Vail, Colorado,” he said. “I’m not a tree-hugger, but I don’t think we need to allow that kind of development to take over our town. If people want to go to Vail, let them go to Vail. If people want to come here and enjoy the many resorts and ski areas we already have to offer, great.”
McCann said the main reason he and his wife chose to move here nine years ago was to get away from the big city life he had been living in Sacramento, and prior to that the Bay Area.
Another area of concern for McCann is the threat posed by the new Highway 267 bypass to downtown businesses and merchants.
“All of those people that would usually be driving through downtown will never be diverted away from the area and the town is going to need to bring that tourism back to the downtown,” he said. “That can be done with advertising and working with the Chamber of Commerce. As a town, we need to support the merchants who’ve supported us for so long. I don’t want to see lease signs popping up all of the sudden on Commercial Row.”
Other major concerns McCann has for Truckee involve transportation issues – namely traffic problems during peak seasons – and the effects of the looming Martis Valley Community Plan.
“Truckee will suffer the growing pains of many of the projects planned for out there,” he said.
The 41-year-old father of two, who works between his job at Safeway and his families cleaning business, says he wants to fight for the people of Truckee.
“People say experience counts, but I say, if we never try anything new, we’d always have the same things, the same problems and nothing would get any better,” he says. “Also, as a Christian, I will use prayer for thought on any decisions I have to make on the board.”
“I’ve got a strong passion for the Truckee community,” he said. “I want it to stay a small quaint community. There’s no reason we need to build it up to the max.”
For Kenn Rieders, the decision to run for town council alongside his wife Julie, who is also running, was a family decision.
“We wanted to send a signal to the town that the people of Truckee need to be heard,” he said. “Very often over the years, Julie and I, as well as other people we know, have felt as though we haven’t been heard by the council. We want to represent the people of Truckee and be a real voice for them.”
Rieders feels his job at Safeway, in which he’s in constant interaction with other locals, has really familiarized him with the issues and concerns of Truckee residents.
“Especially having worked at the checkstand for so long, I feel that I have a good feel for what’s really going on in this community,” he said.
As far as the issues high up on Rieders’ list, he said the town needs to be careful about development.
“I have a green heart in that I want to keep this place peaceful and green,” he said. “When we develop land, we’ve got to be very respectful of what’s there. I think a lot of people feel as though Truckee is growing and development is inevitable. But it’s important not to have blinders on. Development can only occur if we allow it to do so. I think the current council believes they have no control over the situation, but they really do.
“However, tell me there’s a development out there that is responsible and not going to hurt the earth and I’ll certainly consider it,” he said.
Another concern for Rieders was the issue of affordable housing, or the current lack there of.
“I’ve seen so many families have to move because the town priced them out,’ he said. “We need to find ways to make this a place where people and families can live and work.”
Rieders said he also feels he is a good listener.
“Being a good listener is being able to really hear people and then acting on what you’ve heard,” he said. “I can do that. I also have no special interest, except the interest of the people of Truckee.”
Joel Quist admits that he has a special interest – that special interest is his hometown – Truckee.
“I feel very fortunate to have been born here and lived here most of my life,” he says.
Quist, who was born at Tahoe Forest Hospital and raised in Truckee, currently owns his own shop, High Mountain Metal Works, on West River Street.
“I know a lot of people in this town after all of these years,” he said. “And, I’ve heard their concerns and complaints time and time again. That’s why I decided to run, so I could do something about those complaints.”
As far as Quist’s priorities should he get elected, he says he’d like to make Truckee a friendlier place.
“Things feel as though they’ve gotten a little unfriendly around here,” he said. “I’d like to see us encourage things like courteous driving habits as well. Perhaps we could put up some simple signage like, ‘Keep Truckee clean and beautiful. Be courteous.'”
He also believes the town needs to closely regulate and inspect all of the development occurring in town.
“The town needs to be educated on enforcing strict quality standards,” he said. “We also need to provide incentives – grants and funding – for people to put in affordable housing units in the area. People need to be able to afford to live in this town. The town has already done some good things on this, but we need to pursue it further.
“I also believe we need to slow down with the major developments – not stop, but people are talking about total buildout in the next 11 or so years,” he said. “I say, ‘What’s the hurry?'”
Quist describes himself as extremely hardworking, professional and people-oriented.
“I’m a go-getter, who likes to get things done,” he said. “I never left any project unfinished and work to best of my capabilities. I’m also not afraid to speak my mind and more importantly, I can’t be bought or sold,” he added.