Sierra Sun candidate endorsements
October 24, 2006
There isnt much glory in public service. So why do people choose to run for a special district board or a town council that offer a minimal per diem, enormous amounts of reading and making difficult decisions?Well, from what weve learned through speaking with candidates over the last couple of weeks is that its all about giving back. One way or another, the majority of candidates are already involved in their communities coaching youth sports, sitting on nonprofit boards, trade groups or various other activities. They know what it takes and are committed to making a difference.For that we say thank you. And while weve endorsed specific candidates below, that in no way reflects negatively on those who we have not mentioned. After all, there remains an election to be held on Nov. 7.
Patrick Flora: Flora strikes us as a highly capable business owner who, as a builder and board member of the Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe, will bring an open mind and fiscally conservative approach to the board. Flora isnt sold on the districts broadband plan, which means he wont march in lockstep with a board majority on the issue in the future. He is open to the results that will come back from district customers on the broadband issue.As the district moves toward negotiating new power contracts, we believe Flora has the critical thinking skills to be a proactive board member who will work toward keeping rate increases to a minimum.Ron Hemig: From district financing to the intricacies of power contracts, we feel Hemig, a 12-year board member, knows his stuff. We are cautiously optimistic that Hemig can be flexible on broadband given his leadership role on the issue. With the delays in the broadband project, we are heartened that Hemig said there might still be a silver lining in that the long-standing proposal could take on a whole new look.As far as future power contracts and future electric rates, we believe Hemig has the experience, knack and interest to be involved in what both he and Flora agree is one of the most critical issues facing the district in the next five to 10 years. As all the other PUD candidates, Flora and Hemig are in favor of water meters as a way to ensure equality among customers, which we agree with. Both candidates also identified future turnover in senior management as a looming issue.
Seat 3: Theresa May Duggan: Theresa has a long record of success working with community organizations in Kings Beach and around North Tahoe. She is not afraid to innovate or think outside of the box. We believe she will bring a balanced fiscal approach to the board while not being afraid to try different methods to complete large projects like relocating sewer lines and improving recreation in the district. As a nearly 30-year resident of Tahoe, she knows the history and the players who will help her make informed decisions on the board. Theresa also has the communitys best interests in mind, and will vote for measures that benefit the whole district over the concerns of a few.Seat 4: Lane Lewis: Lewis pointed to his record of fiscal success on the North Tahoe Public Utility District board and his dedication to youth recreation as two of his strengths. We agree, as these are critical elements a director must bring to this table. During Lanes tenure on the board the district has built up an approximately $8 million reserve and is in a great position to tackle large projects like sewer line relocation. Lane has an intimate knowledge of the workings of the district, including technical knowledge far superior to the other candidates. Also during his time on the board, the district has had recreation accomplishments such as the completion of the Tahoe Vista Recreation Area below the price it was budgeted. Lane was also realistic in acknowledging pending issues that need to be addressed by the district in the future, like upgrading pipe systems.
Richard Anderson: Sitting down with Anderson is a lesson in just how valuable it is to have experience in town government. By filling a vacant two-year seat on the council in 2004, Anderson can now articulate at will the nuances of important issues like open space, town character, Truckees economy and council-staff dynamics, among other things.We feel that in Andersons approach to decision making he considers the whole spectrum of constituents and is not narrowed by biases.While Anderson relies on town staff he possesses critical thinking skills and a city planning background to come up with his own opinions.We believe his interest and concern about the viability of small business, of which he is an owner, is what Truckee needs to re-focus on as the town grows and out-of-town interests continue to play defining roles.We commend Mark Brown, Bob Cassidy and Carolyn Wallace Dee for their willingness to step forward and run for Truckee Town Council. It is an often-thankless job with a lot of work and little reward other than knowing youve made a difference.This trio of candidates, however, voiced broad-stroke approaches on town issues, which makes it difficult to select two of the three.
Bill Kraus: Kraus has the tools needed to make a difference on the Tahoe Truckee Unified School Districts board of trustees. In his relatively short time in the community, Kraus has been involved in campaigns to finance our schools above and beyond that of the state, he has worked on the community-wide Education Matters effort aimed at making our schools and students the best they can be.In short, he knows what goals the district needs to set in order to overcome the challenges it faces.Kraus recognizes the need to compensate teachers and staff at a higher level while balancing the needs of the district. That is a fine line we believe this candidate can manage. As part of the ongoing teacher recruitment-retention puzzle, we were pleasantly surprised to hear Kraus say the school district must become more involved in the workforce housing issue throughout the district.And most importantly, as a trustee, Kraus said he believes there is a need to break down the adversarial vibe that permeates the district from administration and staff to administration and parents. That is an observation we agree with completely.
Sandy Korth and Bill Quesnel: Love it, hate it or tolerate it, the airport isnt going anywhere. So the question is how to assemble a board that isnt weighted completely to one side pilots, or the other people concerned with noise. All that while being an efficient body knowledgeable of the technical yet understanding of the concerns of a significant portion of the community.Korth and Quesnel, both pilots, are the perfect counterweight to the three sitting, non-pilot board members. As members of the Airport Community Advisory Team, both Korth and Quesnel have worked to help the airport better understand those who have felt disenfranchised by past boards. Additionally, as part of the ACAT process, both candidates now have strong, well-rounded experience dealing with issues that will serve them well as board members. And, most important, Korth and Quesnel are fliers. It is crucial that several board members be pilots when others are not. The ability to understand technical aspects of issues, such as flight paths, is strengthened when one has actually done it. And while being a pilot is not necessarily a prerequisite to sit on the airport board, we feel that the addition of these two candidates will balance nicely the three sitting members.
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The Sierra Sun board contacted all five candidates for the three vacant seats on the hospital board. Only three responded: Larry Long, Roger Kahn and Brad Thomas.Without the participation of the other two we can only acknowledge the strengths of these three and say that we found them each to be knowledgeable and to have diverse and valuable career experience that would lend itself to board service. Each also commented on the hospitals Master Plan and the important role the board members will play in crafting and implementing it. We believe these three candidates would serve well in this capacity.