My Turn: Support community decision making
July 22, 2008
When I decided to run for Placer County supervisor one of my main reasons was to restore a voice for communities within the district.
I’d seen firsthand and heard all too often from people throughout the district that they felt their voices weren’t valued as related to decisions about future growth and quality of life of their communities.
So I was saddened, but not surprised, when Supervisor Kranz recently led the effort on the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board imperiling the Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement Project by rejecting the “three-lane hybrid” alternative. An alternative which had been recommended by Placer County’s own public works department and unanimously approved by both the TRPA Advisory Planning Commission and the Placer County Planning Commission.
In public comments, Mr. Kranz indicated that he felt “consensus” on this project had never been reached. Presumably, that feeling was why he torpedoed a decade of public process and hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. A process that resulted in a 3,200-page environmental impact report on a project that, according to the county’s Web site, would improve Lake Tahoe water quality, improve Kings Beach’s streetscape, pedestrian and bicycle access and “will enhance the overall appearance” of downtown Kings Beach.
Having attended many of the meetings and workshops, I can only say that if “consensus” was not reached on this project, then the word has no meaning.
Was support for the three lane hybrid unanimous? Certainly not. There remain passionate advocates on all sides of this issue.
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But a look at the public record from the many workshops and hearings held on the project unmistakably shows that majority public support for the three-lane alternative is solid. Furthermore, institutional support for this configuration is nearly unanimous and spans the spectrum, from the environmental and family advocacy communities to the business and development communities; groups who often find themselves on opposite sides of such issues.
Groups publicly supporting the Kings Beach plan with the three-lane configuration include: the Sierra Business Council, the North Tahoe Business Association, the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, the League to Save Lake Tahoe, the Tahoe Group of the Sierra Club, the North Tahoe Family Resources Center, the North Tahoe Main Street Economic Restructuring Committee, and many others to numerous to list here.
Consensus was achieved. About this, there can be no doubt. If Mr. Kranz had other concerns about this project, he should have articulated those to county staff long before countless hours and our taxpayer dollars were wasted. That’s called leadership.
Finally, Mr. Kranz seems surprised that there’s been backlash directed his way. He shouldn’t be. One of the ongoing criticisms of TRPA is that because its members are appointed they are not accountable to voters. Bruce Kranz is the only TRPA member actually elected by North Shore residents. His job is to represent them and Placer County is the lead agency on this project. They feel let down and, once again, left out of the process by their elected representative. Who wouldn’t be upset?
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