Fire danger, housing among priorities for Placer County Supervisor Cindy Gustafson
With Jennifer Montgomery’s resignation from the Placer County Board of Supervisors, Cindy Gustafson, a 36-year resident of North Lake Tahoe, will fill the seat.
“I’m certainly familiar with issues in North Lake Tahoe,” said Gustafson. “I think the biggest concern for all constituents is making sure their voice is heard,” she said. “We all want that same opportunity to be heard have our concerns taken seriously.”
Gustafson was appointed last week by a unanimous vote by board members and will soon resign as chief executive officer of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, where she has served since 2017.
Two issues that Gustafson says she will focus her attention on are fire danger and a lack of housing.
“I’ve been meeting with various groups throughout the county and this district,” she said. “I think taxpayers throughout the area are critically concerned about fire and fire safety.”
Working with the fire safe council, the fire departments and emergency response personnel, Gustafson said the priority in the event of a catastrophe would be the safety of residents.
“There’s been a lot of work done, but there’s more work to be done,” she said.
She also plans to combat the lack of housing options, which extends beyond North Lake Tahoe and Truckee.
“We know that issue very well up here, but it’s throughout the county,” she said. “There’s a concern for the lack of housing choices and a homeless issue on the west slope of the District.”
‘Right place, right time’
Gustafson has been working in the North Lake Tahoe area since the 1980s, holding several board seats in the region including the Tahoe Fund, Tahoe Truckee Unified School District and the Lake Tahoe Federal Advisory Committee.
She has also held various other positions on committees throughout the state, including the California Fish and Game Commission and as chair of the Blue Ribbon Task Force for the Marine Life Protection Act.
“When I was on state fish and game commission that was a pretty incredible responsibility, as well. But this is more related to my home, to my community, to this county that I have loved my entire adult life,” she said. “I’ve lived here and built my career here. I don’t know if that makes it a larger responsibility, but certainly a more personal responsibility.”
Before her position at the resort association, Gustafson worked for the Tahoe City Public Utility District for 26 years, serving eight of those years as general manager. In 2016, she was awarded the General Manager of the Year by the California Special District Association.
“Throughout my career I’ve been in the right place at the right time, for a lot of incredible opportunity, and this was a culmination of that,” she said.
Gustafson was one of 20 applicants who looked to fill Montgomery’s vacant seat. She will officially begin her term on April 22 and serve the remainder of Montgomery’s term which expires at the end of 2020.
The seat became vacant earlier this month when Montgomery announced that she is stepping down to accept an appointment by Gov. Gavin Newsom as director of the state’s Forest Management Task Force.
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or firstname.lastname@example.org.