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Business supporter would cut community arts program

Michael Schnieder

Editor’s note: This is the second in a nine-part series profiling candidates for City Council. The election is Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Tony LaFrano

Age: 32



Years Resident: 5

Education: Bachelor’s degree in history from California State University, Chico



Profession: Manager, Ski Run Riva Grill

Platform: To help develop a long-term market strategy for South Lake Tahoe- for five, 10 and 20 years out – that will concentrate on bringing more tourist money to the basin without jeopardizing the environment of Lake Tahoe in conjunction with the redevelopment of Tahoe, which we need, and also to make it easier for Tahoe’s business leaders to conduct business with as little bureaucratic red tape as possible.

Question 1: In light of the numerous times the Park Avenue Project has been postponed, should the city spend money for this project before there is a finalized Disposition and Development Agreement with the developer?

Answer: The city needs to work with the developers of the Park Avenue Project and complete this project as soon as possible. They have had the green light from the TRPA and the city of South Lake Tahoe since 1996 for this project. I say lets go ahead with the Park Avenue Project and start moving forward.

Question 2a: Should the citizens of South Lake Tahoe use their tax money to pay for grant matches which are supposed to come from the pockets of those who use commercial service at the airport?

Answer: The amount in question, roughly $30,000 to tax the residents of the city of South Lake Tahoe, could be subsidized other ways. I do not believe the citizens of the city of South Lake Tahoe should be subjected to any more taxes. Rather, if we look at it, we should have the city fund the $30,000 by eliminating, perhaps our community arts program which is a $40,000 to $50,000 burden. The reason I say that is because the city of South Lake Tahoe does not need a community arts program. Tourists do not come here for art, they come here for recreation.

Question 2b: With the success of the Reno/Tahoe International Airport, is there a point where the city must abandon the hope of finding a commercial suitor? If so, has that point been reached?

Answer: If we want to become a true destination resort then we need to step up to the plate and bring commercial air service to South Lake Tahoe. I believe it is a necessary evil for the city and needs to be done. People who go on vacation, go on vacation to slow down. However, they want to get there as quickly as possible. I’ve spoken with many of our visitors and the majority of them want service to South Lake Tahoe.

Question 3: Although eminent domain is a legal process, should the city take property from residents for the good of the public (as it claimed to do in the Tahoe Meadows situation), or should the rights of those who fairly bought their properties take precedent?

Answer: Progress sometimes is a difficult process and I think that if it generates the greatest good for the greatest number of people in South Lake Tahoe then it’s a good thing. People are going to get hurt in the name of progress and I think that the walkway being built over Tahoe Meadows is a good thing for this community and it’s not interrupting that much of the property line and it’s not that big of an issue.

Question 4a: Even though many city residents supported the cut, because South Lake Tahoe is a tourist destination, should more money be put into the Parks and Recreation Department?

Answer: I think we need to put our money into recreation activities that both the locals and the visitors can enjoy, for instance, more mountain biking trails that are well marked, in-line skating paths and, if need be, a soccer field for the kids and softball events as well as better hiking trails that everyone can enjoy. I think it’s important to keep up with our current recreation facilities and build facilities that will help bring people to the basin.

Question 4b: Should there be only one department head for both police and fire?

Answer: That’s like putting a football coach in charge of both a football and baseball team. I think both are completely different disciplines and each department needs its own department head – i.e., I am for one fire chief and one police chief for the city of South Lake Tahoe. It does not make sense to have one person rule two departments so diverse.

Question 5: What should the council’s role, if any, be in the fight against MTBE?

Answer: I think if this were a problem with radiation, it would be solved immediately. MTBE is just another way for the big gas companies to increase inventories, it’s a dangerous chemical and it needs our immediate attention. I think it’s ironic that Lake Tahoe has some of cleanest water in California, but our tap water is not drinkable. I think we need to do something about MTBE as soon as possible with the help of our local gas stations.

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