Placer Supervisor challengers talk Tahoe |

Placer Supervisor challengers talk Tahoe

Coming out of political obscurity and into the limelight of local politics, two candidates for supervisor of Placer County’s easternmost district vied for name recognition and votes Tuesday.

Neither Bob Houston nor Jennifer Montgomery have held political office before.

Montgomery is a 20-year Donner Summit resident and said, during an interview after a North Tahoe candidate’s forum Tuesday, that she is trying to meet as many people in the district as possible.

“The post office is an unbelievable treasure trove for meeting people,” she said. “In Colfax, I met 120 people in an hour.”

She said her grassroots efforts of meeting and greeting includes hosting pancake breakfasts and holding house parties in various locations throughout the district.

Montgomery runs a small business providing services for second homeowners and is married to a North Tahoe firefighter.

Houston owns a Sacramento-based lobbying firm that handles private and public clients. He said during the forum, held at the Kings Beach Community Conference Center, that his more than 30 years of advocating for clients within the halls of influence at the state capitol gives him the experience to advocate for District 5 residents. He has been married for 50 years and resides in Meadow Vista, coincidentally close to the incumbent Bruce Kranz, he said. He too emphasized the importance of reaching as many people as possible to gain more name recognition and spread his message.

While speaking to a group of approximately 40 North Tahoe residents Tuesday night, the challengers both said they believed the local community was not sufficiently involved in the decision-making process and that its needs have not been sufficiently represented in Auburn, the county’s seat of power.

“I want the Municipal Advisory Councils to have more power,” Houston said during his opening statement at the Kings Beach forum hosted by the North Tahoe Business Association and Tahoe Blue Toastmasters.

“I would work day and night to revitalize the Municipal Advisory Councils,” Montgomery said later during the event.

As the challengers answered audience questions they continually pointed out Kranz’s absence to the forum ” something that some of the 40-plus North Tahoe residents in attendance noticed as well.

“The 800-pound gorilla in the room tonight was the absence of Bruce Kranz,” said Tahoe Vista resident Theresa May Duggan. “It points to the failure of his leadership.”

But Kranz said, in phone interview the following day, that he is accessible. He was in Tahoe just one week previous for a similar candidate forum, participated in a three-candidate debate two weeks ago in Auburn and plans on attending a similar event next week in Auburn, he said.

“I’m an open book. I’ve got to run my own campaign. I can’t go to every one of these things,” he said.

But the missed forum meant something different to Tahoe Vista resident Dave Waller.

“I think it is characteristic of his lack of dedication to this side of the hill,” Waller said. “His alliance is to development and for me he has got to represent a balance between that and the community.”

Kranz explained that there will always be snipes about his leadership but again pointed to his accessibility with his monthly Coffee with Kranz community meetings.

“It is not like I’m hiding. I have my coffees and I am available it is nothing other than political noise from my opponents,” he said.

As of March 17, according to records at the Placer County elections department Houston had an ending balance of $86,341, Montgomery had $33,306 and Kranz had 92,098.

Houston has donated $100,000 to his campaign, he said.

Montgomery and Kranz have relied on donations from supporters, they said.

Bob Houston:

Jennifer Montgomery:

Bruce Kranz:

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