My Turn: Leadership lacking for KB core plan
July 18, 2008
In response to Placer County Supervisor Bruce Kranz’s July 10 opinion column (), I fear that he misread the straw poll vote taken at the June 25 Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board meeting.
My understanding is that whatever alternative is voted on for the Kings Beach plan, a super-majority vote of five California board members and nine board members in total is required. While the Placer County recommendation of a three-lane hybrid alternative did not pass the vote that day, the straw poll vote to support the four-lane alternative revealed that it would not pass either, as it did not receive the five California votes required.
Perhaps Supervisor Kranz has received some indication that those votes have since changed, but that straw poll did not illustrate sufficient support for the four-lane alternative that he states in his column. I certainly hope that Supervisor Kranz has done his homework to ensure that Kings Beach has any project at all, as we may not have sufficient votes for either alternative as illustrated that day.
Given that Supervisor Kranz is the Placer County seat on the TRPA board, I see it as his duty to provide leadership to the other board members for his own county’s project. There are many facets to what leadership means, so to clarify what I mean here by leadership is that his role as county supervisor is to lead and influence project stakeholders to move towards the achievement of its goals.
Given the stated goals of the project 1) pedestrian and bicycle safety and mobility, 2) enhanced water quality, 3) enhanced downtown aesthetic, Supervisor Kranz owes it to his constituency to provide us with a solution that moves us closer to achieving those goals. As he states in his column, he urges Placer County staff “to move ahead on the four-lane option immediately to fix the long-endured traffic problems of Kings Beach.”
Sadly, Supervisor Kranz misses the point and goals of the project, and this is perhaps why he has not provided the leadership to date to achieve those goals.
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I spoke with Supervisor Kranz last fall about this project at one of his monthly coffees at Gar Woods where he shared with a group of us that he was working to ensure that the TRPA board would vote on the project before the Placer County Board of Supervisors.
I questioned his rationale for that, as I would have thought the supervisors would want to take a leadership vote on the project given that they were the lead agency on the project. He stated that he didn’t want to waste time presenting an alternative to the supervisors that potentially wouldn’t be supported by TRPA.
The Placer County Board of Supervisors was deprived of the opportunity to take a leadership role on the project because they were moved to the “end of the line.” I suspect that the TRPA board members would have taken the official county opinion under consideration, had it been available at that time.
In light of this void of opinion, however, Governing Board Member Tim Leslie made a succinct point in the board discussion on June 25 that the three-lane hybrid recommendation was not an official county recommendation, but merely a staff proposal.
What a missed opportunity that was for the TRPA board as well, as they would have benefited by hearing the official county recommendation prior to voting. I feel that Supervisor Kranz did a disservice to his fellow board of supervisor colleagues, Placer County staff, as well as his district constituents by strategizing to have the board of supervisors’ vote after the governing board.
If they had the opportunity, they could have provided direction to Placer County staff based on any concerns they may have had, which would have potentially resulted in an even better project. Instead, the culmination of millions of taxpayer dollars spent over a decade on planning has been squandered with an outright rejection of the product of that effort. It seems that if county leadership could have weighed in with their concerns earlier that a refinement of the recommendation would have been preferable.
Now, we are experiencing the political gridlock that Supervisor Kranz cites in his column and, unfortunately, he has created on his own.
The request for a TRPA board vote of reconsideration is a positive corrective action to the process itself, as the board now has the opportunity to consider the official Placer County position on the project as part of their own decision. I also believe that given the considerable institutional and community support for the three-lane hybrid recommendation as evidenced in public record, that a “consensus” is at hand.
What is a consensus? Unanimity? No. Rather, a clear majority of public and institutional opinion seems reasonable, and that majority consistently weighs in at 60 to 80 percent of public opinion and greater than 90 percent of institutional opinion ” simply consult public record.
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