Remaining Contested Elections, In Brief

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TOT UPGRADE: Town of Truckee voters will decide in the upcoming election whether to increase the “hotel tax,” from 10% to 12%. Photo by Wade Snider/Moonshine Ink

BY BECCA LOUX & MAYUMI ELEGADO | Moonshine Ink

In addition to the races for Truckee Town Council and the airport board, three other local governing boards are contested. Below is a short recap of each, taken from the community candidate forums, hosted by Tahoe Truckee Media. Check out the full videos on Channel 6 TTHS TV Station’s YouTube channel.

Truckee-Donner Recreation & Park District

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Candidates (vote for two): Jason Hansford (incumbent), Lori Marquette, Mark Tanner

TDRPD candidates are looking to the future: Tanner said he’s running for reelection primarily to “revitalize the downtown community park that was taken on about a year-and-a-half ago” which he identified as a “huge need” in our community. Hansford, also running for reelection to the board, described the TDRPD as a “cornerstone” of our community and said his focus will be on “financial responsibility to sustain facilities and programming that our community has come to expect.”

When asked about ideas for how to make facilities financially sustainable: Tanner discussed funding options via  a donations system similar to the one that funds the bike park to be applied to the Donner Lake piers; Hansford stressed the importance of the private-public partnerships the TDRPD relies on for funding for these kinds of projects; Marquette, meanwhile, brought up the need for seeking outside resources especially with the influx of new residents, stating that the agency should reach out to “foundations in the area … and also the other stakeholders” for collaboration.

North Tahoe Public Utility District

Candidates (vote for three): Sarah Coolidge (incumbent), Tim Ferrell (incumbent), Danielle Hughes, Phil Thompson (incumbent)

We asked the candidates (Ferrell was not present) in the Sept. 10 candidate forum why it does not appear that the NTPUD will meet the mandate that all water purveyors in the state reduce water use per capita by 20% by 2020. Coolidge highlighted that in the last four or five years, this has been a top priority and cited success with projects blocking leaks in old pipes, of which she said more are needed, explaining that the “challenge is we have a huge population increase, especially in the summer [and] they use a lot of water.” Fellow incumbent Thompson went so far as to say that “it does not appear” the NTPUD will hit that mark, yet he said they are still “fighting hard” to do so.

When we posed the question about a regional structure with numerous agencies that deal with wastewater, Thompson mentioned their partnership with the Tahoe-Truckee Sanitation Agency and having a member representative on their board. Coolidge said that while NTPUD is not directly responsible for sewage once it leaves the district, TTSA and other agencies managing waste have a “direct impact on our rate payers” as well as on the board itself and called for “economies of scale” and “consistency across the board whenever we can have it.” Hughes brought up her background in water quality and hydrology and recommended that “with climate change and adaptation strategies in the Lake Tahoe Basin we actually need to look at alternative use of our wastewater.”

Truckee Donner Public Utility District

Candidates (vote for three): Joseph R. Aguera, Jeff Bender, and Bob Ellis (incumbents); Kim Harris, Cathy Stewart

On the TDPUD’s fire prevention budget, incumbent Aguera discussed the unprecedented need for an increase, though he stated the current budget is “probably not enough still,” while Bender concurred, stating that the extra half a million dollars meets their goals for this year but not beyond. Challenger Harris said the TDPUD has done a good job so far but “could reach out to the community” for better education opportunities, expanding into schools and collaborating with other fire districts. (Stewart was not present at the forum).

Regarding the energy mix for the TDPUD, Ellis noted that the district utilized over 70% renewables in the month of August, while Harris suggested looking for opportunities to move to 100% renewables and energy conservation techniques, and that the district should do better to reach out to the Hispanic community regarding efficiency. Aguera and Bender are confident the TDPUD can hit state-mandated goals, with Bender projecting his wish of hitting 100% renewable energy at the 100-year anniversary of the TDPUD in 2027.

Where are the people?

There are more uncontested races than contested for local boards:

Tahoe Truckee Unified School District Board (two open seats): Kristen Livak, Chris Hennessey (incumbents)

North Tahoe Fire Protection District (three open seats), Division 1: Michael Baffone (incumbent); Division 3: Dennis J. Correa (incumbent)

Truckee Fire Protection District (two open seats): Gerald W. Herrick, Erin Prado (incumbent)

Tahoe Forest Hospital District (three open seats): Art King, Michael C. McGarry, Alyce Wong (incumbents)

Truckee Sanitary District (two open seats): Brian Smart, Denny Anderson (incumbents)

Tahoe City Public Utility District (three open seats): Ellie Beals, Judy Friedman, Dan Wilkins (incumbent)

Donner Summit Public Utility District (two open seats): Cathy A. Preis, Robert W. Sherwood (incumbents)

So what’s all this talk about Measure K?

Measure K, voted onto the Truckee ballot by the Truckee Town Council on July 23 of this year, proposes an additional 2% to be added to the Transient Occupancy Tax (up to 12% from its current 10%) to fund:

• Facilitation of housing that essential professionals like teachers, nurses, firefighters, police, and paramedics can afford

• Provision of housing that is affordable to low- and middle-income workers and local families who are struggling to rent or buy a home

• Preparedness for wildfires and other natural disasters

• Acquisition and permanent preservation of natural open space lands

During the candidate forums, town council member Anna Klovstad and Truckee Donner Land Trust Executive Director Perry Norris went on record in favor of Measure K. Klovstad stressed that the increase does a lot of good “without raising taxes for Truckee residents or businesses.” Norris read an email from a local couple who are a teacher and small business owner who said they were recently outbid on a home, which he says highlights how “our workers that make this town tick cannot afford to live here.” This problem, he emphasized, is ready to be addressed but simply needs a funding mechanism, which the TOT increase will address. Moderator Tahoe Truckee Media’s Rory O’Farrell, stated that no opposition perspectives were found, but promised to edit in any comments from opposition viewpoints if they were sent in after the fact.

Web excerpt (200 characters max): What’s up in other contested and uncontested local races? Plus, who’s supporting Measure K?

Email excerpt (180 characters max): Local Elections: What’s up in other contested and uncontested local races? Plus, who’s supporting Measure K?

Social media cut: What’s up in other contested and uncontested local races? Plus, who’s supporting Measure K?

URLs:

Candidate forums:

Sept 9 forum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OfashuqD1s

Sept 10 forum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwUstbeHZZw&t=4539sTags: election 2020, Measure K, Truckee, Tahoe, NTPUD, TDRPD, NTPUD

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