Kat and Mike, our best options for functioning airport board (Opinion) | SierraSun.com

Kat and Mike, our best options for functioning airport board (Opinion)

Spin Shaffer / Guest column

My family and I have lived in Truckee for 25 years. This is the first time I have felt so strongly about a local election and the stark difference between candidates running, which has compelled me to address Sierra Sun readers. The Truckee Tahoe Airport District is a community agency that operates with funding from our tax dollars, FAA funds and income from hangar rentals and sales of gas for airplanes.  

For many decades the airport has successfully supported our community at large by buying land for public use.  They have also supported our region’s children through educational STEM programs, and generously funded many other important health and safety projects for partner agencies. TTAD has a history of always giving back, and having the capacity to do so. It is legendary as being a community focused agency right up there with Truckee Donner Recreation and Parks District.  In place since the 1950s, the TTAD and its board are charged with ensuring that air travel is safe and noise is limited. It is up to the board to be forward thinking and to make decisions that create a safe and efficiently run airport that listens to the people in our community – our neighbors, friends and colleagues who are pilots, families, and property owners in the Truckee Tahoe region. All these people are important to airport functionality. 

For this reason, our family is voting for Kat Rohlf and Mike Daniel. My wife Carol Meagher and I know both Kat and Mike personally. Our kids went to school with Kat’s kids. Kat is a tireless community volunteer — she is not just a candidate for the airport board but an admirable and true supporter of so many aspects of our community. Kat and I were volunteers together for TEMPO — the parent organization that supports band at Truckee High. Kat has dedicated years of her time and expertise to the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation and Excellence in Education. Mike and his wife are raising their daughters in Truckee, and they want to see them thrive. Mike is active with Protect Our Winters and the Daniel family are community-minded. 

I have watched the Airport Board and have attended many meetings to support my wife who works at the Kidzone Museum which is one of the organizations that produces the Airshow and Family Festival. Over the course of many years I have witnessed the board working well to bring about the best solutions for the airport and community.

For the past few years however, certain members of the airport board do not work well together and their efforts are working against the community’s best interests. Board meetings have become contentious and instead of governing effectively, some board members create everchanging procedures or misinterpret documents. Some directors do not work professionally toward resolutions causing their leadership to be dysfunctional. It is discouraging and disappointing to watch.

The airport board needs members who respectfully engage and who have critical thinking skills. Our community needs an airport board that can strategize resolutions, and move forward to ensure money is spent effectively. We need board members who can strategically plan (long-term) with expertise. Please, for the safety and interests of all our community and to bring about the best solutions to abate noise vote for Kat and Mike who bring a sense of respect and community to this important district that truly does benefit us all.

Spin Shaffer is a longtime community member, Tahoe Forest Hospital District employee, soccer coach, father, skier and white-water kayaker. 

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