Election 2016: Truckee Tahoe Airport District — read 4 candidate statements | SierraSun.com

Election 2016: Truckee Tahoe Airport District — read 4 candidate statements

More online

Visit the following websites for your respective county to learn more about local elections, as well as upcoming important dates and other information:

Nevada County: mynevadacounty.com/nc/elections/Pages/Home.aspx

Placer County: placerelections.com/current-elections.aspx

El Dorado County: edcgov.us/elections

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Four residents are in the race to fill three seats on the Truckee Tahoe Airport District Board of Directors.

The general election is set for Nov. 8. For the TTAD race, residents will be asked to vote for three of the four candidates; the top three vote-getters will be elected to the positions.

The three open seats are currently held by Lisa Wallace, Mary Hetherington and Tom Van Berkem. Wallace is the lone director to file for reelection.

In California, early voting for the general elections began Oct. 10.

To better inform readers voting early or heading to the polls on Election Day, the Sierra Sun reached out to the candidates a couple weeks ago and asked each to provide a short biography, as well as a 500-word maximum candidate statement.

Below, you can read the candidates’ statements, which are printed verbatim (including typos and grammar errors) in random order:


Name: Teresa O’Dette

Age: 48

Full-time residence in the region: Cedar Flat, Carnelian Bay, North Lake Tahoe

How long you have been a resident: 41 years

Current occupation: Mortgage Broker/Owner for O’Dette Mortgage Group

Formal education: Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with a minor in accounting from California State University, Sacramento.

Current and previous political/governmental experience: 8 years (2 four-year terms) on North Tahoe Fire Protection District Board of Directors

Candidate statement:

I would like to thank all my supporters and encourage you to vote for me (Teresa O’Dette) for the Airport District.

Growing up in Tahoe City, I am a true local and no stranger to the significant changes that have taken place in the District over the years. As a longstanding business owner (O’Dette Mortgage Group since 2002), with offices in Truckee and Tahoe City, I not only understand our business climate but also the need for keen decision-making capability at this critical time for the Airport District. We need fresh perspective for the board and that is what I bring to the table.

I am the only candidate running for the Airport Board from North Lake Tahoe, even though the lake side of the Airport District represents a little over 52% of our registered voters. I am not a pilot and actually have a fear of flying! I have a solid business background and 8 years of experience as a publicly elected official. I believe that the prosperous and growing communities like Kings Beach, Tahoe City and the Truckee need an active Airport supporting the aviation needs of the entire region.

I take great pride in my service to our community. Since 2004, I have been heavily involved with Kiwanis, Queen of Hearts Foundation (founding member and on the leadership council for two years) and was a Board Member for two consecutive terms for the North Tahoe Fire Protection District (NTFPD) where I was one of five publicly elected Board Members. NTFPD is a California Special District like the Truckee Tahoe Airport District, with a $13 million-dollar budget, 50+ employees and six fire stations providing fire and life safety to 11,000 homes.

I reside in Carnelian Bay with my partner and between us we have 6 kids all born and raised here. I am active in our community and give back to many organizations including the Boys & Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe, North Tahoe Little League, North Tahoe AYSO, Kiwanis Club of Tahoe City, Two-Bills Charity Golf Tournament, etc.


Name: Lisa Wallace

Age: 57

Full-time residence in the region: Tahoe Donner in Truckee

How long you have been a resident: 16 years

Current occupation: Executive Director, Truckee River Watershed Council

Formal education: BA Psychology, University of Pacific; Graduate of the Leadership Academy, California Special District Association (CSDA)

Current and previous political/governmental experience: Incumbent-Truckee Tahoe Airport District 2012-2016; Town of Truckee Measure C Oversight Committee

Candidate statement:

I’m running for the Airport Board because I believe strongly the airport is an asset to our community. My priorities are ensuring the Airport does not drive growth in Tahoe & Truckee, finding more ways to reduce noise impacts, keeping the airport as an asset for our region, maintaining a safe and viable airport, continuing community investments, and preserving open space.

Over past twelve years, progress has been made in managing noise, upgrading facilities, and providing benefits to all in the district.

However, even with these gains, plane traffic has significantly increased and this is increasing noise and annoyance. I’ve supported counteracting this by launching a Tranquility Campaign with pilots, extending voluntary flying curfews, and managing arrival and departure routes.

Since my election in 2012, I’ve successfully worked with others so our Airport District is a community leader. We’re contributing to North Tahoe and Truckee through a medical heliport in Tahoe City, a construction contribution to the Truckee pool complex, support for health and fire responders, connections to Martis Valley trails, and facilities for community events.

It’s the role of the airport board, and it’s particularly important to me, to facilitate transparency and clarity in setting policies and programs. In the near term the Airport will be considering important decisions, including:

• A temporary, seasonal air traffic control tower, which I support on a trial basis to see if it reduces noise and annoyance;

• Opportunities for development on some of the Airport’s land, which needs strong community oversight to insure compatibility with Truckee, Kings Beach, and Tahoe City;

• Long term maintenance of all the airport’s facilities, which I strongly support.

I live in Tahoe Donner and under a frequently used flight path. If noise and annoyance were easy problems, they’d be solved by now. But they’re not easy. It requires tenacity and patience to keep exploring new solutions. I’m committed to continued work and discussion with community members and with pilots.

Finally, and equally important, we must continue strong fiscal oversight of the airport expenditures and your tax dollars.

I have lived full-time in the area since 1999. I’m the Executive Director of the Truckee River Watershed Council, where we work to restore and project the Truckee River from Tahoe City to the Town of Truckee to state line. With 30 years in high-tech and nonprofits, I bring management and fiscal experience needed for a Board plus the conflict resolution and communication skills to work with diverse groups.

I’ll continue to look for opportunities for the community and aviation users. It’s our quality of life; it’s our airport district. With your vote, we can ensure the Airport serves all of us!

I respectfully ask for your vote. And please consider voting for Andrew Terry – he’s an experienced airport candidate having served 7½ years on the Airport’s Community Advisory Team and has been an active participant in Board meetings for 12+ years. Learn more at: http://www.AirportElection.com.


Name: Rick Stephens

Age: 71

Full-time residence in the region: The unincorporated Placer County area of Truckee

How long you have been a resident: 10 years

Current occupation: Retired

Formal education: BS (Engineering) Cornell University 72. MBA Stanford University 74

Current and previous political/governmental experience: None.

Candidate statement:

I am a Placer County Resident and a retired business owner. I served 3 years in the US Army in the late 1960’s including tours in Vietnam and Germany.

I am passionate about our region and this community. I served as the volunteer project manager for Community House in Kings Beach from acquisition, design and re-construction. CoHo now houses the Family Resource Center, Tahoe Safe Alliance and Project Mana, providing services for the North Shore residents. I served as a citizen on the Martis Valley Ground Water Study and on the Truckee Fire Citizens Advisory Committee on Property Taxes. I volunteer and support the Truckee River Watershed Council.

Every year the Airport District receives over $5 million from our property taxes. It comes out of the 1% Ad Valorem Property Tax. The Airport District has the capability and the obligation to reduce noise and annoyance while operating the airport safely and efficiently. The Airport District should also give back to all of the communities within the District boundaries. The District has purchased the Ponderosa Golf Course, contributed $3 million towards the purchase of Waddle Ranch with the Truckee Donner Land Trust for open space, purchased a $500,000 fire truck for Truckee Fire District, contributed $1 million to the new swimming pool at the Truckee Recreation Center, and assisted in the TCPUD purchase of the golf course ($500,000) and will construct a $300,000 emergency medical helipad on the edge of the golf course.

The airspace above the Airport is uncontrolled. I support the installation of the Seasonal Tower in the summer of 2017 for safety and to exert more positive control over airplane arrivals and departure to encourage “fly quiet programs.” This airport should collaborate with other Special Districts and be at the table to develop and consider funding solutions for Community issues like affordable work force housing and the Transit Vision. I will advocate for increased community benefits that will enhance the quality of life for all District residents. I look forward to receiving community ideas for Airport involvement from all residents in the district.

I am running for Airport Board, Because Community Matters. To learn more about me and those who support my candidacy visit http://www.stephensforairportboard.com. My name is Rick Stephens and I am running for Truckee Tahoe Airport Board. I respectfully ask for your support and vote for Airport Board.


Name: Andrew Terry

Age: 59

Full-time residence in the region: Ponderosa Palisades Truckee

How long have you been a resident: 17 years

Current occupation: Retired

Formal education: BSc. Mathematical Statistics and Operational Research – Exeter, England

Current and previous political/governmental experience: 7 ½ Years/3 full terms on the Airport Community Advisory Team; Consistently attends Airport Board meetings for the last 12+ years

Candidate statement:

During my over 7½ years on the Airport’s Community Advisory Team, with multiple years as chair, I led many significant efforts reducing noise and annoyance …

• Recommended extending the voluntary curfew hours an extra two hours to 10 in the evening through 7 in the morning

• Acquired a flight simulator to enable flight training hours ‘on the ground’ and hence reducing some training flights

• Produced short movies for visiting pilots demonstrating desired flight paths in and out of the airport along with identifying potential hazards

• Developed the “Open Space” program to gently highlight District acquired land e.g. Golf Course flags for the Tahoe City golf course

My focus when elected to the Board will include

• Supporting community Investment in Truckee and Tahoe compatible with the mission of the District such as land acquisitions under flight paths

• Enhancing the position of the airport as a regional transportation partner with Lake Tahoe Transit (TNT/TMA) by expanding the funding of (T)TART

• Building trails that connect to the planned Airport trails, extending to the full resort triangle trail system

• Reviewing and improving the airport’s capabilities as part of a regional emergency response asset

• The Airport has already extended to Tahoe City with the planned satellite emergency heli-pad developed as part of saving the golf course from development

• Rigorously maintaining the airport infrastructure so that it continues to enable safe flights

• Building an appropriate reserve to support the business of running and maintaining the airport into the foreseeable future

• Ensuring fair rates, fees, and charges such that costs are recovered and make sure incentives that are offered do in fact result in benefits to the community

I have a proven commitment to making the airport an asset to the whole community. I have been a consistent presence and active participant in Board meetings over the last 12+ years. I was on the organizing committee of the first new Air Show as treasurer. Given my familiarity with the issues and the sometimes bewildering terminology used in aviation related matters I can start to make an immediate impact.

I have lived full-time in the area the last 17 years with my wife Jeanette and have owned my house for 25 years. We spend our time with our dog Robb hiking throughout the area. I am a founder, via the “Founding Fifty” program, of the Truckee Trails Foundation. I participate in the Community Christmas, as does the airport by providing a hanger as well as other assistance.

I would appreciate your vote for me, and ask that you also consider voting for Lisa Wallace to join me on the Board to ensure we keep our airport on the right track. More information about us and our positions can be found at http://www.airportelection.com.

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User