Letter: Cruise ships are ocean outhouses | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Letter: Cruise ships are ocean outhouses

Carnival Cruise Line and Princess Lines (aka Traveling Toilets, Sea Sanitarios, Ocean Outhouses) were fined $40 million for polluting the world’s ocean. That’s pulling the plug on the water we swim in, the fish we catch and eat.

Every time I see one of those enormous cruising crappers I think about what’s down below. Just think of the thousands of human beings aboard and what they all are doing a half hour after each call to the dining table, and don’t think for a minute they haven’t been doing this for years. Think about the reality of an adventure on the HMS Thunder Mug the next time you think about taking an open-ocean experience. Gives new meaning to Mutiny on the Baño. Same old, same old — nobody went to jail.

Ron Bahlman

South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Letter: Helping the homeless in South Lake Tahoe

We are Maiella and Milan Riva and Lily Demus, and we are collecting warm gloves, socks and thermals for our Tahoe Warm Room and for the less fortunate of South Lake Tahoe. Our goal this first year is to collect 50 of the above items by Dec. 16 to donate. Ten items will be donated to our friends who sponsor a thermal drive to benefit the homeless in Reno.

Please help us reach our goal and drop one of the above items, new or gently used, in the box in the front office of South Tahoe Middle School or Bijou Community School.

We are so grateful and thankful for your support in our fundraiser.

Maiella, Lily, and Milan

(Pictured below.)

TRPA Opinion: Funding Lake Tahoe’s transportation system

By now, most people have heard: Federal courts upheld the 2012 Regional Plan for Lake Tahoe, affirming the blueprint that maintains development caps and strengthens environmental protections while encouraging community revitalization, redevelopment, and updated infrastructure.

Capturing the most attention these days is the traffic in our small communities from millions of people who drive up to enjoy our lake. And the transportation system is where TRPA is giving more focused attention to benefit Tahoe’s environment, economy, and quality of life.

TRPA is working on its transportation plan, Linking Tahoe, as an essential foundation to maintain Tahoe’s quality of life. We have reached out to residents, visitors, and government partners, and heard from all of them that Tahoe’s transportation system needs major improvements. 

Recent project approvals just outside the Tahoe Basin have heightened public scrutiny of the region’s transportation shortcomings. During peak times, roadways are clogged, parking areas are full, there’s a shortage of places to charge electric vehicles, and transit service is limited.

And that’s not the whole of it. Population growth in Reno, Sacramento, and the Bay Area means tens of thousands more people will be traveling to our region to enjoy the lake and mountains on any given day in years to come. Finding ways to better handle this visitation is a reality that needs to be addressed.

As these metro areas grow, we cannot simply build a wall to keep people out or build bigger roads to accommodate more traffic. We need a mix of solutions: targeted road and parking projects, transit services and transit priority lanes, bike and pedestrian routes, better technology, and creative strategies to manage traffic volumes.

We need to make it easier and more rewarding for people to get to, from, and around the Tahoe Basin without having to get in a car at all.

The biggest question is how to pay for these improvements. November election results on transportation funding measures give us a better sense of what the public is willing to support.

All around California, voters both supported and rejected sales tax and bond measures to pay for transportation projects. In the Bay Area, voters overwhelmingly passed ballot measures to raise billions of dollars in funding for roads, trails, affordable housing, and transit where they live and work.

Nationwide, voters passed 34 of 49 local and statewide ballot measures for transit funding, measures that will raise nearly $200 billion for their home districts.

This was the largest number of ballot measures and the largest collective amounts for transit funding in an election in the country’s history, according to the American Public Transportation Association.

More counties are working on their own sales taxes and other measures to pay for transportation. That’s because state and federal fuel taxes are not raising enough money to pay for the transportation repairs and upgrades communities want and need.

With limited exceptions, funding successes in our visitors’ metropolitan home districts were not matched here at Lake Tahoe this election. Yet we know there is widespread support for building bike and pedestrian trails that serve our communities by linking neighborhoods and tourist lodging to schools, jobs, shopping centers, and recreation areas.

Tahoe has made tremendous progress on this front, building 150 miles of bike and pedestrian routes over the last 20 years. But the bigger game changers for the transportation system will require much more. We know many residents and visitors want more transit routes and more frequent service. When providers offer free and more frequent service, people use it.

Transportation projects are one of the best ways to achieve our many goals for Tahoe. They can enhance recreation opportunities, revitalize communities, reduce stormwater pollution, and get people out of cars to reduce emissions. Going forward, the hard question is how we’ll pay for these transportation improvements.

Recent changes to federal transportation laws recognize the heavy visitation to Lake Tahoe and we expect to see more federal funding. This new funding will help, but it will not be enough.

We must have a broad discussion on this important question, involving all our partners and communities in the Tahoe Basin. TRPA is reaching out to partners in neighboring metro areas to involve them as well.

What transportation costs should be paid by residents, businesses, second-home owners, or the millions of people who drive up to Lake Tahoe? What share should be paid by gasoline taxes, sales taxes, or other innovative funding measures?

The answers to these questions are not yet clear at Tahoe. But the discussion is necessary and the need is urgent. As with all success at Tahoe, like that of the 2012 Regional Plan, by working together and bringing forward our best ideas, we can find solutions. And our communities and our lake will be all the healthier for it.

Joanne S. Marchetta is executive director of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. Email her at jmarchetta@trpa.org.

Home-buying tips in the Tahoe region

One of the nagging issues facing Tahoe locals is a lack of affordable housing. Rent increases have far outpaced the cost of living index and rents are rising more quickly than home values. This statewide problem is more pronounced in Tahoe due to the conversion of many long-term rentals into more lucrative vacation rentals.

Most renters would rather be homeowners and owning a home can sometimes costs less than renting, but many potential home buyers remain on the sideline due to a lack of a down payment. Down payment assistance programs (DAPs or DPAs) address the No. 1 obstacle to first time home ownership, namely acquiring the necessary cash.

Available in California and Nevada, DAPs offer loans and grants that provide the funds needed to buy a home without adding to the buyer’s monthly house payment. Plus, these programs feature reduced rates for mortgage insurance (which lowers the payment) and mortgage tax credits (MCC/MTC) that can deliver income tax savings and count toward the buyers’ income to qualify. Further, the seller of the home can contribute toward the buyer’s closing costs.

Home buyers don’t need to be first-time buyers or have perfect credit (down to a 640 credit score). There are income limits and property price limits, but these limits are fairly high. The number and combinations of DAPs is bewildering so choosing an experienced lender is key. Online lenders generally are not sufficiently familiar with all of these programs so, as always, there is no substitute for choosing an experienced lender with local knowledge and an ethical reputation.

Recently, we were able to help a local family buy a home using a Nevada rural grant, and not only is their payment a few hundred a month less than they’d originally hoped, but the payment is quite a bit less than rent for a comparable property. That’s even before the income tax savings. It helped that they bought in Gardnerville where homes are more affordable, but a home in Carson Valley is by no means a downgrade from Tahoe. Valley sunrises and sunsets are routinely stunning, the snow-capped Sierra Nevada rising five-thousand feet above the valley floor is breathtaking, property taxes are about half of California, and if your paycheck comes from a Nevada employer, you might not need to pay state income tax. (This is not tax advice.)

Adjusted for inflation, today’s Tahoe median home price is comparable to the median price in early 2003, according to local MLS data. And interest rates today are almost a full 2 percent lower than they were in 2003, according to HSH.com, which means that the same mortgage payment today will buy you 25 percent more than it would have in 2003.

So if you thought that you missed the opportunity to buy when prices were low, think again. And if you think you need a suitcase full of cash for a down payment, talk to a knowledgeable local lender and explore your options.

Happy home hunting!

Mark Treiber works with Dignified Home Loans. He can be reached at 530-208-6704.

Q&A with the new Tahoe Daily Tribune editor

Ryan Hoffman officially joined the team here at the Tahoe Daily Tribune this past Monday.

Hoffman, who previously served as editor of The Citizen Telegram weekly newspaper in Rifle, Colorado, is the new managing editor here at the Tribune.

We asked him a series of questions to help the community learn a little bit more about him. However, Hoffman encourages people to learn more about him on a more personal level by calling 530-542-8006, emailing rhoffman@tahoedailytribune.com or stopping by the Tribune office in the Tahoe Mountain Lab, located at 3079 Harrison Ave.

Why did you become journalist?

The short answer is: because I enjoy learning and the excitement of jumping into something new everyday. One day you might be at the scene of a fire, the next you could be sitting in someone’s living room listening to very personal stories.

The longer answer is: I initially enrolled in college at the University of Cincinnati thinking I would be a physical therapist. A year of anatomy classes made me think otherwise. Toward the end of my freshman year I decided to take an intro to journalism course. At the time I was reading a fair amount of Hunter S. Thompson, and I thought “I can do this.” It was not very long after making my way down to the college newspaper and volunteering to write that I learned journalism is much more than getting loaded and reporting on the insanity that ensues, which was the picture I constructed through reading HST.

Luckily, the profession I started getting a taste of was even more pleasurable than the juvenile version I had constructed. Within a year of volunteering at the student-run paper at UC I advanced from one of the most prolific reporters (in terms of volume of work) to the position of news editor, which I held for two years up until graduating. I never looked back.

What excites you about the Tahoe Daily Tribune?

The enormous potential. Like many businesses thought of as legacy media, there’s been some turnover at the Trib. This is a pretty common occurrence, in my experience. The newspaper that afforded me my first job out of college, a place with a staff size of three reporters, had at least five different reporters over the course of a year. I was only there eight months before moving on to bigger, better things.

However, if there has been one observation from my first week here, it’s that there is a highly talented team in place. From our publisher, Rob Galloway, to the reporters on the editorial side, this is a team that wants to grow and get better each day. Regardless of what industry you work in, I’m a firm believer that you should have a larger understanding of your industry, especially if you want to advance. As a student of the media and media history, complacency among some traditional newspapers helped make the tectonic shifts in the news business more painful for some.

Being part of a team that is not afraid to try new things is incredibly exciting. Look for some of those new efforts in the coming weeks.

What is the best thing about being an editor?

The best thing about being an editor in a smaller market is that you get to execute the traditional responsibilities of an editor, such as editing and forming the paper’s coverage goals, while also having enough time to write. After all, reporting and writing are what I love most about this job.

In discussing the possibility of becoming an editor with one of my previous bosses, I shared some hesitancy. I did not want a job where I was confined to an office reading other people’s work all day.

This job allows me to get out and do what drew me to the profession. Also, I believe it’s crucial for the editor and every person who holds a leadership position to invest in the community, whether that’s attending events or participating in community activities. This was something I did at my previous job and it’s something I’ll continue now that I’m here on the South Shore.

Where did you come from?

Originally from a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. Like many people who grow up in Cincinnati, I never really envisioned leaving. Despite being a large area, the joke in Cincy is that people do not ask you where you went to college — they ask you where you went to high school. People don’t leave.

But after graduating from college and going through a long interview process that ended in disappointment, I decided to apply for newspaper jobs around the country. A couple of weeks later, I received a call from the managing editor of the newspaper in Salida, Colorado. Despite not knowing a single person there and having only traveled west of Chicago once in my life, I decided to go for it. In hindsight, it was one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made.

About eight months after taking that job, I moved to Rifle, Colorado, a city of around 10,000 people located about three hours west of Denver down Interstate 70.

My time in Rifle is the reason why I frequently wear cowboy boots, and why I have a cowboy hat on top of a BB gun in my office at the Trib. The boots and hat were initially a joke. I bought them just before a short trip back to Cincinnati to see family. I thought it would be funny if I walked out of the airport dressed like a cowboy. While I found that hat to be clunky and uncomfortable, the boots were some of the most comfortable footwear I’d ever worn. I still frequently wear them, when weather permits (they don’t do well in the snow).

The BB gun was a parting gift from a friend and former coworker. He stated that my previous boss would not let him buy me an actual gun, so the BB gun was the best he could do for a guy who called Rifle home for about 19 months.

What do you do for fun?

Work, work, work. Just kidding, I’m actually looking forward to not working until 9 p.m. four nights a week, which was pretty much my life before coming here. I enjoy hiking when the weather is nice. I’m looking forward to putting some more miles on my snowshoes this winter. When summer returns, I’ll definitely be looking to get out on the lake. I’m dying to try my luck on a stand-up paddle board.

Probably the single question I’ve heard the most during this transition is: Do you ski/snowboard?

The answer: no.

I tried my luck at skiing one time a couple of months after moving to Colorado. Despite getting a deal on gear because a friend of a friend worked in the ski shop, it still cost a good amount of money, at least in terms of my meager newspaper salary. And, I spent most of the day on just about every body part other than my feet. When I could barely turn my neck the next day, I concluded that paying a bunch of money to get my butt kicked was ludicrous. However, I’m willing to try it again, although I’ll definitely be taking a lesson.

Ribaudo column: Notes from the front row

Local Musings

This election was brutal at the federal and local level. I can’t remember an election that was nastier than what this country and community experienced. Part of the reason was the stakes were so high. Locally, if the city council elections hold up, Brooke Laine and Jason Collin will be elected to the city council. One can only speculate what message the community was sending with their votes, but here are my thoughts and observations.

The community was tired of JoAnn Conner. At this time, Conner is an incumbent and fourth in vote totals, which clearly suggests the community was tired of her actions. Her vote totals are over a thousand fewer votes than her election in 2012. Big message.

The community has grown tired of the California versus Nevada division put forward by candidates and their supporters, including the South Tahoe Chamber and the Tahoe Mountain News. The voters were clear; this was a political loser

For years, the traditional voting blocs have included the seniors and the public unions. That has been realigned with the business community and the millennials playing a decisive role in electing Laine and Collins.

The Political Action Committee formed by the Tahoe Chamber had an impact. Over the years different groups have played a role in elections. The teachers union, the police and fire departments as well as environmental groups have all supported candidates. The business community supporting candidates is right in line with these others.

There is no question the playing field has shifted to social media. While traditional advertising and election signs have always been important, digital and social media played a much more important role. Facebook was crammed daily with posts and reposts from different candidates and their supporters.

The Big Picture

I am fascinated by the strategy used by each Presidential candidate. By every measure Clinton should have won, but didn’t. Why not? The answer as it always does lies in how each campaign and opponent saw the chessboard. This is what makes strategy interesting. If all you do is have the same exposure to the same input, the same people, the same data and the same perspective, you in essence limit your options.

If on the other hand you are continually looking for new ways to see things, new perspectives and new cuts of data, it is only then you can find new insights that can lead to new opportunities and options you might not have imagined.

When Bill Clinton ran for president it was James Carville who saw the chessboard differently. He was a risk taker and beat the conventional strategy of the Bush campaign. He innovated, crated a war room, used rapid response to respond to opportunities and focused like a laser on the economy. David Axelrod who ran Obama’s campaign did the same by implementing the most sophisticated technology marketing campaign ever. Trump and his team innovated and did the same. Conventional wisdom — be it in politics, business, education or running a local government — can be deadly.

Recommendation

Check out the new Lake House Restaurant. I had a dinner that was mighty tasty.

It’s a wrap

Sad to hear about the passing of Leon Russell. Lucky for me, I saw him several times in the past couple of years. Last time he was here he played Harrah’s, and one of the stories he told was being backstage at the Concert for Bangladesh and meeting this young curly-haired kid named Bob Dylan. Several years ago he talked about how grateful he was Elton John rescued his career from a ditch. His version of “Hard Rain is Gonna Fall” sends shivers down my back. Rest in peace, Leon.

Carl Ribaudo is a columnist, consultant, speaker and writer who lives in South Lake Tahoe. He can be reached at carl@smgonline.net.

Giving thanks: Editors, family and good food

I think Thanksgiving may be my favorite holiday — friends, family, alcohol, food and football. Generally, all those things put together make for a pretty good day. Sure, there’s always that one member of the family you have to put up with, but it’s only one day. Thanksgiving should be about putting differences aside and giving thanks for what we have. Whatever that looks like for you this holiday, make it count.

For me, I am extremely thankful to welcome our new editor here at the Tribune, Ryan Hoffman. Ryan comes to us from one of our sister news outlets in Rifle, Colorado — a small town with a population just shy of 10,000. There, he served as editor of The Citizen Telegram.

Ryan brings with him an eagerness to serve the community and a knack for navigating small town dynamics — both of which will serve him well here on the South Shore, and I am very excited to have him aboard.

I would encourage everyone to welcome Ryan and don’t be shy about introducing yourselves. He’s even suggested doing a Q&A if anyone has questions they’d like to ask him — just don’t grill him too hard … yet. You can email those questions to rhoffman@tahoedailytribune.com.

I also am no stranger to small towns, having grown up in Murphys, California, not too far from here, in Calaveras County. When you grow up in a small town one thing is for certain, you get to know people. And when you get to know people well, they become more than just people — they become friends and in some cases, family. Or, as we like to call it at home, “framily.”

I’ve been truly blessed to grow up with the friends that I did. I don’t know what life would be like without them and I can’t think of a better way to spend Thanksgiving than being surrounded by people who you truly care about.

OK, enough of the mushy stuff. Let’s talk about the thing that most people can relate to when it comes to Thanksgiving — the food. Whether it’s deep-fried turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, green bean casserole, leek bread pudding, we all have our favorites. And if anyone is like me, we’ll also get sick of it all after about a week or so of leftovers. Some years I even look forward more toward the leftovers than the actual meal (insert picture of Homer Simpson drooling here).

In all sincerity, don’t forget to give thanks this holiday. For some people it is serving the underprivileged, for others it’s making sure you don’t leave out those people who don’t have family to spend Thanksgiving with — whatever the reason, find joy in the people around you. And, if for some reason, that proves to be difficult, there’s always football.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Publisher Rob Galloway can be reached at rgalloway@tahoedailytribune.com or 530-542-8046.

Jim Porter: Cal Fire mutual aid firefighting agreements (opinion)

What follows is a genuinely boring column about contract law. The contracts involve Cal Fire and its Mutual Aid Agreements with local fire departments, which by a stretch of my imagination I figured one or two of you may be moderately interested in.

 MUTUAL AID AGREEMENT I

As this California Court of Appeal case illustrates, governmental jurisdictions enter into mutual aid firefighting agreements to assist one another in fighting fires within their jurisdictions. Today’s column discusses two such agreements.

The first agreement was entered into in 1993 between Cal Fire and the Regents of the University of California along with 20-plus other municipalities in Alameda County. The UC Regents operate the Lawrence Livermore Lab.

Here is the pertinent contract language: “5. COMPENSATION. No party to this Agreement shall be required to pay compensation to the other party for services rendered. The mutual advantages and protection afforded by this Agreement shall be adequate consideration.”

AGREEMENT II

The second related agreement, called the Threat Zone Agreement, recites:

“A zone of threat (a threat zone) is a delineated … non-state responsibility area whereon any fire is considered a threat to an adjacent state responsibility area. In these threat zones, Cal Fire assumes financial responsibility for aircraft, hand crew, engine, and dozer resources needed to effectively contain the fire…”

Seems pretty clear to me, Cal Fire is on the hook in areas covered by the two Mutual Aid Agreements, and while I am not a fireman and will not be retiring at age 55, I do know a thing or two about contracts.

THE EXPLOSIVES FIRE

On June 19, 2009, part of the Lawrence Livermore Lab property, Site 300, experienced high winds, which caused an insulator attached to a power pole to detach. This created excess slack in the power line which caused the line to contact another line, resulting in arcing and sparks which ignited a dry grass fire. The fire spread beyond Site 300 into Cal Fire’s jurisdiction.

CAL FIRE TO THE RESCUE

Cal Fire came to the rescue … and promptly sued to recover $88,754.67 spent suppressing the fire.

Health and Safety Codes sections 13009 and 13009.1 allow Cal Fire to recover costs suppressing a fire from the party who negligently allowed the fire to start.

Cal Fire argued those codes trump (poor choice of words) the Mutual Aid Agreements.

YOU BE THE JUDGE

I don’t know about you, but I readily agree with the trial court — ruling against Cal Fire.

The Mutual Aid Agreements would never apply if the Health and Safety Codes were controlling.

As the Court of Appeal concluded, “…the undisputed facts are that a fire started on Site 300; that Cal Fire provided mutual aid to help fight that fire; that under both agreements at issue, the jurisdiction receiving aid does not have to pay the costs of the jurisdiction giving aid, mutual aid protection being an adequate consideration…”

The purpose of the Mutual Aid Agreements is to always have agency backup without risk of being sued for suppression costs after the fact. Who is at fault is not a factor.

Once again, Justice Butz, who hails from Nevada County, got it right.

Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee, Tahoe City and Reno. He may be reached at porter@portersimon.com or http://www.portersimon.com.

LTCC: We are committed to inclusiveness, diversity (opinion)

In response to concerns expressed by students locally and nationwide, the Lake Tahoe Community College District is sharing the following letter reaffirming its commitment to protecting student rights and ensuring a safe learning environment for all:

Dear LTCC students,

We are writing to assure you in the wake of the 2016 election that Lake Tahoe Community College stands alongside the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office in championing the values of inclusiveness and diversity. This college is committed to the success of all of our students and to ensuring that a safe environment, both on campus and online, is available to everyone who relies on our college to learn, grow, and succeed.

There has been a recent rise in student fear nationally, and particularly among the undocumented, members of the LGBTQ community, Muslims, and other vulnerable groups. These fears are certainly understandable: reports of incidents motivated by hate have risen since Election Day. Please know that LTCC stands in solidarity against these incidents and welcomes all of our campus community members to join the call to embrace a college environment that is inclusive, respectful, and civil — one that embraces diversity in all its forms. We hope this is a sentiment and direction you can readily agree with and take part in.

Furthermore, we want to remind all of our students, including undocumented students, that financial aid remains available for them to pursue their educational goals. At LTCC, in-state enrollment fees and state financial aid, including fee waivers, Cal Grants and privately funded institutional scholarships, are available to qualifying undocumented students. These benefits are protected by California law. You can find more information about these benefits by clicking on the “Dream Act” link at icanaffordcollege.com.

We want you all to know that LTCC will always view diversity and inclusion as fundamental to our mission. As a public institution of higher education, we will continue to work to ensure that our entire community has full access to the college and to the support students need to succeed in their studies. We are also deeply committed to protecting the rights of all students who attend this college. On behalf of Lake Tahoe Community College’s Board of Trustees, faculty, administrators, and staff, know that we will do our very best to support all of you. We are proud to have you as part of our student body, and we will do everything in our power to ensure your success.

Sincerely,

Dr. Kindred Murillo, LTCC Superintendent/President

Dr. Mark D. Williams, LTCC Academic Senate President

Dr. Michelle Risdon, Interim Vice President of Instruction

Jeff DeFranco, Vice President of Administrative Services

Dr. Fritz Wenck, LTCC Board of Trustees President

Sue Gochis, Executive Dean of Student Success

Annie Davison: Open letter to the South Lake Tahoe community (opinion)

With the election over, I am writing to congratulate the new LTUSD Board members, to respond to some of the claims Derek Allister made public in the final days of the election, and to reaffirm my commitment to volunteer my time and talents to this school district into the future.

First, congratulations to my opponent and neighbor, Larry Reilly. Matt and I know from experience how much time and devotion he and his wife Michelle have given school districts on both sides of the state line. I congratulate Bonnie Turnbull and Troy Matthews as new members, honor Drs. Doyle and Green for their many years of committed service, and fully support the new Board and District leadership going forward.

Second, to Derek Allister, I respond for the record.

The issue of a conflict of interest is not a personal one, as you have suggested; it is a legal one. Since Larry’s spouse, Michelle, earns a paycheck from the school district, Larry is required by law to recuse himself from any Board discussions that affect salaries and benefits if their household income could be impacted. It remains to be seen how much this conflict will affect Board activities. However, with approximately 80 percent of the school district budget going to salaries and benefits annually, this is a serious consideration. Having been raised in a family of teachers and being a former classroom teacher and Association member, this issue gets my attention with regard to representing teachers’ interests.

You suggested that because I have children in one school in the District, I would not be fair in my decision making, favoring one school over another. Does this argument hold for the many other past and current Board members with children in schools, too? Because my nephew is in the Middle School, does your argument hold? If you are questioning my character or fair-mindedness, I hope you would check with those who know me around town and my references. I will let my record and reputation demonstrate that I am committed to all children in our community (and state and nation, for that matter).

I am proud to bring my professional experiences to benefit this District, including what I have learned about standardized testing. I was a classroom teacher in elementary school in 2001, deeply troubled when No Child Left Behind brought on the heavy requirement of standardized testing. I began studying the issues, and went to graduate school to study statistics and education policy to empower myself in the face of federal laws. I then worked for McGraw-Hill’s CTB where I learned how tests are made, managed and reported. However, because I wanted to be in public service, I left CTB (which has since shut down because this industry is in such shambles) to take a job at the Department of Education in Nevada to make a difference for schools, teachers and students while troubling teacher accountability pressure was coming on strong with Race to the Top. Child bearing and making a living have affected my career, but in all my experiences, I have argued for fairness and equity, healthy systems, and support to teachers and students. I believe our federal education laws are flawed, that there is way too much testing, and that we need to work for change in the next rewrite of ESEA.

Finally, to the LTUSD Board, District leadership and staff, parents and students:

I promise my continued support for all programs and efforts in our schools. I gladly volunteer any of my time or talent that could benefit our children going forward, whether coaching or classroom volunteering, explaining how tests work or what the data mean (or don’t mean), helping to evaluate assessments or curriculum, serving on committees or boards — or tying a child’s shoes.

Thank you to the hundreds of people who voted for me, for the hundreds more who supported my campaign who could not vote for me, and for the opportunity to share who I am this election season. I am grateful to be part of this engaged community and look forward to other ways to serve it.