The Tahoe Daily Tribune today begins a nine-part series profiling candidates for City Council. The series will run on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays over the next three weeks before the Nov. 3 election. The order of the profiles was drawn at random and each candidate will be asked the same questions. The order is: Jerry Oldenkamp, Anthony LaFrano, Brooke Laine, Mark Peck, Bill Crawford, Pat Frega, Hal Cole, Gunnar Henrioulle and Michael Phillips.
On Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 6 p.m. the League of Women Voters Placerville Area and the Tahoe Daily Tribune are sponsoring a candidates’ forum at the City Council chambers, 1900 Lake Tahoe Blvd. TCI Cablevision is planning to videotape the forum for broadcast the week before the election.
Name: Jerry Oldenkamp
Years Resident: 13
Education: Bachelor’s degree in business administration from California State University, Long Beach
Profession: Retired, formerly in sales
Platform: Oldenkamp said, because he is retired, he can now spend time changing what needs to be changed. He said one goal is a monthly town hall meeting to get things out in the air and improve communication. He also said he would like to see seniors’ and disabled persons’ issues moved off the back burner.
Oldenkamp said he is running his campaign without contributions.
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: Yes. The number of times that it has been postponed. We need to get this project started. If we need to come up with some front money, it’s nowhere near the amount of money American Ski is going to have to commit to and has committed to and has already spent as a private corporation. If they’re willing to spend this on us, then we should show good faith and keep up the timetable as best we can.
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: A qualified yes on that. It’s my understanding that the money that was forwarded, the $60,000, $30,000 of which minimum was guaranteed if the grant was not paid for or if something happened with the whole program. Thirty thousand, therefore, is what we actually committed without protection. When you look at the total sum of money the government is putting into it, $30,000 to keep Oasis, the general aviation, running and safe and to keep the airport itself running and safe to where if we did get an airline to serve in here in the next few months, things could be started immediately. I think it’s well spent.
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: No. In fact, I don’t think enough effort has been made to secure a major airline. We have to take a firm look at how viable it would be to keep the airport open or at least keep that airport intact. I don’t think we’ve reached that point yet. Reno/Tahoe is fine down in Reno, but it’s still an hour and a half by bus shuttle or an hour and a quarter by personal car with a long parking walk and other things to be considered. It’s no perfect situation by any means and yes, I hope we have commercial service up here very soon and I’ll do what I can to get it there.
Question 3: Although eminent domain is a legal process, should the city take property from residents for the good of the public, or should the rights of those who fairly bought their properties take precedent?
Answer: Obviously, if you buy your property you should have some rights. However, in this particular case, that stretch of Highway 50 has been visibly ugly. It’s been an eyesore, especially in the spring months or after a heavy winter. Now that’s fine if they want it to stay that way. However, if we can do something to compliment redevelopment and the Highway 50 corridor like creating Linear Park and having it tie in with what we’ve done with the Ski Run Marina project has done and others, I see no problem whatsoever in using eminent domain where it is necessary to finish the project.
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: Yes, the youth of this community are hard-pressed to find anything to do after school and on vacation periods, holiday periods, involving recreation. Understandably, the wintertime limits some of the activities but we need to develop the park, we need to maintain the parks. I would like to see this $100,000 (Parks and Rec) budget shortfall somehow included in the next budget consideration.
Question 4b: Should there be only one department head for both police and fire?
Answer: No. I think that even though both are public service positions and they closely tie in together, I would love to see separate appointments made. I would like to see someone with police experience running the police department and vice versa with the fire department. Even though they have similar duties, their internal workings are totally separate and need someone at the top where the buck stops.
Question 5: What should the council’s role, if any, be in the fight against MTBE?
Answer: I think by April 1, if not sooner, we ought to ban MTBE sold within the city limits. The longer we wait to ban this, the more dangerous it’s going to be to our drinking water. We have to protect that drinking water. We don’t have ways of bringing it into the basin, we don’t have ways to distribute it. On April 1, let’s not consider a ban, let’s just ban it.
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