Election 2016: Tahoe City, North Tahoe PUD candidates sound off
TAHOE CITY, Calif. — Candidates for the North Tahoe Public Utility District and Tahoe City Public Utility District board of directors participated in a forum Tuesday, Oct. 4, hosted by the Rotary Club in Tahoe City.
There are four candidates running for three open seats on the TCPUD board: Judy Friedman (incumbent), Ron Treabess (incumbent), Paul Joslin and Scott Zumwalt. Joslin did not attend Tuesday’s forum.
During the lively 30-minute forum at the TCPUD office, candidates responded to questions submitted by audience members.
“Don’t tell people how good you are — show them,” said Friedman. From the beginning, it was clear that phrase would be her mantra as she used her experience on the board to point out examples of successful projects she helped facilitate.
Treabess described himself as “extremely professional and loaded with energy,” in his opening remarks. He held true to that statement throughout the evening, showing his personality while also relying on his experience to answer questions.
He emphasized the district’s responsibility to provide “safe and sustainable” water and sewer systems and said that integrating the systems along the West Shore is priority because it’ll ensure the region is well equipped to manage potential fires.
Zumwalt, a potential newcomer to the board, said his ownership of the Bridgetender restaurant and West Shore Market has made him especially connected to the local community.
“I know I may be younger than a lot of candidates and don’t have a lot of experience … but I do feel like I’m very well plugged into the local community and what they want and what they see for the future,” he said.
North Tahoe PUD
The NTPUD also has four candidates vying for three seats, all of whom showed up to Tuesday’s forum: incumbents Phil Thompson, Tim Ferrell and John Bergman, along with challenger Sarah Coolidge.
“I’m running because I think they can benefit from a set of fresh eyes,” said Coolidge.
She also said recreation, the third area the NTPUD focuses on, plays an extremely large role in the community. In fact, she called it the foundation of the local economy and said the district could do more in this area.
“I think we have a larger role to play than some would argue we’ve played in recent years,” she said.
Coolidge mentioned ideas for increasing public understanding of PUD operations and strategies for managing funds — and she wasn’t alone.
All NTPUD candidates said that the district needed to find a way to bring in more money, but they also said that they’re waiting on a needs assessment survey to help determine what the community actually wants.
“I will be responsive to whatever that survey yields,” said Bergman when asked how the district would spend additional income.
Ferrell echoed that sentiment: “We have a lot we need to do with the event center and when it (the needs study) comes back, we’ll get together a master plan,” he said.
Thompson said that the district’s priority needed to be replacing the water lines in Kings Beach.
“We have a lot of leaks,” he said. “We’re also trying to upgrade so we have fire hydrants on every block.”