Age equals experience to Mac Roberts |

Age equals experience to Mac Roberts

South Lake Tahoe City Council candidate Pete Mac Roberts may very well identify with one of former President Ronald Reagan’s famous sound bites during the 1984 presidential campaign against Walter Mondale.

In so many words, Reagan said he wouldn’t fault his opponent for his age, or the lack thereof — meaning his maturity and experience.

At age 65, Mac Roberts — who’s spent most of his working life in the hospitality industry — said he’s using the autumn of his years to “give back” to his community. People have, in turn, given back to him.

He’s raised $7,798 in campaign contributions, the city clerk’s office reported.

Mac Roberts moved to Tahoe a decade ago, managing the Viking Motor Lodge near Stateline. With this experience, he served as president of the South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association, of which he’s still a member.

“I know it sounds cliche, but I want to give back because I think it’s really about being an American,” he said Monday.

The newcomer to public politics also believes he can represent seniors, a prevalent group in South Lake Tahoe, better than any other candidate — “especially because we’re going through the same problems.”

“I think there’s a lot of brainpower there,” he said, referring to senior citizens.

This brainpower from seniors and the lodging association united with others in a coalition to help craft Measure Z. This is the city’s ballot initiative that seeks to raise the transient occupancy tax motel guests pay and doubles the business licensing fees. The money will help fund city services.

“People say it’s a Band-Aid. Yes, it is a Band-Aid. But it will take two years to pass a sales tax initiative,” he said, pointing to talk of a city effort to increase this rate through the state to help generate more revenue.

Mac Roberts believes in partnerships waged through the private and public sectors to solve problems, which range from an insular local economy to reasonable wilderness and lake protection.

The former Eagle Scout, who spent many years hunting and fishing in the backcountry, wants to restore Lake Tahoe to a tourism tour de force.

“It’s nothing really new. We have a city that has reached a point where we need marketing,” he said, adding that building the convention center at Stateline is a big part of the push to gain revenue for the midweek business. The city’s finances, perceived inability to work together and lack of planning for the long haul drove Mac Roberts to run on Nov. 5 for one of three seats held by Mayor Brooke Laine, Councilmen Bill Crawford and Hal Cole. Cole is the only one running for re-election.

“The biggest common denominator in my campaign is change. For eight years, the council was unable to implement a solution to the budget crisis,” he said. “I think they lost the big picture. Many people I talk to want to see three fresh faces. It’s imperative we get clear-thinking people.”

Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at

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