Campaigning for El Dorado County District 5 Supervisor in her first run for an elected office, Gerri Grego said she’s not the type of person who has to have her way on policy issues, just the best way for the community.
“I can analyze problems from multiple perspectives for solutions and pick the best one,” said Grego, who is 61 and lives in South Lake Tahoe. “I look at things unemotionally, take all the rhetoric and emotion out, and base my decisions on facts.”
Manager at the Beachcomber Inn for 17 years, Grego got her start in local politics with the South Lake Tahoe Planning Commission.
“We’d get a binder this thick and have three days to study it, decide what’s important, cut through all the fluff, find out what the issues are and the ask questions.”
Grego, who has gone on to volunteer with a number of other groups including the El Dorado County Commission on Aging, started campaigning for District 5 Supervisor a year ago and has been reaching out to communities throughout the district.
A believer in limited government, Grego said the county needs to focus on the basics: Safety, roads, infrastructure, treating people equally. But it also needs to put a strong focus on workforce training and helping improve the local economy and getting people back to work.
“The average voter is worried about jobs and the economy, for obvious reasons. In Tahoe we have people working two, three and four part-time jobs trying to make ends meet.”
People are frustrated with government, both for its over-regulation and for its lack of taking action, Grego said.
Grego noted a pending request for a community garden project at a city park in South Lake Tahoe has been waiting for approval for two years. A permit for the business where she works to repair its building took five years to get from Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
“That’s longer than it took to win World War II. And the final permit, when we got it, put a deed restriction on our property that we can’t rebuild,” Grego said. “Absolutely, people are frustrated with over-regulation. That’s something I want to see changed.”
Grego said inaction by government is one reason for all of the ballot initiatives popping up on the west slope.
“One reason all those initiatives are coming up is because for years the board of supervisors has not completed something, and because the public doesn’t believe they will complete it,” Grego said.
“That is why people get frustrated with government. They can’t seem to accomplish anything. I want to accomplish something. There’s a lot of stuff out there waiting to be approved or disapproved or whatever.”
Grego said she would bring a fair, open mind to county issues and search for common ground solutions. She also hopes to bring more civil discourse to a county government known for bruising politics.
“The way it works in our county, it’s almost shameful. The accusations, the innuendo, the lengths they will go to discredit somebody. I’m not like that and I don’t like it when other people do that,” Grego said.
“You can disagree with someone without being disagreeable. That is an important thing I bring to the table. Too many people in this county are being disagreeable in too many ways on too many subjects. One of the biggest issues facing the county is people not being able to get along and accept other people’s opinions,” Grego said.
“Let’s look at the things we agree on, find common ground and work to accomplish things from there.”