One of six candidates for El Dorado County District 5 Supervisor, Teresa Piper describes herself as a researcher, a strong voice and a go-getter and as someone who has lived many of the county’s issues.
“I was talking to our code enforcement officer the other day and he said, ‘Man, I’d love to see you on the (Tahoe Regional Planning Agency),’” said Piper, who is 51 and works at a grocery store in Pollock Pines.
Piper is no stranger to El Dorado County. She used to work for the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office as a field tax collector and vacation home rental enforcement officer. Her father moved the family to El Dorado County when she was a teenager. She graduated from El Dorado High School.
While some candidates focus on the divide between Pollock Pines and South Lake Tahoe on either end of the district, Piper jokes that she’s the dual-citizenship candidate in the race.
Piper worked at the casinos in South Lake Tahoe after graduating from high school and she and her husband, former sheriff’s Sgt. Larry Hennick, own a second home in the basin. “I don’t need the passport to get through the granite curtain,” she said. “I get to see the day-to-day, the struggles of the residents of my area and what their needs, desires and wishes are. I share them.”
Piper said District 5 has not had a strong supervisor for a long time. She said she promises to bring a strong voice to the position.
Piper said one main issue to her is U.S. 50. Insufficient facilities make problems for business owners, residents and travelers, she said.
“Highway 50 needs a rest stop and services between Fresh Pond where the Chevron is and Meyers. A true rest stop, 365 days. It needs to be someplace lighted, and for people to do their business in every shape and form.”
Piper fought a proposed homeless shelter in Pollock Pines several years ago; not because she didn’t want such a facility in the community, but because of the proposed deal it offered the developer, who could have taken grant money and later pulled the plug on it, she said. Piper said she supported Hangtown Haven, the now closed homeless camp in Placerville.
“There’s a need on both sides of the curtain for a permanent location for them,” she said.
Another top issue for Piper is jobs. The district needs living-wage jobs. Many of the former employees of the closed sawmill in Camino now come through the grocery store late at night because they are embarrassed to be using their electronic benefit transfer cards. Piper said she wants to see the mill reopened for something.
“I had a chamber person say to me, ‘You grew up with that noise and smell and others didn’t.’ Well you make it fit, you find something that fits to provide living-wage jobs,” Piper said.
Rather than offering tax incentives to attract businesses, the county needs to focus on making sure there is adequate infrastructure and promoting its obvious lifestyle and recreation advantages for businesses and employees.
“I don’t believe putting the county at risk to attract a business is necessary when we have the county to offer. We have a lifestyle no one else can offer,” Piper said.
Piper said the county needs to focus on making itself work for the local residents.
“Pollock Pines and South Lake Tahoe both have such huge needs for tourism. I want us to be independent from that, to be able to support ourselves with our own residents, and the tourism to just be a bonus on top of that,” Piper said.
“We need to cater to locals, build the local base and appreciate when you do have a good tourism time and not go broke when you don’t. We need to be able to take care of our own.”