North Tahoe PUD seats go to Lewis and Daniels
Sue Daniels and Lane Lewis won the two board of directors seats up for election at the North Tahoe Public Utility District in a race that saw its most competition in more than two decades.
Sue Daniels received 591 votes, or 52 percent of the ballots, beating out challengers Theresa May Duggan and Al Turner for seat 3, vacated by retiring board member Norma Schwartz.
Duggan collected 36 percent of votes and Turner had 10 percent.
“The message I heard is that people didn’t want this to be a big-city campaign,” Daniels said Wednesday morning. “A lot of people said they didn’t want to turn into Truckee. They wanted to keep it Tahoe and not turn into a big city. My campaign spoke to keeping Tahoe something locals can enjoy.”
Daniels said her campaign did make phone calls for an hour on Election Day to remind people to vote and offered rides to voters.
Lane Lewis easily retained seat 4 on the board of directors, winning over challenger Jerry Wotel by more than 33 percentage points.
Lewis had 67 percent of the vote and Wotel 33 percent in unofficial results.
“I am excited about the turnout,” Lewis said. “It created a lot of interest in the PUD that we haven’t seen in the past.”
Daniels, a real estate agent, said she will advocate to get the North Tahoe Community Conference Center “back on its feet,” and focus on recreation and programs in the district. She added that she would like to form a citizens’ committee to encourage public participation in the political process.
“I want to work with community members and the other candidates to work as a team to put in place what we talked about in this campaign,” Daniels said. “At this point, I want to thank the community for their support and I will be an open door for my constituents.”
Lewis, who has held his seat for 17 years, said during his campaign that replacing the infrastructure in the district is a priority, but staying within a budget to finance infrastructure improvements is important.
“I think the public feels good about our current PUD, but there are things we can do better,” Lewis said. “We need to communicate public works projects better. The election brought forth a lot of questions.”
Wotel was not an advocate for the “pay-as-you-go” system supported by Lewis and wanted to focus on the district’s water and infrastructure problems.
“Obviously, I was disappointed,” Wotel said of the election. “I wish I would have done better. But I thank the people that did vote for me.”
Wotel added that he plans to stay involved in the community and will continue to attend district board meetings.
Duggan said she will also stay involved.
“It was my first try at elected office and I’m proud of my campaign and that it was clean,” Duggan said. “I’m not going anywhere. I’m committed that the entire community is represented. I thank the community and the employees of the PUD for supporting me.”