Ted Gaines gets up-close view of Lake Tahoe’s issues | SierraSun.com

Ted Gaines gets up-close view of Lake Tahoe’s issues

Matthew Renda
Sierra Sun
Matthew Renda/Sierra Sunand#8220;That was refreshing,and#8221; says a grinning Gaines as he swims back to the TRPA boat after jumping into Lake Tahoe Tuesday morning.

TAHOE CITY, Calif. and#8212; It’s pretty common for people to tell politicians to go jump in a lake.

On a fair, clear and placid Tuesday morning at Lake Tahoe, one of California’s 40 state senators did just that and#8212; granted, of course, he wasn’t following a sarcastic suggestion.

State Sen. Ted Gaines made his most recent trip to the Truckee/Tahoe area this week a memorable one, taking a break from learning about the region’s issues to execute a perfect cannonball into one of the lake’s deepest regions near Rubicon Point.

and#8220;That was refreshing,and#8221; said a grinning Gaines as he emerged from the cobalt waters.

It was all business from there, as Gaines took time to discuss a variety of legislative issues pertinent to the lake during an interview aboard the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s boat, including the implications of Nevada Senate Bill 271 on California’s legislators.

and#8220;I support SB 271,and#8221; he said. and#8220;It is sound, common sense legislation. There needs to be more even-handedness in the way projects are evaluated. Also, the local residents have the right to work in the community in which they live without being over regulated by the TRPA.and#8221;

and#8220;Economic development needs to be balanced with this lake’s beautiful environment,and#8221; Gaines continued. and#8220;We need solutions and not just a bunch of people that say and#8216;no, no, no.’and#8221;

When asked what he felt is the biggest issue currently facing California, Gaines said: and#8220;Jobs.and#8221;

and#8220;I represent a rural district, and people are really hurting in rural California right now,and#8221; he said.

The need to spur economic activity must always be weighed against undue exploitation of the state’s natural resources, Gaines said.

and#8220;I run, ski, cycle, engage in water sports,and#8221; he said. and#8220;When I had more time, I used to backpack. But I have a strong appreciation for the natural environment. You just need to have a common sense approach.and#8221;

For instance, selective logging, as opposed to clear-cutting wide swathes of forest, means that industry can create jobs and provide materials without entirely compromising the natural environment, he said.

Prior to his jump in the lake, Gaines spent time talking with TRPA External Affairs Chief Julie Regan and Aquatic Invasive Species Program Coordinator Ted Thayer about how increased algal growth has compromised lake clarity in the near shore regions.

Thayer further offered a tutorial on some of the agency’s invasive species prevention measures, along with other current species-controlling programs, including the installation of large rubber mats on the lake’s bottom with the intent of killing Asian clams.

Gaines also praised some of the other environmental projects being carried out by TRPA, including erosion control measures aimed at preventing sediment from entering the lake.

and#8220;It is a good use of state and federal funds,and#8221; he said.

Regarding political ambitions, Gaines said he is pleased with his current role as state senator and would be satisfied with another term.

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