Incline Village Community Appreciation Days |

Incline Village Community Appreciation Days

The Mountain Golf Course has finally shed its winter coat, and just in time! IVGID Community Appreciation Days run Friday, June 9, through Sunday, June 11, at both of our Golf Courses. Picture pass holders can take advantage of the following benefits this weekend: •Complimentary Golf at the Mountain Course •Discounts at Wild Bill’s BBQ at the Mountain Course •Complimentary Clinics at the Championship Course •Discounts at The Grille at the Chateau •Sale prices at both Golf Shops For more information, go to our website: Later this summer (Aug. 4-5), we will be holding Community Appreciation Day at the Recreation Center and Tennis. Pass holders will receive free, all-day access to the Recreation Center and free access to the Tennis Center after noon. We will be posting more information on our website as the event gets closer at Beach Season When you make your way out to the golf course, you will notice that our picturesque creeks are roaring rivers at the moment. In fact, there are places, such as the 7th hole of the Championship Course, where you can barely hear yourself think thanks to the intensity of the dueling creeks along each side of the fairway. As all of you know, all that stream flow empties into our beautiful Lake. Since this winter, the Lake level has increased by a stunning 6 feet! At an elevation of 6228.60 feet, the Lake is now about 6 inches below the legal limit. With a full Lake, our beautiful beaches will be noticeably smaller this year. So while you may think the beaches may seem more crowded, that isn’t likely the case. There is just less real estate south of Lakeshore Boulevard. After a long and heavy winter, there will be pent-up demand for the sand and sunshine, so please share the space with your fellow neighbor. In order to ensure the best experience possible for our pass holders, we’ve been improving our processes to make sure that all pass holders and their guests understand the policies and procedures for accessing our beaches. For example, we are expanding the preferred parking program we initiated on a limited basis last summer. On Fridays through Sundays from late June to Aug. 13, the Incline Beach parking lot will be restricted to IVGID Picture Pass and Punch Card holders only, so make sure those passes and punch cards are up to date and valid. Bringing a guest? Did you know that you can exchange the value from your punch cards for Daily Beach Tickets. Ask for more details at the Parks and Recreation Counter at the Rec Center. We are also adding staff to the gates at peak times to streamline the entry process at the beach. Our top priority is to ensure that our access rules are being enforced, but we want to make sure it doesn’t create delays for our Picture Pass Holders to access the beach. Coming down to the beach on the Fourth of July? Once again, we will be pre-selling Daily Beach Access Tickets for the Fourth of July. There will be no cash or credit card transactions on the Fourth of July at Ski Beach and Incline Beach. If you are entering Ski Beach and Incline Beach on July 4, you must present one of the following: • Valid IVGID Picture Pass with Beach Access • Valid IVGID Recreation Punch Card • Pre-purchased Daily Adult or Youth Beach Access Ticket • Or show your wristband To purchase wristbands, visit Aspen Grove or the Recreation Center. All forms of payment are accepted at these locations on July 4th. Holiday Pricing (July 1-4): Adult (18+): $15 Child (6-17): $6 Children (0-5): Free Boat Launching: $21 Picture Pass Holder: FREE Pre-purchase your Daily Beach Ticket by June 30 and receive the regular pricing. Incline Beach, Ski Beach and Burnt Cedar Beach gates will be staffed 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. This is our fourth consecutive year of staffing the gates until 10 p.m. We’ve found it to be a great way to reduce overcrowding and greatly improve the customer experience for our residents and guests. If you have more questions regarding beach access, just go to or call (775) 832-1310. We are looking forward to seeing all of you out on the golf course this weekend and surely at the beach by the Fourth of July. “GM’s Corner” is a recurring column from IVGID General Manager Steve Pinkerton, who discusses issues and offers updates regarding various district matters. He may be reached for comment at

Incline Village’s new trash contract mandates containerization to protect wildlife

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — For years, animals and people in the Sierra Nevada have attempted to cohabitate in peace. But as Tahoe locals and tourists are generating more trash, it creates a greater propensity for wildlife to meander throughout neighborhoods foraging through waste bins. In an attempt to rectify the problem of animals becoming more dependent on discarded food, the Incline Village General Improvement District has worked the past few years on developing solutions for how to handle solid waste. As of last week, IVGID is moving forward with a new plan that will provide all residents with new trash and recycle carts, while incentivizing and placing heavy emphasis on residents to either own or rent wildlife-resistant containers. RECENT HISTORY In October 2015, IVGID General Manager Steve Pinkerton formed a Solid Waste Subcommittee composed of IVGID staff and trustees to discuss solutions and garner feedback from the community. "The dialogue through a subcommittee allows for more representation from the board without having to wait for a meeting," Pinkerton said, adding that having trustees Jim Hammerel and Phil Horan in the subcommittee provided a balance of different positions and a neutral point of view. In January 2016, IVGID hosted a community forum to discuss refuse containerization, recycling and yard waste. After evaluating information received at the forum, the IVGID Solid Waste Committee presented proposed service changes to the IVGID Board of Trustees at a Feb. 26 public meeting. The committee's recommendation at that meeting asked the board to discuss and adopt guidelines for waste service options to be included in a new franchise agreement with current collector Waste Management. At the recent July 7 IVGID Board of Trustees meeting, a new 10-year contract with Waste Management was approved in a 4-0 vote. "What was recommended was exactly what we got in the new agreement," Pinkerton said. RATE INCREASES, BUT MORE VALUE? Rollout for the new containerization program will happen this summer and fall, with the new agreement taking effect Oct. 1. Monthly service rates will increase for residents, depending on one's situation (from as little as 30 cents a month to as much as $9.73), considering all homeowners will have standard 64-gallon regular waste and recycling carts delivered to their homes by Waste Management. After a 3-month launch period, people will get an opportunity to upgrade to a 96-gallon regular waste cart or downsize to a 32-gallon cart depending on trash needs. "We're making it more flexible for the user," Pomroy says. The overall rate increases as part of the new contract are due to IVGID offering a more frequent recycling service, as well as cost associated with the carts, labor and more truck time. However, since Waste Management is providing all the new containers, Pinkerton looks at it as an overall price reduction, since people aren't outright buying the carts themselves. As Pinkerton says, "What you're spending will get you far more service, which will be a huge improvement for wildlife and people." 'WE'LL SEE A MASSIVE CHANGE' With the new system, wildlife-resistant carts will now be an option for residents to rent from Waste Management — which some people prefer over purchasing and installing a bear shed. That said, according to IVGID's FAQ document on the changes, after Oct. 1, if residents receive a wildlife violation (such as a bear getting into one's trash because it is not properly secured in the new Waste Management totes), it will be mandatory for their service to be upgraded to a wildlife-resistant cart service. Pinkerton says the agreement will make it harder for trash to be an "attractive nuisance" to all animals like dogs, coyotes, chipmunks and more — not just bears. "I think we'll see a massive change; plus, it's aesthetically better-looking to use containers," he said. "Most residents are used to this type of containerization because it's the same method used where they may live elsewhere. I think we'll see less confusion and violations." As for commercial, while businesses in Incline contribute to about half of the solid waste that is generated here, there are no new significant changes in relation to this rollout. "Everyone can still use the metal Dumpsters, but businesses can now rent a park-style Dumpster directly from Waste Management," Pomroy says. What is nice about this solution is that businesses don't have to subsidize the full cost of buying a Dumpster, Pomroy said, because now they can just rent it from the provider. Park-style Dumpsters have heavy lids that shut automatically, which reinforces wildlife resistance. "We've worked for over a year now to reduce the problem on the commercial side; Dumpster costs didn't go up at all," Pinkerton says. New weekly recycling service Along with providing all residents with new 64-gallon recycling carts — and, in turn, eliminating the need for blue bags — people will not have to worry about which week recycling will be picked up. "People didn't like buying the blue bags, and the biweekly schedule caused a lot of confusion," Pomroy said. "The cart service is easier for drivers, and it prevents other animals from getting into the trash. It also eliminates some unsightliness." Overall, the new containerization solution is set up to stiffen the current "zero tolerance policy" in place within IVGD, in which people get cited when a trash violation on their property is reported — both in an effort to punish lazy homeowners, but also to incentivize them to purchase wildlife-resistant bins. Pomroy said that with the old system, although people were getting cited, they didn't see violators converting to using a cart. "We're putting people in a position to succeed by providing standardized containers," Pinkerton said. He added that IVGID would rather shift its attitude in creating solutions to better contain solid waste and protect wildlife, rather than reactive enforcement on citing people for trash violations. Kayla Anderson is an Incline Village-based freelance writer with a background in marketing and journalism. Have a story idea? Email her at Bonanza Editor Kevin MacMillan contributed to this report.

IVGID tweaking Tahoe trash law changes amid some frustration

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — While talks about Incline Village's new trash service took up much of last week's Board of Trustees meeting, a lot of new people were in attendance to voice concerns over use of the Village Green as a dog park. Over the past few weeks, as summer wound down and fall sports such as soccer kicked off, there has been false information going around town that IVGID is making the Village Green off limits for dogs. On Sept. 27, a day before the September board meeting, Parks and Recreation Director Indra Winquest released a letter on Facebook, stating, "We want to assure our community that IVGID staff nor the Board of Trustees have any intention of changing the use of the Green as a Dog Park at this time." In a resolution that was passed in July 2004, the Village Green was officially designated as a "temporary dog park," according to the district. During public comment at the Sept. 28 board meeting, a 43-year resident said she's been using the "temporary" dog park for over 20 years and she would like to see a more permanent one for her four-legged friends. According to Winquest's note, "IVGID is currently working through a Community Services Master Plan process and there is no doubt that a permanent dog park will be identified as a high priority. Until such time that a solution is identified, the Village Green will remain available to dogs off leash with the exception of when there are scheduled activities and events." The board took no action on anything related to the Village Green last week. GARBAGE can ROLL-OUT CONCERNS Recently, IVGID's new agreement with Waste Management went into effect, and the company last month delivered two standard 64-gallon solid waste bins at every Incline Village/Crystal Bay residence. Since, some residents have complained about the carts being too large for their single-car garages; issues with the WM phone system when trying to adjust service; and how many trips to the Incline Village transfer station one can take. WM Area Manager Greg Martinelli attended the Sept. 28 board meeting and said there are always issues that come up during an initial roll-out of this kind, but staff is resolving the problems as fast as they can. WM didn't anticipate hiccups with the phone company leading to calls not being answered, Martinelli said, adding that staff has responded to a lot of residents' concerns via email. Despite complaints, Martinelli said: "Deployment has gone fairly well; we took care of most of the people who requested smaller carts, but we are about 600 blue lid (recycling) carts short. We will be delivering those (this) week." As part of the new agreement, residents will also receive four free trips to the transfer station ("dump vouchers") for excess trash. UPDATES TO TRASH LAW A lot of time was spent revisiting the "Zero Tolerance Policy" as part of Ordinance 1 (IVGID's trash law), which was also discussed in length at the Sept. 1 Board Retreat. Since that meeting, IVGID Director of Public Works Joe Pomroy met with the Incline Village Board of Realtors to talk about how trash violations are currently attached to a property, instead of the owner. The board agreed to a staff-recommended amendment to Ordinance 1 that states that trash offenses to a property will revert back to zero following a change of ownership. The district further defined what constitutes a violation and how offenses are handled. Here are some important key points: IVGID law states that bags of yard debris must be put out the day of pickup; otherwise, it's a violation. However, many residents do their yard cleanup on a certain day all at once and then have nowhere to put their black bags. The board agreed that yard waste should be able to stay out six days within the window of yard waste pickup periods. Like the standard solid waste carts, wildlife-proof plastic totes must be placed on the curb the day of trash pickup no earlier than 5 a.m. A lot of residents put their wildlife-proof totes out on the curb the night before, which is currently a violation. Overflowing garbage or additional bags placed next to the solid waste containers will also be a violation. Pomroy will give an Ordinance 1 Revisions presentation at the next regular monthly IVGID BOT meeting on Oct. 26, and likely set a public hearing date. Ordinance 7 As the IVGID Recreation Center continues to implement Vermont Systems in processing punch card purchases and picture passes, General Manager Steve Pinkerton says one of the biggest challenges with implementing any kind of POS system within the district is how it works with Ordinance 7. "How punch cards are used doesn't match anything that off-the-shelf systems are used to," he says. Pinkerton added that he is looking forward to initiating a conversation about Ordinance 7 — and not only talking about beach changes, but how technology also fits into it. Ordinance 7 is scheduled be discussed at the Tuesday, Oct. 11 IVGID Board Retreat, scheduled for 2 p.m. at The Chateau. Kayla Anderson is an Incline Village-based freelance writer with a background in marketing and journalism. Email her at

Diamond Peak ski area GM leaving for job in Idaho

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Diamond Peak General Manager Brad Wilson will be leaving the Incline Village General Improvement District after four years of service, officials announced Monday. Wilson recently accepted a position as general manager of Bogus Basin Recreation Area in Bogus Basin, Idaho. His last day will be Thursday, Nov. 5. According to IVGID, Wilson's new endeavor in Idaho will allow him to provide strategic and operational leadership, in an effort to transition the ski area into a year-round recreational area. "I'm looking forward to this new career growth opportunity. My decision to accept the position in Idaho is personal and no reflection on IVGID," Wilson said in a statement. "It's been an honor to work for a terrific organization and the most conscientious group of people I've ever had the privilege of working with." IVGID hired Wilson as GM of Diamond Peak in the fall of 2011. His accomplishments since, among others, according to an IVGID statement, are as follows: developing a competitive pricing structure at the ski area, which resulted in an increase in revenue per skier and a dramatic decrease in the rates for residents; developing a holiday and dynamic pricing structure; and a facilitating the an update to the Diamond Peak Master Plan. "Brad's leadership, vision, management skills and marketing acumen has kept Diamond Peak a top performer during a very challenging four years in the ski industry," Steve Pinkerton, IVGID General Manager, said in a statement. "He's also done a great job of empowering and developing his employees and ensuring a succession plan was in place for all key positions." Mike Bandelin will serve as the Interim Diamond Peak General Manager, according to the district, while IVGID searches for a replacement. Visit or to learn more.

Parasol’s building proposal gets no quick answer

The nonprofit Parasol Foundation may have to wait a while before they find out if they’re off the hook for the financial responsibility of their building. The Incline Village General Improvement District Board of Trustees tabled discussion June 12 on a controversial proposal that would move IVGID out of its old building and into the Donald W. Reynolds Community Nonprofit Center. Currently, the district owns the land that the building is on, but the Parasol Foundation owns and maintains the center. “There seems to be this false narrative here that taking the property back is one of the options. That isn’t what we have here,” said District General Manager Steve Pinkerton during the meeting. “What we have here is an offer from the Parasol that as an alternative to their current way of business they would like to change their business model. They are not requiring that they change their business model.” A district memo from the meeting shows the foundation is seeking $5.5 million in the deal, and would like to retain space in the building for its own operations. According to the foundation’s website, Parasol partners with charitable donors to make their contributions more meaningful. Pinkerton said the proposal before the board would allow the district to take over the building now, rather than in approximately 80 years like the original lease had intended. “This is not a proceeding where there is a default, this is simply a situation where they would like to change the terms of the lease in what they see as a win-win, wherein they are proposing that we take over the improvements now and not some 80 years from now, and that they would then like to tap the assets they have in the building for the purposes of running a foundation,” he said. Tax documents for the Parasol Foundation show the nonprofit’s 2014 total functional expenses of $5,245,546 exceeded their net income of $3,615,819. In 2013, their $8,114,806 in expenses exceeded their income for $5,054,147. The foundation’s net income in 2012 was $955,625 compared with $4,077,131 in expenses. In 2011, their net income was $969,378 and expenses totaled $3,632,503. Continuing his address to the board, Pinkerton said, “So what they’ve proposed is, ‘We would like to get out of the property management business, we would like to tap the assets we have in the building, we have a building that right now you do not have the right to occupy under our lease and options for another 80-plus years. What we’re proposing is modifying the lease where you take over the improvements in the building sooner and get a benefit from those, and here’s the price that we would do that for.” He said that under no circumstances is the proposal a discussion about the district declaring a default on the lease. “We keep hearing this in the community over and over again, and that’s not one of the options on the table,” he said. “The board has the option of either looking at an agreement where we take over the property sooner and pay Parasol some consideration for the building, or we just continue with the lease as-is.” As part of the “lease modification,” the foundation, which currently supports other local nonprofits by providing them workspace in the building, would no longer do that. District documents state that the foundation would continue to provide financial support to the nonprofits instead of working space. The district has long considered relocating its administrative facility because the current structure is outdated, but questions remain as to whether the foundation’s $5.5 million proposal is the most financially sensible option. Trustee Philip Horan said despite concerns in the community whether the district has the authority to modify the lease, legal counsel has assured the board that they can. “From here forward, I’m committed to keeping this as an item on our agenda to continue the conversation at every board meeting,” said Trustee Kendra Wong. “When the time comes to make a decision, whenever that may be, this will likely be an item that’s a special meeting that will be the only thing that we discuss.” Wong said later in the meeting that she expects this to be a very lengthy process. Pinkerton stated that once the final decision meeting is scheduled, he would work with staff to make sure that is clear on the agenda. District documents regarding the Parasol Foundation lease modification proposal can be viewed at You can review documents and watch the June 12 meeting at Amanda Rhoades is a news, environment and business reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at or 530-550-2653. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @akrhoades.

Letter — Tourists use beach as an ashtray

As a resident of Lake Tahoe, I take tremendous joy in the awe-inspiring environment in which I live. What I witnessed over the Fourth of July holiday weekend made me realize not everyone shares this appreciation — or if they do, they take it for granted. I normally don’t go to the beach on Fourth of July because it is so crowded, but at the urging of some good friends, I decided to partake in the festivities this year. We occupied our few square feet of sand at Ski Beach in Incline all day and through the fireworks. As the day wore on and as the trash cans got full, empty beer cans, cigarette butts, paper plates , etc., began to accumulate on the beach. I asked a couple of kids to clean up their cigarette butts and trash before they left, which they were more than happy to do, but had I not made this request, the cigarettes would have been left in the sand and the Coors Light cans for the IVGID staff to pick up. After the fireworks and the masses had cleared out, the beach looked as though someone had taken those full trash cans and strewn their contents all over the sand. It made me cringe. No one, even though we pay fees for maintenance at these beautiful beaches, should have to spend their time picking up the trash beach users have left behind. It’s my understanding that IVGID crews began work at 4:30 a.m. July 5 to clean up all the garbage so that visitors could experience the beautiful, clean beaches that they’re accustomed to. Perhaps IVGID could provide additional trash recepticles in the future and as visitors arrive at the beach, they should be reminded to leave only footprints — a sad but seemingly necessary reminder. Jody Fraser Incline Village

Judge orders lawsuit notice for all IVGID landowners

In a ruling that could be costly for 2001 Beach Access, Inc., a judge on Thursday ordered the group to formally notify all owners of land within the boundaries of the Incline Village General Improvement District about the beach access lawsuit it brought against IVGID last July. “I’m doing the end-zone dance,” said suit opponent Maryanne Ingemanson. “This raises the stakes in the suit, and may make it difficult for 2001 Beach Access to continue.” Ingemanson said the costs associated with serving the nearly 7,400 parcel owners could be substantial. However, Steven Mollath, attorney for 2001 Beach Access, said the ruling would present no problems. “It’s just a mechanical matter,” Mollath said. “I don’t have any problem with having to serve the owners.” The suit seeks to open access at Incline and Burnt Cedar Beaches for all Incline and Crystal Bay residents. Currently, a deed restriction on the 1968 purchase of the beaches by IVGID limits access to the owners of parcels within the 1968 IVGID boundaries, which includes about 7,380 parcels, but excludes nearly 420 that are mostly in the Crystal Bay. The order of Washoe County District Judge Steven Kosach gives 2001 Beach Access until May 15 to identify and name each owner of each parcel within current IVGID boundaries, and until June 14 to serve notice on the owners. The notice will split the owners into two camps: Those who currently have beach access will be named as defendants in the suit along with IVGID, and the remainder, who are excluded from access, will be joined as defendants aligned with the group that has brought the suit. The judge could dismiss the suit if the group cannot complete the services. However, the rules governing personal services and other types of summons allow service by newspaper publication in some cases. IVGID’s most recent motion, which resulted in Judge Kosach’s ruling, acknowledged this was appropriate where it can be established that “the person on whom service is to be made resides out of state, or has departed from the state, or cannot, after due diligence, be found within the state, or conceals himself to avoid service of summons.” Mollath said the list of owners and the addresses of many can be obtained from the County Assessor’s records, which are public information. Costs for the personal service could be nearly $150,000 or more. A representative of the Incline Constable’s office, which serves local papers in civil matters, said each service costs $17, plus $2 per mile traveled. At this rate, and assuming a minimum of 1 mile for each service, this totals more than $148,000. But many owners reside outside the state, and, according to Ingemanson, Mollath’s client may have to make efforts to serve them before being allowed to resort to publication. Ingemanson and others helped found the Village League to Save Incline Assets, which until recently sought to intervene in the suit. The League withdrew from the suit in December when 2001 Beach Access agreed to name all IVGID parcel owners as parties to the suit. “We are proud to have helped bring the suit to this stage,” said Incline resident Tom Menning, another founding member of the League. “The League is some 2,000 strong, and we intend to stick around and pursue other issues that will affect the Village’s assets,” said Ingemanson. Attorneys for IVGID could not be reached for comment.

Beach access rule under scrutiny by press

A seaplane flipping over and sinking into Lake Tahoe Thursday brought the Incline Village General Improvement District’s beach access and First Amendment policies back into the spotlight, a few weeks before the summer season ends for the district’s beaches. Thursday’s incident was covered by the local and regional media. District officials reiterated the policy, per Ordinance No. 7, that Incline, Ski and Burnt Cedar beaches are “public with restrictions.” Only beach-access residents of IVGID, with their recreation pass or punch card can get into the beaches under the reduced recreation fee. Non beach-access residents must be admitted as guests of beach-access residents and pay an $8 entry fee. The district’s policy was questioned Thursday by some members of the Reno media. Brandon Rittiman, a reporter for KTVN Channel 2 News in Reno, and a KTVN photographer tried to gain access at Burnt Cedar Beach and Ski Beach to cover the incident. However, district beach staff and IVGID Parks and Recreation Director Hal Paris did not grant the news team access at either venue. “It makes no difference whether you’re a Channel 2 news photographer or a Nevada senator or just a visitor ” everyone is handled the same,” Paris said. “Everybody, when they come to (the beaches), is required to present their IVGID card. If you don’t have it, you don’t get in.” IVGID’s beach access policy, outlined in Ordinance No. 7, includes members of the media who are non beach-access IVGID residents, Paris said. Rittiman and his photographer first went to Burnt Cedar to cover the seaplane mishap, then later went to Ski Beach, where the seaplane was to be towed out of the water. At Ski Beach, an unidentified IVGID resident approached and offered to have Rittiman and his photographer in as guests, under her recreation pass. The photographer obliged, paid the $8 guest fee and was granted access to Ski Beach. Once the photographer was recognized as a guest and paid the $8, he was allowed access to Ski Beach, Paris said. Meanwhile, North Lake Tahoe Bonanza photographer Jen Schmidt and photographer CJ Drago, who earlier had gained access to Burnt Cedar, already had gained access to Ski Beach to record the recovery effort. As Drago and Schmidt are IVGID residents, they were granted access to both beaches. Schmidt used her IVGID recreation pass, while Drago used his IVGID recreation punch card to gain access. Bonanza reporter Kyle Magin was granted access to the beaches, as Drago counted him as a guest under his IVGID punch card. The lone exception to IVGID’s beach policy, per Ordinance No. 7, is made for public safety officials, Paris said, which is why members of the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District. U.S. Coast Guard and other emergency officials were granted access to Ski and Burnt Cedar beaches. Because they were, at the time of access, uniformed and “doing their jobs,” Paris said, they were granted access to the beaches without paying a guest fee. IVGID General Manager Bill Horn, who wasn’t present during Thursday’s incident reiterated that point. “If there is an emergency that requires the sheriff, the fire district or other public safety officials, they have the authority to take over the community,” said Horn, adding that this exception applies to all district venues, not just the beaches. “Those people have access to the beaches without question … It’s no question that public safety officials don’t need to ask.” An exception to Ordinance No. 7 is Policy and Procedure 136, the district’s First Amendment policy for all district venues, which was adopted by the IVGID Board of Trustees on April 30. The policy designates certain “public forum areas” within the district where people (whether they have access or not to the public areas) can exercise their First Amendment rights, including the three beaches. Horn said the KTVN reporters and other non beach-access members of the media could have gained access to the defined public forum areas within Burnt Cedar and Ski beaches. “All anybody from the media had to say was they were reporting under the First Amendment, and they would have been handed a copy of the policy,” Horn said. T. Scott Brooke, IVGID’s legal counsel, had a similar response. “The policy would apply to the press as well as other members of the public,” Brooke said. Rittiman said Thursday’s incident wasn’t the first time KTVN has come across IVGID’s beach policy; however, Thursday’s situation was different, he said, because of the large potential for personal injury and/or environmental damage. “From my perspective as a working journalist who was not there to recreate, but rather to do my job, I don’t see the harm in allowing media access,” Rittiman said. “I don’t see how allowing a member of the press access to a beach can jeopardize IVGID’s restricted access policy.” Rittiman said the policy seemed unnecessary. “I don’t see how it’s such a big deal, considering there was an emergency, with the potential of people being hurt and the fact there was pollutants in the lake, something everyone up there cares about,” Rittiman said. Rittiman said he contacted IVGID General Manager Bill Horn by e-mail about the incident, asking Horn to clarify the district’s beach policy in regards to the media. “He responded that no exceptions can be made,” Rittiman said. Rittiman said he would like to come to an agreement with IVGID, in the event potential emergencies occur in the future at one or more of the IVGID beaches, so the media can gain free access. He communicated that request to Horn via e-mail. In Saturday’s phone interview, Horn shared his response with the Bonanza. “I don’t remember the exact e-mail, but I’ll tell you this. If there ever was a deal to be struck with the press, it would go before the trustees,” Horn said. “As always, the board has the power to make policy, to make procedure and to make ordinances, and staff has to adhere to them.”

With $30K contract, search for new Truckee town manager underway

TRUCKEE, Calif. — The town of Truckee on Feb. 14 approved a $30,000 contract with Roseville-based recruitment firm Peckham & McKenney to find a new town manager. The move follows current Truckee Town Manager Tony Lashbrook’s January announcement that he is retiring in July. Peckham & McKenney’s search, led by Chief Operating Officer Phil McKenney, is expected to take about four months to complete. “We’re just in what we call the project organization phase.” McKenney said. “I act like a sponge, just trying to learn about the community and what they’re looking for.” After that, he said they’ll begin the outreach phase, which includes advertising and reaching out to people who’ve been recommended. Once all the applications are submitted, they’ll start screening. McKenney said no deadlines have been set yet, but ideally they’d like to have someone in place before Lashbrook’s last week. A SOMEWHAT COMPLICATED PAST Locally, the firm has also recruited for South Lake Tahoe’s Development Services Director position, as well as the North Tahoe Public Utility District’s General Manager position, but the most memorable local search was for Incline Village General Improvement District’s general manager. His company had been hired to find a replacement for the position after Bill Horn resigned in 2013. But after narrowing down the candidates to two potential hires, things didn’t exactly go as planned. The IVGID board’s job description required a bachelor’s degree, and one of the two candidates selected by McKenney’s firm did not have one. McKenney said the candidate without the degree was a local resident, Eric Severance, who had significant experience, so McKenney planned to ask the board if they would consider him — but he said the story got out before he ever got the chance to present the information. Ultimately, IVGID selected the other candidate, Steve Pinkerton, who had a bachelor’s degree. McKenney’s firm was left to deal with what was considered by some to be a major oversight. “I guess the lesson would be that I should’ve shared the information sooner,” McKenney said. “I’ve never had as difficult a search in the 13 years I’ve been doing this as that one.” THE ‘TRUCKEE WAY’ McKenney said that back in 2014, IVGID was in bad shape. He said that the current situation with Truckee is much better. “It’s totally different,” he said. “There’s a much different dynamic, and I see Truckee as being very open and transparent.” Prior to going into the government recruitment business, McKenney served as the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association’s first executive director. In the past, he’s also been on the board of the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation and worked in Colorado as the executive director of the Summit County Chamber of Commerce. McKenney said he feels confident in his firm’s process and his understanding of resort communities to help Truckee select it’s next town manager. In an email, Lashbrook told the Sun, “Three different firms were interviewed by staff and two councilmembers, and significant reference checks were completed, which led to the hiring of (Peckham & McKenney) by the Town Council. “To state the obvious, Truckee is not IVGID.” He said although he wasn’t sure how IVGID handled its process, the town’s human resources staff plans to be actively involved. “I have complete confidence in our ability to conduct appropriate background checks and reference checks,” Lashbrook said. Amanda Rhoades is a news, environment and business reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at or 530-550-2653. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @akrhoades.

FlashVote terminates contract with IVGID over allegations of public deception

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — At the Dec. 14 IVGID Board of Trustees meeting, district legal counsel Jason Guinasso announced that effective Dec. 1, the third-party citizen governance system FlashVote terminated its contract with the district. On Dec. 27, IVGID received a check for $2,041.67 from FlashVote — the remainder of the $4,900 pro-rated fee the district paid for the service as part of a one-year contract — ensuring IVGID will no longer use the service as a digital survey tool to gain feedback from residents. It marks the end of a rocky relationship between both parties, one that in recent months was clouded with differing views on who owns resident data compiled over the years through the public-private partnership, as well as differing views on if IVGID was trying to break Nevada law by allegedly manipulating verbiage of questions. FLASHVOTE BACKGROUND IVGID signed a one-year contract with FlashVote — owned by Incline resident Kevin Lyons — on May 2016, following two-plus years of beta testing with the service. During the trial period, IVGID was able to push out surveys for free, and in turn the district helped promote FlashVote to Incline/Crystal Bay residents through a mailing, email newsletters and other communications in order to solicit people to sign up for the service. With that, FlashVote also received an email list of residents to help Lyons promote the service, according to the district, and that email list was maintained through the paid period of community surveys. In a follow-up email to the Bonanza, Lyons stated that FlashVote — which now operates under the company Governance Sciences Group, Inc. — started collaborating with IVGID on an informal pilot basis in late 2013, and eventually grew its user base to over 400 residents. He said he started working with IVGID after observing the district operate and concluding that, "the management and board at the time were making some common but preventable mistakes based on lack of good input and oversight from the public." When asked who owns the citizen information in FlashVote's IVGID community, Lyons said his company does, because when users signed up through the FlashVote website, they directly agreed to its terms of use (regardless of who the private company contracts with). However, Guinasso said the original email list provided to Lyons during the beta period years ago served as the foundation for FlashVote, and thus the development of the company's database — therefore, that email list is owned by IVGID. "The contract clearly delineates who owns what," said Guinasso. According to the contract, "customer data" is defined as "non-public data provided by (IVGID) to (Flashvote) to enable the provision of the Services … such as non-public citizen email addresses or other non-pubic citizen data." Under that clause, Lyons stated in an email to the Bonanza that, "IVGID has not provided us any customer data and they know that." Guinasso, meanwhile, said that if FlashVote sends surveys moving forward to the user database that IVGID helped build, that puts IVGID in a position to take legal action since it has an obligation to protect its residents' data. "Our big concern is solely on the data solicited and developed from our citizen database," Guinasso said. "We want to make sure it isn't misused or used at all without the consent of the people who signed up. If (Lyons is) using it for his own benefit, then that's harming the public and we have an obligation to protect that information. "The data was collected for a single purpose — to survey the community on behalf of the public." According to previous reports, Lyons has indicated that security issues are not a concern. "Privacy and security are central to the service," Lyons said in a June 2015 Bonanza story. "Anonymity is key to receiving that honest feedback without repercussions." Why FlashVote Ended the Contract with IVGID Lyons stated that a key aspect of getting citizens to join FlashVote and participate in surveys is because the company is an independent third party — and thus, not a government — that is trusted by users to maintain the quality and anonymity of the surveys. FlashVote customers always pick their topics and questions, Lyons said, but FlashVote makes sure all questions go through an extensive, 23-point quality control process before they go out to citizens. "FlashVote made the decision to terminate IVGID as a customer after a second incident where IVGID management demanded that these quality control standards be ignored," Lyons stated in an email to the Bonanza. "The first time this happened, FlashVote maintained its integrity by rejecting the survey and moving forward. The second time, FlashVote believed it was being asked to ignore not just the quality standards but also Nevada state law (NRS 197.130) against making false and misleading statements to the public." As part of research for this story, the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza obtained copies of extensive email strings between Lyons and IVGID Communication Coordinator Misty Moga, other IVGID staff and Guinasso, specific to the "second time" Lyons referenced in his statement. That string in late November details how both sides disagreed about the wording of a potential FlashVote question regarding updates to the district's trash law, Ordinance 1. According to the emails, IVGID wanted to ask residents about planned changes to the law, which would bring it in line with the district's new franchise agreement with Waste Management, which, per IVGID, "requires residential customers" to use wildlife-resistant containers or bear boxes. Lyons disagreed with IVGID's wording, alleging that, among other concerns, an ordinance is what "requires" residents to do something per Nevada law, not a franchise agreement — and thus, by wording it otherwise, IVGID was intentionally misleading the public. That then spiraled into a back-and-forth accusatory exchange between Guinasso and Lyons. "No one is asking you to publish anything that is false and/or misleading … You are, once again, aggressively attempting to dictate to IVGID what they can publish in FlashVote and what they cannot publish," Guinasso wrote. "There is nothing constructive about unilaterally vetoing and/or revising language." Lyons responded, in part: "If IVGID wants to send crappy surveys (or worse), including previously rejected questions like they did recently with surveygizmo, that's up to IVGID. But we can't and don't do that — its the core of our value proposition to citizens and governments … We can no longer continue working with IVGID after the present intransigence and the perceived risks and hassles of continuing in this way." In a follow-up interview, Guinasso was asked if he or the district was deliberately attempting to break state law and/or intentionally mislead the public. Guinasso said that ordinances stand on their own regardless of implementation of a third-party service, and the verbiage in the Waste Management franchise agreement shouldn't affect the ordinance. "The franchise agreement is on its own track. It's already confusing enough to the public, so why make it worse?" asked Guinasso. Another Incident Between FlashVote and IVGID In July 2016, FlashVote sent out a "grassroots" survey about trash to some members of the Incline Village/Crystal Bay community. It read, in part: "NOTE: This is a Grassroots survey (beta) that has not been approved by IVGID or any government agency. Grassroots surveys may be sponsored by citizens or other community benefactors to give governments data they may not know they should have." In an email statement to the Bonanza for this story, Lyons said the IVGID logo was accidentally included in the survey due to a technical error, and the image was removed halfway through its release. The survey itself asked residents if they were aware of the garbage/recycling changes going into effect and their reaction to it. In another email string between Lyons and IVGID, Lyons stated to Moga in a July 28 message, "Just a heads up that it looks like we will doing a one day 'grassroots' survey on garbage service this afternoon, sponsored by some local citizens. It wont interfere with the regular survey scheduled for next week, but dont hesitate to call or email me if you have any other questions or concerns!" When asked for this story, Lyons declined to say who the private group of citizens was that sponsored the "grassroots" survey. IVGID apparently did have concerns, considering the perception that residents may struggle to distinguish between an IVGID-sanctioned survey, and a separate one sponsored by district residents — both being on a similar topic. According to the emails, Moga asked Lyons to hold off on sending the survey until it could be discussed with IVGID General Manager Steve Pinkerton. Lyons responded: "I cant actually do that, since someone else is the customer in this case…" Moga asked Lyons if he was using the IVGID-provided email list to conduct the private survey. Lyons responded, "It goes (looks like went) out to our users in the geographic area they selected which is the IVGID district which is Incline Village and Crystal Bay." When asked about this instance, Lyons emailed the following statement to the Bonanza, "FlashVote has never sent an 'unauthorized FlashVote survey' and FlashVote does not have an 'IVGID-provided customer database.' FlashVote customers have to approve every survey we launch for them." ADMINISTRATIVE DIFFERENCES? IVGID Trustee Matthew Dent has been a major advocate of FlashVote since joining the Board of Trustees as an appointee in 2015. He was elected to a full term earlier this November. Dent currently holds the second highest points in FlashVote's "IVGID group leaderboard" behind former Trustee Jim Smith, who resigned in August 2015 (of note, Dent was who replaced Smith on the board). Dent said he promoted FlashVote because he felt that IVGID needs a function for surveying the community, and that this allows the community to have its voice heard. "It's unfortunate that they ended their contract from what I understand is due to administrative differences between IVGID and FlashVote," Dent said. Guinasso said it is IVGID's duty to use local vendors when possible. One of FlashVote's current customers, Placer County, encouraged its citizens to sign up for FlashVote through its communication outlets, indicating that FlashVote retains the rights to all of the data it collects. The two surveys the county sent out in August and September had a positive response, said Placer County Spokesperson DeDe Cordell. "Our experience with FlashVote is positive. Anytime we can get more data on what we do, it's great for us," says Cordell. "A lot of people don't trust government period, so this is a great tool to get more data." She added that of all the tools the county uses to communicate, FlashVote's service is the least expensive. According to a proposal between Flashvote and Placer County provided this week to the Bonanza, Placer signed on for the same $4,900 rate. The Truckee Tahoe Airport District has also used FlashVote. General Manager Kevin Smith said the district sent out a FlashVote survey for its Master Plan project in 2015, and did not use it again. "I think it's a good product, but my Board just isn't impressed with surveys in general, so we did not continue using it," Smith said. According to an email from Lyons, FlashVote maintains a healthy client base, including several regional government agencies, such as the Tahoe City Public Utility District and city of South Lake Tahoe. Of that base, it appears IVGID has been the "lone problem child." "No other government has ever had the slightest problem or hiccup with this process," Lyons wrote in one of the email strings obtained by the Bonanza. "In fact they all deeply desire and appreciate it. IVGID management has now generated a problem for us twice in the last 6 months as the lone problem child." In his email to the Bonanza, Lyons indicated he's "enjoyed working on surveys with all the IVGID staff members who are dedicated to serving our community and hearing how useful FlashVote survey results are to their work. FlashVote will be open to considering alternative ways to continue to serve the IVGID community of users in the future." Kayla Anderson is an Incline Village-based freelance writer. Email her at Bonanza Editor Kevin MacMillan contributed to the research and editing of this report; you may email him at