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Green is on the scene

Renée Shadforth
Photo by Josh Miller/Sierra Sun Town council candidate Barbara Green greets Larry Holmes at his house in Glenshire during a precinct walk on Oct. 12.
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If you ask Barbara Green what sets her apart from her opponents in the upcoming race for Truckee Town Council, her answer is simple – and biological: “I’m a woman.””Women tend to approach government in an intuitive way. Most of them have been mothers, so you have to be able to listen to understand what the concerns are. And you have to be a team player,” said Green, who is currently in her first term as a Nevada County supervisor representing the Truckee area.Whether Green will get to be a player on the Truckee Town Council will be up to voters this election, when Green will be pitted against incumbent councilmen Ron Florian and Josh Susman.Green, 66, has lived in Truckee for 13 years. Her background includes 25 years in government – in capacities ranging from a seat on the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District board to Nevada County planning commissioner – and she was a Realtor for 10 years.Team environment

It’s the concept of a “team” environment that has made Green controversial as a Nevada County supervisor. Green said she hasn’t felt effective in her term at the county level because of the conservative voting patterns of Robin Sutherland, Sun Horne and Drew Bedwell, which have kept hers and Peter Van Zant’s more liberal votes on the losing side of many issues.”I found I couldn’t be positive or productive because of the change in the make up of the board,” she said. “They’re doing some things that are very destructive to the county and I can’t do anything about it.”Lately, with Bedwell’s exit from the board because of health issues, the board has been in a 2-2 deadlock. Most recently, this led to a last-minute compromise on the county’s housing element, with the board disagreeing over zoning density. The plan was approved eight months past deadline and just days before the deadline to qualify for valuable federal grants.Generally, there are two takes on Green’s effectiveness on the county level. One is that her hands-on-hips style has given the constituents on the east side of the county attention when it comes to funding from the county.”One thing I think I was really pleased that I did is I opened up the flow of money to Truckee a little bit more,” she said. “I was a constant reminder – some people might say ‘a nag’ – to remind people that the money needs to be distributed evenly throughout the county.”On the flip side, some say Green is unable to reach compromise. Though the same can be said for her colleagues on the board of supervisors. Still, through repeated 3-2 votes Green, and her agenda, were often on the losing end.”Our working relationship was strained most of the time,” said Horne, the District 2 supervisor. “We have had our actual moments of agreement, but they were very rare. It has been very difficult [to work with Green], quite frankly.”

In part, Horne attributes her differences with Green to their different philosophies of government, but “there seemed to be no willingness to work with other members of the board.”In Truckee, Green said, the situation would be different than it was at the county level.”Truckee’s different from the rest of the county,” she said. “The people who live in Truckee are open-minded and looking to the future … The common bond of choosing to live in an area that is a hardship is a uniting component.”On developmentWhen it comes to development, Green said she would use three criteria before approving a proposal.

“New development must be consistent with our general plan, our vision statement and our small-town character,” she said.She cites the recent Hilltop proposal as an example, saying that the Santa Monica-based contractor designed the development to look like something in Santa Monica and not something that aligns with Truckee’s mountain character.She said there needs to be more consideration of development’s cumulative impact – that is effects on infrastructure, affordable housing availability and open space.Green said she couldn’t comment on how the town council handled Truckee’s two most recent golf course developments, Gray’s Crossing and Old Greenwood, because she said she “didn’t follow it in a detailed way.”However, she said other development in town has not been consistent with the General Plan.”I see the General Plan as a compact between the town and its citizens, and if you stray from the General Plan, you’re breaking trust with the citizens,” she said.Green said that if elected she would push for early community involvement in the development process. On affordable housing, she said she would like to see more affordable housing, “sprinkled about the town for social reasons. And it needs to be near major arterials where transportation is available, and it should be close to schools, and it should have playgrounds.”


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