Candidates file for South Lake Tahoe City Council, city clerk, STPUD, school board
South Lake Tahoe residents will have nine choices to fill three City Council seats up for election this fall.
All three incumbents are seeking reelection in the council race. They are Wendy David, Tom Davis and Austin Sass. David has served as mayor — a position voted on by council members before the start of the new calendar year — since mid-December, while Davis has served as mayor pro tem. Sass served as mayor prior to David.
Some of the other candidates on the ballot will be familiar to South Lake Tahoe voters.
Tamara Wallace, executive director of the South Tahoe Chamber of Commerce, narrowly missed being elected to City Council in 2016. She finished in third place with 1,852 votes, or 16.06 percent, just behind Jason Collin, who finished second with 1,995 votes, or 17.3 percent. Wallace frequently attends City Council meetings.
Former City Councilor Hal Cole also is running. Cole was elected to City Council five times before deciding not to run for reelection in 2016. At the time he told the Tribune it seemed like to right time to step away and hand the baton to newer different leadership.
Former City Councilor Bruce Grego also is running for a seat on council. Grego, a longtime attorney in South Lake Tahoe, was elected to council in 2008 and served through 2012.
Grego was part of the team behind Measure T, a ballot measure that prohibited the city from taking any action that “approves or supports” the project, commonly referred to as the Loop Road Project, “unless a specific proposal for realignment is first approved by voters.”
The measure — which was put on the ballot by a citizen petition — passed in November 2016, but has been mired in a legal battle.
Patrick Jarrett, who ran for council in 2016 and finished last in the field of 10 candidates, also is running this year. In a candidate profile published by the Tribune, Jarrett said his “experience in the business community” and his attendance at “the Citizens Academy” qualified him for office.
The other two names on the ballot are first time candidates for council, but well known in the community.
Devin Middlebrook, an environmental planner with Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, is running for a seat. Middlebrook, who was born and raised in South Lake Tahoe, has played an active role in the community. He served on the citizen task force created to help offer input on cannabis regulations.
Middlebrook also serves as executive director of the Tahoe Regional Young Professionals. [Disclosure: Tribune Editor Ryan Hoffman serves on the Tahoe Regional Young Professional Civic Engagement Committee].
Cody Bass is another first-time council candidate who is well known in the community. As executive director of Tahoe Wellness Cooperative, the only legally operating cannabis business in South Lake Tahoe, Bass has been a frequent presence at City Hall. Bass helped craft the city’s original medical cannabis regulations but has since had a more difficult time at City Hall.
While voters will have plenty of options, the field is smaller than the 10 who ran for two seats on council in 2016. Historically the city has seen larger candidate pools, including in 1972 when 15 candidates competed for two seats.
Three seats on the South Tahoe Public Utility District Board of Directors are on the ballot. All three incumbents — Chris Cefalu, James Jones and Duane Wallace — are running for reelection. Other candidates include: Nick Exline, Eric Schafer and Louis Pierini.
Two candidates have filed to run for the South Lake Tahoe city clerk position vacated earlier this month by Susan Alessi. Ellen Palazzo, who left the clerk’s office earlier this year and is a certified municipal clerk, is running for the position.
Susan Blankenship, the current assistant city clerk, also is running for the position.
South Lake Tahoe City Treasurer David Olivo is running unopposed for the position.
Lake Tahoe Unified School District
Incumbent Barbara Bannar was the only candidate to file for trustee area 5. According to the candidate list, nobody filed to run in trustee area 2, which currently is represented by Angela Swanson.