Another challenger jumps into race for City Council |

Another challenger jumps into race for City Council

Elaine Goodman

South Lake Tahoe resident John Spinola has decided to run for City Council this fall for one simple reason.

“Could I possibly screw it up any more?” he asked, referring to the track record of the existing council.

Spinola is one of four candidates who had qualified as of Thursday to run for two seats on the South Lake Tahoe City Council. The others are incumbent Councilman Ted Long; Jonnie Crawford, wife of current Councilman Bill Crawford; and Warren Kessler, a wedding minister and licensed private investigator.

The filing period ends at 5 p.m. Friday. But if an incumbent doesn’t file by then, the period will be extended through 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Although the second potential incumbent in the race, Mike Weber, hadn’t taken out papers to run as of Thursday afternoon, he said that he intended to file Friday. If Weber doesn’t file Friday, he won’t be able to run in the Nov. 4 election.

Spinola has lived in South Lake Tahoe for 32 of his 38 years. He and his wife own a small business, A Couple’s Choice, which provides ministry and photography services for weddings.

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Among Spinola’s areas of concern are the stalled convention center project at the state line. The project is a partnership between the city of South Lake Tahoe and Lake Tahoe Development Co.

“The city did its part, so Lake Tahoe Development should do its part – no matter what it takes,” Spinola said. And Spinola marveled that the city allowed the project to move forward even though the developer didn’t have firm financing in place.

Spinola said a proposal to build a $25 million City Hall is a waste of money – as is the widening of the “Y” intersection at the west end of town, since it won’t alleviate traffic bottlenecks where the two lanes of westbound Highway 50 are reduced to one. He also would like to see the Lake Tahoe Airport stop losing money.

More information on the other two nonincumbents in the race, Crawford and Kessler, appeared in the Tribune on July 25. (See

Another potential candidate in the City Council race, Austin Sass, took out papers to run but apparently had not filed as of Thursday. Sass couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.

And a former council member who had considered running this fall, Tom Davis, said Thursday that he will not enter the race.

“Reluctantly, I’m going to pass,” Davis said, citing a heavy workload at his job as marketing director at Horizon Casino Resort.

To run for City Council, one must be a registered voter and live within the city of South Lake Tahoe at the time nomination papers are issued.

Those who are interested in filing can pick up nomination papers at the City Clerk’s office at the Lake Tahoe Airport from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call the clerk’s office at (530) 542-6004.