Ten years later, Truckee’s going strong | SierraSun.com

Ten years later, Truckee’s going strong

LAW REVIEW, Jim Porter

Our favorite mountain town is 10 years old this week. Ten years since we were in O. B.’s Pub anxiously awaiting voter returns.

As Truckee’s biggest fan, I started to draft a Law Review enumerating Truckee’s attributes, its community-minded citizenry, council members without personal agendas, superb town manager and department heads, and hard working staff.

I got that dej^-vu-all-over-again feeling and remembered a Law Review I wrote on Truckee’s first birthday. Remembering anything these days is a feat of its own. The column stands true today, only the names of the council members and location of town hall have changed.

Here’s the verbatim Law Review dated April 21, 1994 titled, “Truckee: A Place Where People Can Make a Difference”:

“It has been one year since our little Town struck out on its own.

It seems like only yesterday that we were meeting to overthrow the firm, non-responsive grip of Nevada County. A better form of local government was the goal. “Local control, fill the potholes, plow the roads, keep our tax money” was the cry.

“It can be done,” said ringleaders George Ticknor and Kathleen Eagan. And the voters agreed, voting almost three to one in favor of the Town of Truckee.

A little more than a year ago the newly elected town council met for the first time – before their term of office began. You should have seen the look on their faces, “What do we do now? Where do we begin?” From that inauspicious beginning the council has moved steadily forward – first with the appointment of an interim, interim, interim town manager, then interim department heads, and after a thousand other decisions we now have a permanent crew, including a first-class town manager, Steve Wright.

The incorporation of Truckee has been an overwhelming success. Fiscally the town is sound (a low-snow winter didn’t hurt), most of the department heads and staff are in place, and a home has been found in the TDPUD building. Public works equipment has been purchased; we will even have two new trolleys this summer. Contracts have been signed for county services. Things look A-OK.

Much of the credit for the early success of the town belongs to the council members: indefatigable Mayor Kathleen Eagan, Vice Mayor Breeze Cross, Gary Botto, Joe Aguera and Bob Drake, who quickly moved on to supervisor and was replaced by Steve Carpenter.

There isn’t a politician in the group. The council’s only concern is the welfare of the town. In time they may become more politicized as do most elected officials, but for now, and hopefully forever, the council members are dedicated, unselfish, accessible, non-bureaucrats serving their community. They are learning fast.

The new planning commission is the same way, eager to serve, with open minds – something lacking in many governmental boards.

Steve Wright works well with the council. His department head appointments to date are impressive: personable young folks (everyone seems young these days) that seem to know what they are doing.

Call me a cheerleader, tell me it’s too early to tell, discount my favoritism, but from what I have seen the Town of Truckee is what local government is supposed to be. Responsive, non-political and efficient. And besides, despite early naysayers, our taxes haven’t gone up!

The key to the town, of course, is its residents. I can’t imagine a friendlier place to live (despite two recent malcontent Sierra Sun letter writers who disagree). Ours is a community. We are small enough that each of us can make a difference, and lots do. The number of community volunteers per capita must rank up there with the country’s highest. Certainly we have the best-educated work force in America. Maybe being the coldest spot in the nation is the gelling factor. Whatever it is, it works.

Truckee is a special place and the town council, planning commission and citizens will keep it so.

Happy Birthday Truckee.”

Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter-Simon, with offices in Truckee, South Lake Tahoe and Reno. He is a mediator and was the Governor’s appointee to the Bipartisan McPherson Commission and the California Fair Political Practices Commission. He may be reached at porter@portersimon.com or at the firm’s web site http://www.portersimon.com.