The three biggest campaign issues in Sue Novasel’s run for El Dorado County District 5 Supervisor are economic revitalization, public safety and improved mental health services.
Another top issue: Making sure someone from the Lake Tahoe Basin is elected to represent the district and offer a strong voice for the basin’s unique and challenging issues.
“For the first time ever we have the possibility of having a representative from outside the basin,” Novasel, a resident of Meyers, said about the redrawn supervisor district that now extends from South Lake Tahoe all the way down to Pollock Pines.
Novasel is one of six candidates in the June 3 primary, two of whom live in Pollock Pines. The candidates from Pollock Pines are good candidates, Novasel said, but they don’t have enough understanding of basin communities where the bulk of the district’s residents live.
“Having a vacation home (here) in my mind does not give you the needed breadth and depth of issues of the Tahoe Basin. For them to come in and try to represent Tahoe fairly, it just won’t happen.”
Novasel is an 11-year board member for Lake Tahoe Unified Schools. She’s also a board member for the TahoeChamber and Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care and helped craft a 1993 Meyers Community Plan.
“I feel like I have a lot of experience on a lot of boards in town. I feel it’s time for me to step up, and I feel my experiences make me uniquely qualified.”
Originally from Salinas, Novasel came to Tahoe as a child with her parents who loved to vacation in the area. She learned to ski here in 1960 when the tram opened, worked a summer job at Camp Richardson in 1973 and moved up here in 1978, when she met her husband.
“I’ve watched it grow up as I grew up,” Novasel said about Tahoe.
Novasel said the top issue in her campaign is economic revitalization, especially with Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s regional plan update.
“That new RPU includes incentives and processes that can spur our businesses, redevelop rundown properties or add new businesses, all the while improving our environment,” Novasel said. “That in itself is a really exciting and vital issue at the forefront of the community and the entire county.”
Public safety, particularly in regards to fire, is another top issue.
“I want to make sure we’re organized for rapid responses with Cal Fire, (the U.S. Forest Service) and local organizations. That’s an important job of the supervisor. We need to make sure all that response is sufficiently coordinated. I want to make sure it stays good and that we can strengthen it,” she said.
Novasel also wants to see improved mental health services, with good working relationships between caregivers and first responders.
“There needs to be better collaboration. I see that as something that doesn’t cost a lot, where we can sit down and come up with safety plans. The question is how do we care for these critical needs people. Right now, they’re just being shuffled around a lot and that’s a problem,” she said.
As someone involved with the schools, Novasel is also making a pitch for Measure L, a June 3 ballot initiative for the library in South Lake Tahoe, as she walks precincts and knocks on doors.
“It will provide services we need to keep the library open,” Novasel said. “When my children were young they lost funding and it went down to two days a week. That is such a wonderful facility there and we want to make sure it stays open.”