Readers write | SierraSun.com

Readers write

In 2004, I heard Senator Barack Obama’s speech at the Democratic National convention and thought, That man should be President. I am certain, today, that Sen. Obama is the right person to lead our county into the future and am volunteering with his grassroots campaign, even though Ive never been involved in politics before.The energy behind Senator Obama is magnetic. Donations are pouring in and volunteers are joining the campaign by the hundreds. Following and supporting him, I am proud to be an American.I want to thank the volunteers of Truckee for Obama who helped to make over 200,000 phone calls to undecided and decline-to-state voters in California. The Obama campaign had a goal to make 100,000 calls, and set a world record for the number of campaign calls made in one state in one day. We doubled that goal! Thank you for giving of yourselves to participate in our democratic process. I’ve heard many people express hopelessness in our government and our electoral system. Where would we be today if the men who signed the Declaration of Independence had given up?We can change the state of our nation. I believe Sen. Barack Obama, who refuses to take money from political action committees and lobbyists, who has the courage to speak out against injustice, has experience uniting Republican and Democrats to see beyond their differences and take action to solve serious problems, can implement those changes. He is a unifying force, a person with great integrity, compassionate, knowledgeable, eloquent and courageous.Please help by casting your vote for Sen. Barack Obama on Tuesday, Feb. 5. I hope the Sierra Sun will endorse Sen. Barack Obama for Democratic nominee.Kira YannettaTruckee

Its been interesting to watch the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board’s review of its executive director, John Singlaub. I must say I feel for public employees who are reviewed in this manner. Its distasteful to watch the ongoing saga.That said, it brought to mind a fundamental question: Where is the performance review for the TRPA Board of Governors? Every organization knows the ultimate responsibility for the performance of that organization rests with the board of directors, and while it’s great to see the TRPA board exercise its voice with the review of its executive, its also essential that the board be held to the same level of review and accountability. Given that the actions of the TRPA board affect every organization, agency, business, resident and visitor to the Tahoe Basin, the necessity of a board review goes without saying. Its surprising and at the same time troublesome that one has never been conducted.One of the most important functions that newly elected chairwoman Mara Bresnick should do is to take a leadership role to implement a performance review of the TRPA board. One of the major issues of contention under the surface with regard to the TRPA is the perceived lack of legitimacy of the TRPA board. Of the 15 board members, six are elected and nine are appointed and given the power to affect the lives of the community. Given that nine of the board members are, for the most part, unaccountable for their actions, a thorough and transparent performance review of the board would provide some level of accountability.The review should be conducted by someone from outside the agency, involve all levels of the community and those who interact with the agency, should focus on board performance and seek ways to improve how the board manages the agency. It should answer one basic question: How well is the board doing managing the agency?While it is great to see the TRPA board provide a public review of its executive director, the effort rings hollow without a similar performance review of itself. Madame Chairwoman, the public you serve is waiting.Carl RibaudoPresident Strategic Marketing Group Chairman Lake Tahoe South Shore Chamber of Commerce

The Jan. 31, 2008, edition of the Sierra Sun provided an excellent article about the Truckee Donner Public Utility District (TDPUD) new solar rebate program titled, Truckee Residents Turn to Solar for Savings. The article included a picture of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels installed at our home in Olympic Valley, which qualified for a rebate from the Sierra Pacific Power Company solar rebate program (www.solargenerations.com). The solar system was installed in December 2007.We also installed a solar water heating system, condensing gas boiler, insulation, and energy efficient windows, appliances, showerheads, aerators, and compact fluorescent lamps to reduce energy use by 50 to 70 percent. Energy efficiency and conservation reduced the size and cost of the solar systems. The article mentioned the Million Solar Roofs program (Senate Bill 1) with funding of $3.2 billion and a goal of creating 3,000 MW of solar electricity by 2017. Senate Bill 1 was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger on August 21, 2006. Readers might also be interested in learning about the California Solar Water Heating and Efficiency Act of 2007 or Assembly Bill 1470 which was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger on Oct. 12, 2007 (see http://www.californiaprogressreport.com/2007/10/california_sola.html). AB1470 has funding of $250 million and a goal of installing 200,000 solar water heating systems by 2017 with expected savings of 6.8 million tons of carbon dioxide per year or 5 percent of the total reductions needed to meet the states greenhouse gas emissions cap by 2020. As an added benefit, decreased demand for natural gas saves all ratepayers money. Studies have shown that a 5 percent reduction in demand could shave 25 percent to 35 percent off Californias wholesale natural gas prices. Energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy all play important roles in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. TDPUD, Sierra Pacific Power Company, Southwest Gas, propane companies, local governments, and citizens should work together to implement successful energy efficiency, solar electric, and solar water heating programs in the Tahoe-Truckee area to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.Robert Mowris, P.E.Olympic Valley

The good people of Truckee are an easy touch. In Friday’s issue of this paper there were three stories of agencies wanting more of our hard-earned money. After the easy time the hospital had in getting a $100 million bond measure passed, Im surprised there weren’t more than three. (Maybe I shouldn’t speak so soon.)First the schools want $93 million more. Then the fire district want their share. Lastly, the Truckee PUD, which after asking and receiving yet another rate increase of only 7 percent, is asking for another $15 a month. But only on a voluntary basis. Gee, there is a sucker born every minute as they say.After reading each article three times I came to the conclusion that each agency makes a strong case. Education is the most important investment for our future. Fire protection is extremely responsible and necessary. And who can argue with protecting our environment for future generations?But if I were King I wound demand accountability. Has the school district, the fire department and the PUD been responsible with the money we have been trusting them with or is there waste, redundancy, and/or mismanagement? We should know these things before yet again opening up our wallets. We should demand that an independent, outside accounting agency check out the books of all three of these businesses to see if they are being fiscally responsible with our money. I am sure all three could be more efficient with the money we already give them. But it is easier just to ask for more. Our family has had to make some difficult sacrifices to make ends meet in the last year. Food and gas prices and everything else has been going up a lot faster than wages. I am sure the schools, the fire department and the PUD could work out solutions if they tried hard enough. People of Truckee, don’t be so fast to approve another bond measure and increased property taxes without asking some tough questions. Or you’ll never see the end of people with their hands out. Frank CasellaTruckee