My Turn: Elected officials need to remember that they work for their constituents
July 29, 2008
To anyone who attended the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board meeting in Incline Village on June 25, it was obvious that Placer County Supervisor Bruce Kranz was eager to kill the proposed three-lane hybrid alternative, even though every qualified staff and agency as well as a majority of Kings Beach residents were in support of it.
He pressured the other board members to vote to reject it, in the closing hour of a long day, even though some expressed a desire to continue it to a later date so they could become more informed. It failed to be approved by just one vote.
Fast forward to the July 22 Placer County Board of Supervisor’s meeting in Kings Beach. After much discussion and public comment, Kranz stated , just before voting no, that he’d known how the vote was going to come down once it came to the Placer County Board of Supervisors. The board voted 4 to his 1 to approve the three-lane alternative.
Mr. Kranz then compounded his failure to represent the voters he serves by refusing to represent the board position at the TRPA meeting on July 23, where board members passed a motion to reconsider the vote they’d made on June 25.
To his credit, Supervisor Kirk Uhler, a frequent ally and old friend of Kranz, rightly moved to replace Kranz as Placer’s representative to the TRPA board with longtime resident and former Placer Supervisor Larry Sevison.
When several of the TRPA’s board members expressed regret that the issue hadn’t been vetted by the Placer County Board of Supervisors before the TRPA had spent a long day on the issue a month ago, a TRPA staff member revealed, followed by some gasps from the audience, that that was how it was usually done, but that Kranz had specifically asked to change the usual sequence.
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No doubt Kranz will claim he didn’t want to vote for something if the TRPA was going to eventually shoot it down anyway! But that would miss the point.
By his own admission at the July 22 meeting that he’d known how the vote would come down with the supervisors, he pretty much admitted that he had maneuvered to deny his fellow board members their right to consider the issue as the designated lead agency. He subsequently refused to recognize that in a democracy the majority rules and it was his duty as an elected official to stay in the game and represent the board’s position to the TRPA.
It is heartening to see the bonding that has resulted from the efforts of hundreds of Kings Beach residents to save the three-lane alternative and the future of their community. A more informed citizenry will deliver lasting benefits to the end product of a walkable and family friendly town.
But Mr. Kranz’s legacy will be that he didn’t listen to the people who counted on him to further their dreams, rather than as a catalyst for change. Elected officials need to remember that they work for their constituents, and that they follow their own agendas at their peril come election day.
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