Election 2014: IVGID candidates sound off at first forum
If you go
The Bonanza and Sierra Nevada College will host a second IVGID candidate forum on Oct. 22.
It will take place 7-9 p.m. in Room 139/141 of the Tahoe Center for Environmental Science on the college’s campus.
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The four candidates for IVGID trustee discussed several pressing issues during their first public forum of the election season Tuesday night.
Among other topics, Shelia Leijon, Kendra Wong, Tim Callicrate and Robert Olmer shared thoughts on potential changes to the district’s recreation pass (Ordinance 7) and trash (Ordinance 1) laws, and the master plan upgrade at Diamond Peak.
Roughly 100 residents and Incline Village General Improvement District staff attended the forum, hosted and facilitated by the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza and Sierra Nevada College.
The candidates vying for two seats in the Nov. 4 election answered questions prepared in advance based on reader recommendations, and several asked by attendees at Tuesday’s forum at the college’s TCES building.
Below is a sampling of some of their comments on the larger issues, presented in random order:
On Ordinance No. 7…
Leijon: I believe we should hold onto the Family Tree because if gives us some sort of control … but there should be a process to petition for changes if you don’t have a traditional family … we need to outline and identify what exactly the passes are and be as simple and clear as possible … I also am in favor of the same rules and regulations applying to every parcel, whether it’s a timeshare, no matter what it is. I know that will not sit well with timeshare owners, but they can pay just like we can to upload more money onto their punch card.
Olmer: Regarding the beaches, they’re not private beaches, and they’re not public either — but they belong to us. You could not possibly imagine the number of variables that exists that allow people to use the beaches and (the venues) … What we have to do is get back to limiting things to some extent to make it more manageable, and get back to the basics with our beaches.
Wong: Staff identified problems with enforcing Ordinance 7, so we can’t completely ignore that. But we need to take these individual problems and address them separately. I think the board tried to make five changes at once … and most people were upset about the Family Tree part … but then the whole thing got thrown out … I think we need to start addressing each problem. For example, I think we all learned we have the ability to buy more picture passes and punch cards — that’s a large loophole that needs to be closed sooner rather than later.
Callicrate: Clearly, we knew it was a volatile issue. (Ordinance 7) is the meat and potatoes of why most people purchased here, because of access … so we need to tread very, very carefully on any changes we make … and any changes that we make, if we don’t really vet them, will this open the district up to future lawsuits? Don’t scrap the whole thing, and don’t sit tight — how are we upholding the current statutes? Everyone wants to come to our beaches, and I think it was a great first step on limiting access on the Fourth of July.
On the Diamond Peak master plan…
Callicrate (who said he would have voted against the board receiving the proposed plan): Right now, it is far too ambitious to embark upon at this time in its entirety. I think that we really, really need to know what the community wants to do … and open the dialogue on summer use at Diamond Peak. Should it include all the things in the master plan? I don’t think so, but there may be those in the community who do … I’m not adverse to starting out small and showing success — maybe with biking and hiking, that’s low cost … There’s a real push that the alpine coaster is going to make all the money to fuel phase one, but some of the numbers the SE Group has in there, I really take issue with. We need to keep the dialogue open, but move very, very cautiously.
Leijon (who would have voted in favor): I applaud (Diamond Peak GM) Brad Wilson for bringing forward this plan — I would like to see a plan similar for all the district venues … can we get better at handling the assets we currently hold before we move forward with a plan for building additional assets? As for … Diamond Peak, I also want to see drilled down, deeper financials.
Olmer (who would have voted no): The plan is very, very aggressive … and I don’t want to leave it up to where we can (incur) anywhere between $18 and $24 million in cost … but we do need to do something, however, because we are an aging population — our community is dying, and we will not have the quality of life here if we don’t figure out how to move forward. But we need to get our ducks in a row.
Wong (who would have voted yes): I’m conflicted. I love the ideas for the venue … but I don’t know that the numbers are going to hold. I’m not sure the financial assumption is sound … I do agree, we need another place for people to go (during the busy summer season), and I’d love for them to spend money in our town at Diamond Peak. But we need more conversation to go into what’s appropriate for our community and what fits into our community values — and, if these financial projections don’t hold up, are we willing to pay for them?
On Ordinance No. 1…
Olmer: The problem is mostly with commercial containers … and regarding (wildlife complaints overall), there really hasn’t been any big jump, per se. I don’t think we need to change Ordinance 1, and I am not for mandating special containers that are going to cost the community more money.
Wong: I believe we have a really good process in place, so I am not in favor of mandating everyone having a bear-proof container. For one, I think it’s going to be expensive, because eventually we will see an increase in cost. Also, most of the reports I hear are from commercial properties, so what I think what really needs to happen is IVGID and Waste Management need to work with our commercial properties to find better locked dumpsters to try and prevent (problems).
Leijon: I have a bear box in my yard — that is my choice. While I do believe it’s the best solution for our bear issues, I do not believe in mandating individuals to do anything with their trash — as long as it’s in line with the ordinance. Yes, I do think there is room for greater enforcement … and I would not renew the contract with Waste Management until the current one expires.
Callicrate: Anytime government mandates anything, there are going to be unintended consequences. Mandating every single property … that isn’t going to work, and it’s going to end up creating a lot of financial burdens down the road. I believe in working with Waste Management to enforce what they are supposed to be doing with the commercial properties, before we redo or rewrite the contract.
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