Q&A with the candidates: special districts | SierraSun.com
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Q&A with the candidates: special districts

Sierra Sun staff

A handful of special districts have contested seats in the Nov. 3 election. However, some candidates won’t appear on a ballot. Their election is assured, because the number of people seeking seats doesn’t require a vote.

Truckee Donner Recreation & Park District — VOTE FOR TWO

Jason Hansford

Age: 52

Occupation: Developer

Hometown: Truckee for 30 years

WHY RUN

I believe that recreation directly improves the quality of life for individuals and the community at large. I want to ensure that the TDRPD continues to provide a wide variety of active and passive recreation amities and programming. As a current board member, I want to continue the work the board has done to ensure that the TDRPD continues to provide the greatest numbers of services for the greatest number of users. Additionally, I want to ensure that the TDRPD operates in a sustainable manner while balancing services offered and dollars allocated to maintaining the district’s facilities.

SKILLS/EXPERIENCE

As a current board member and member of the finance committee, I have four years of direct job experience with the district. As I am a current member and past president of the Rotary of Club of Truckee, I have worked with community leaders and nonprofit organizations to build relationships to identify, assess and meet needs within our community. I am an effective leader and have extensive experience with land development and project management. I am an effective board member because I listen to staff, customers and community members to make sure that decisions are informed and transparent.

GOALS

I want to ensure that the district continues to offer exceptional services to our community and visitors. I want to leverage partnerships with special districts, nonprofits, local business and other organizations to make sure we offer programs and facilities as efficiently as possible. I want to continue our work to fund capital improvements to ensure our facilities are in good condition and available for users in future years.

Lori Marquette

Age: 58

Occupation: Retired peace officer/college lecturer

Hometown: Truckee

WHY RUN

As an avid outdoors woman, I am passionate about accessibility. I want to make sure our Truckee activities are available to all of our community members. I also want to make sure that all voices in our community are heard and their concerns are brought to the table. Education and safety are also extremely important to me. Having managed police services in a small California city, I know how important it is that our community members stay safe while enjoying our facilities. As an educator at California State University, East Bay and previously at Sierra College, I am passionate about involving, educating and supporting adults and our youth through high quality programming.

SKILLS/EXPERIENCE

I am excited to bring my over 30 years’ experience as a public servant in California to the Truckee Donner Recreation and Parks Department. My background in developing and implementing policies, creating town hall meetings; supervising task forces; engaging federal, state and local agencies as well as my previous board position for the Safe House; and managing charity events such as Stuff the Bus for At-Risk Youth will all benefit communication and collaboration on the recreation and parks board. Since moving to Truckee, I have put my heart and soul into this community by doing anything I can to help people out. Examples include, volunteering for Sierra Relief Kitchen and Tahoe Truckee Senior Services to assisting with the training programs at the Alzheimer’s Association for Northern California/Nevada chapter. I have experienced firsthand how big hearted this community is and I am excited to get more deeply involved.

GOALS

As a five-year resident of Truckee, my goal on the Parks and Rec Board would be to bring an enthusiastic spirit of collaboration and communication. The three decades that I have spent in service to the public have taught me the value and importance of listening to others. Since I arrived in Truckee, I have dedicated my time to volunteering for many of the amazing organizations that make the community so special. I am excited for the opportunity to bring together my passion for this town, our fantastic recreation opportunities and my love of helping others. While I may be one of the newer residents running for the board, I can assure you that I am also very passionate about the position. I would be thrilled for you to consider voting for me in our upcoming election. Thank you and I’ll see you on the trails!

Mark Tanner

Age: 50

Occupation: General contractor

Hometown: Truckee

WHY RUN

I would like to finish the renovation of the Community Arts Center Downtown Park that I spearheaded and that we began almost two years ago. Unfortunately, with COVID we weren’t able to raise the remaining funds needed in 2020 to start and complete and I am hoping we are able to do this in 2021. I want to continue to give back to the community I call home. I feel the TDRPD is the most progressive entity in town that is able to reach and provide services to all ages and types of people.

SKILLS/EXPERIENCE

I have been on the TDRPD board for four years now and have been involved in numerous community sporting and recreational activities and I know what this community’s needs are.

GOALS

I want to complete the Community Arts Center Downtown Park Project and really work to take care of the maintenance needs of the current facilities that have had deferred maintenance postponed over the years. I want to keep a fiscally responsive TDRPD.

Truckee Donner Public Utility District — VOTE FOR THREE

Joseph Aguera

Age: 82

Occupation: Retired funeral director

Hometown: Truckee

WHY RUN

I’d like to finish some projects that we’ve got going. Just to see it through. Run again so I can finish some of the business that we have at hand, and I‘ve been on the board 32 years. It’s been a little over 32 years. My first term I was appointed to the board and I finished someone else’s term. And then I had to run for office. Four years ago was my last one. I think I’ve got another four years in me.

SKILLS/EXPERIENCE

I’ve been on the board 32 years. It’s already been a part of my life, something that’s built into me now. It’s another activity for me to do. I live alone and I go to the doctor, and the post office, and the pharmacy and that’s about it. It’s part of me, I don’t know why I shouldn’t run again.

GOALS

I’ve been on it so long, and it seems like I’m only one board member I know. It seems like I’ve done well in my voting, and we have a good PUD here. It’s a good, well-oiled machine, and I’m glad I have a part in that. And I’d just like to keep that going. And now we just started last night a strategic plan for the future, and this project’s gonna run about three months, and maybe I’ll be part of it, maybe I won’t. We’ll see after the election. If the ratepayers want to vote for a candidate I’m thinking that I’m a good candidate for the TDPUD board. I’m a built-in candidate. I’m already indoctrinated to it.

Jeff Bender

Age: 45

Occupation: Professional mechanical engineer, general contractor and TDPUD director

Hometown: Truckee

WHY RUN

I have never been more excited to be a board member at the TDPUD. My goals and passion for this community and utility district are the key reasons I’m running for reelection. TDPUD’s outlook is challenging yet extremely bright, and I am eager to take on the work. I have several long term and more immediate goals such as expanding our broadband service to provide the communication backbone for our community, including emergency services and online schooling; 100% renewable energy by 2027 which coincides with the 100-year anniversary of the TDPUD; and community collaboration which has already kicked off via our new GM and I meeting with community leaders at the airport district, town of Truckee, sanitary district, fire district and other local water agencies. There are many projects where we can work with other agencies such as constructing underground power, replacing and fixing leaking water lines, and providing connections with the TDPUD communication fiber optic ring, to name a few. I have enjoyed my time as a director at the TDPUD and feel I have a lot more to contribute. I feel honored to be able to share my expertise and enthusiasm to make a positive impact on the community in which I live, work and raise my family.

SKILLS/EXPERIENCE

I have been a director at the TDPUD since 2008. I have served through the great recession, a drought, wildfire seasons and now COVID-19. I have also served four years as Special District Representative on LAFCo and two years as commissioner on the town of Truckee Planning Commission. Under my tenure at the TDPUD and as the current board president, the district has very successfully completed the transition process and hiring of our new general manager. I am a professional mechanical engineer and general contractor and have had my own business in Truckee since 2005, which focuses on energy efficiency. I believe I have proven myself to be fiscally responsible, yet still possess the long-term vision and passion to accomplish the difficult tasks we face regarding climate change, greenhouse gas reduction, energy efficiency and renewable power. If reelected, and with relationships already in place with the leaders in this community, I can continue on with all the projects and vision of the future I am so passionate about. I feel as a father, husband, business owner, outdoor enthusiast and accomplished director at the TDPUD, I have the skills, experience, empathy and passion to continue to represent this community.

GOALS

There are many exciting projects which I would like to see to fruition: broadband fiber communication; 100% renewable energy by 2027; a carbon free water system; water and power infrastructure improvements; electrification through increased incentives for energy efficiency improvements; and increased incentives for water efficiency.

With wildfires and emergencies all too common in our state, communication during emergencies is extremely important. As is the need for our children to reliably connect to classes for online learning. Communication connectivity is at the forefront of our lives, and the TDPUD is gearing up to expand its gigabit fiber network starting with our local agencies and districts. The district already has a functioning fiber optic communication ring in the community and miles of conduit in the ground, so we are poised to start making this happen.

One hundred percent renewable power is well within our grasp and my goal to hit 100% by 2027 is on track. In August of this year, the district already had 70% in renewable power.

Electrification for the built environment and for transportation to reduce the effects of climate change is another goal. Rather than penalizing our community to make this happen, I want to increase the incentives for electric vehicles and energy improvements and electrification of our buildings.

For more information about me, please visit my Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/Bender4PUD

Bob Ellis

Age: 65

Occupation: Realtor associate

Hometown: Truckee

WHY RUN

I am running for the Truckee Donner PUD Board because I want to contribute to the community and maintain the low rates in electric and water that we have in comparison to other, similar districts in California without blackouts and a higher percentage of renewable energy than other utilities. We as a board have performed very well together in the last eight years, and I believe we have done a very good job in hiring a new general manager based on the wants of the community, reducing our debt load on both the water and electric sides of the business, and increasing rates less than inflation for both electric and water. How many utility districts can say that! However, we have more work to do and I would like to be involved in moving to the next level and getting to 100% renewable energy in Truckee! I believe we can do this with careful planning and strategic contracts for power in the future. That is why I would like to be reelected to the Truckee Donner PUD Board for four more years!

SKILLS/EXPERIENCE

My skills and experience are wide and vast. I have been an analyst for Peterbilt Motors in the past, working with economic forecasts, evaluating balance sheets and income statements, forecasting future market moves and future income and expenses. My education includes a bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University and a few years later, while working full time, I earned a master’s of business administration from Pepperdine University. I have also been on the Board of Directors of the Far West Ski Association as the vice president of Racing since 2004, and have been a judge for the FWSA Athletic Scholarship for ski racers in their teens since 2007, and we have awarded several hundred racers scholarships in the western United States. I have also been a board member of the TDPUD for the last eight years, and I was president of the board two times in that time period. I understand financials and strategic planning, and I believe that is a great skill to have for this position.

GOALS

I would like to continue the great job we have done as a board on our financials, continue to improve our energy contracts to get to 100% renewables without blackouts, maintain our low rates in comparison to other districts, and improve the rebuilding of our water system for the future. I would like to eventually be debt free, which would give us much more flexibility financially in the future.

Kim Harris

Age: 52

Occupation: Human resources professional

Hometown: Riverside (lived in Truckee since 1993)

Website: http://www.HarrisforTruckeeDonnerPUD.com

WHY RUN

I’m passionate about serving our community. I feel that my six years’ experience working on the senior management team at Truckee Donner PUD will be a benefit to the community by ensuring transparency, fiscal responsibility and to keep the focus on 100% renewable energy and reliable water and electric service to our customers.

SKILLS/EXPERIENCE

I have served on local boards such as Soroptimist International of Truckee-Donner and Tahoe Sierra Meadows HOA. I have over 15 years of human resources and risk management experience from local businesses such as Truckee Donner PUD, Tahoe Donner Association, Mark Tanner Construction, and my own consulting company, I understand that employees make up a good portion of any company budget and expense. Understanding and ensuring the costs associated with employment such as safety, wages, benefits and other relevant expenditures puts me ahead of the curve when overseeing policy implementation.

GOALS

I want to make sure that Truckee Donner PUD is listening to its customers, both internal (employees) and external (ratepayers). I want to ensure that relevant water and electric projects and communications with the community and employees are happening regularly and that the website is a reliable source of information that is easily accessible and up to date.

Cathy Stewart

Age: 62

Occupation: Businesswoman, now retired

Hometown: Truckee for over 20 years

Website: http://www.cathystewartfortdboard.com

WHY RUN

I am committed to leading the TDPUD toward a future that ensures the highest water quality possible and a focus on renewal energy sources over fossil fuels

SKILLS/EXPERIENCE

I have cherished being an active member and resident of the Truckee community since 1999. I have served on the Northstar Community Service District Board since 2013 — the last three years as president of the board. During my time with NCSD I worked closely with staff and other board members in the collaborative implementation of forest management/fire prevention, water rates restructuring, trails system and, of course, superior water quality.

GOALs

I fully support renewable energy, water conservation and the Clean Energy Initiative of the Truckee community. I am committed to leading TDPUD toward a future that ensures superior water quality and renewable energy over fossil fuels.


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