Sun editoral: Our endorsements for local 2010 election races
October 21, 2010
TRUCKEE/TAHOE, Calif. andamp;#8212; Off-presidential election years andamp;#8212; while less galvanizing nationally andamp;#8212; still allow us to dig deep into our regional and local races.After co-sponsoring and attending a number of election forums and performing independent research, the Sierra Sun is endorsing candidates vying for spots on the eight hyper-local races for Truckee and Tahoe government positions.Truckee-Donner Recreation andamp; Park District andamp;#8212; Kevin Murphy, Peter Werbel, Kristin YorkWhile this race, on the surface, gives residents a say in which three people will lead the district over the next four years, it ultimately boils down to whether or not the community wishes to fund a ballot measure to fund a new aquatics and performing arts center and the construction of new trails. For the most part, the campaigns of all the candidates for the three seats have centered on this issue.The important thing to remember here is this: Regardless of the arguments in favor that boast of the great amenities residents and business owners will get, or those against that question just how well this is being planned during an economically unstable time, the residents will get the final say in whether or not they want to pay more taxes to pay off the bond debt. With this in mind, we endorse incumbents Kevin Murphy and Peter Werbel, and challenger Kristin York. Murphy and Werbel deserve another term after representing a district responsible for the newly opened community center, a true gem of a building that has earned both it and the district top honors from the state of California.York represents a fresh view for the board, one that appears to demand fiscal responsibility and transparency, and her concerns with the proposed bond measure are very valid ones, concerns that should and must be reviewed by the board before the next phase: Gauging resident support for the measure to go on a future ballot.Truckee Fire Protection District andamp;#8212; Gerald Herrick, Victor Hernandez, Paul Wilford As a newspaper, we value transparency and the public process on the highest of levels, which is why we cringed this past summer as controversies unfolded with the Truckee fire board, notably the boardandamp;#8217;s apparent ignorance regarding the Brown Act and when it is appropriate to enter closed sessions, and its apparent ignorance to some of the operational decisions being made by district staff.A governing board elected by the people must be involved and transparent regarding how the district does its business. The people demand it andamp;#8212; whether itandamp;#8217;s following procedure with the town of Truckee when it comes to filling out building permits, or following professional courtesy with regional fire districts so everyone involved is aware of operational moves Truckee Fire is making andamp;#8212; the board needs to know whatandamp;#8217;s going on. It didnandamp;#8217;t, and it all eventually led to the board cutting ties with its chief. It is unacceptable for things to blow up that badly that it requires the leader of a multi-million dollar public agency to be let go.The above reasons are why we endorse Gerald Herrick, Victor Hernandez and Paul Wilford to be new members of the Truckee fire board. These three candidates all show a passion for following the public process and governing a public agency the way it should.Tahoe City Public Utility District andamp;#8212; Dan WilkinsWe endorse Dan Wilkins for another term on the Tahoe City Public Utility District. Danandamp;#8217;s experience in public works and civil engineering are outstanding, and he has proven during public forums and in his campaign he is devoted to working on projects that North and West Tahoe residents care about, and we feel he will do his best to listen to what the public majority wants and to vote for whatandamp;#8217;s best for the district.North Tahoe Public Utility District andamp;#8212; Sue DanielsBoth Sue Daniels and Phil Thompson are long-time locals who understand the needs and wants andamp;#8212; and the difference between the two andamp;#8212; of the North Tahoe community. While both would make excellent candidates for the North Tahoe Public Utility District board, we can only choose one, which is why we endorse Sue Daniels for another term. We feel her experience on the current board and her deep community ties will carry over for another four years.Truckee Town Council andamp;#8212; Richard Anderson, Carolyn Wallace Dee, Mark BrownWe endorse incumbents Richard Anderson, Carolyn Wallace Dee and Mark Brown for another town council term. The current board is in the middle of a very interesting time regarding a slew of development projects on the table, notably the hotly debated Canyon Springs and Hilltop proposals, and we feel these three candidates have a solid understanding of the town of Truckee and what the majority of its residents want, and they will vote based on that. Furthermore, the current board has approved the idea of embarking on a dedicated review of paid parking, undoubtedly one of the biggest issues for Truckee, and we feel these three candidates and the current board deserve the opportunity to listen to possible ways to deal with redevelopment agency funding subsidizing the parking district, and then vote on how to move forward based on their constituentsandamp;#8217; desires.Truckee Tahoe Airport District andamp;#8212; Bob Cohune, Katie MorrisonBesides the Recreation and Park district, the airport district has been the other local race featuring more than one challenger running on the same campaign. While we applaud Katie Morrison and John Jones for agreeing on almost every issue, we feel itandamp;#8217;s in the best interest of the airport and the community for the boardandamp;#8217;s two newest members to have some diversity, which is why we endorse Bob Cohune and Katie Morrison. Morrisonandamp;#8217;s experience as a pilot, as a member of Airport Community Advisory Team and as a strong community member should bode well for her to be able to represent the flying and non-flying public. Cohune pledges to govern the district the way a board member should: By allowing the district to perform its necessary operational and administrative tasks, but also being there along the way to make sure things are being done the right away, and asking necessary, and at times tough, questions when appropriate.Truckee Donner Public Utility District andamp;#8212; Tony Laliotis, Dan WarrenWe endorse Tony Laliotis and Dan Warren for the two open seats on the Truckee Donner Public Utility District board. Laliotis came on this year after the tragic passing of Pat Sutton andamp;#8212; we feel he deserves a full term because he has an excellent background in utilities and public works in Tahoe City and he clearly possesses a strong knowledge of the Truckee Donner PUD and the issues it has faced and, more importantly, those that are coming. Warren offers a fresh perspective for the district, one that should be a great asset to the current board because of creative ideas and ways to look at the big challenges coming soon for district, notably getting and maintaining reliable renewable power.Tahoe Forest Hospital District andamp;#8212; John MohunWe endorse John Mohun for the 2-year seat on the hospital board. While both Mohun and Bob Hartsfield are qualified for this role, we give the edge to Mohun based on his familiarity with technological advancements that could reduce the hospital districtandamp;#8217;s costs, and his medical background, which is an important component to have when governing a hospital district.