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City council candidates address seniors

Dan Thrift/Tahoe TribuneMarvin Weitzenhoffer, left, with the Area Agency on Aging, reads a question from the audience Tuesday during a forum with candidates running for South Lake Tahoe City Council.
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In the last hoorah of public forums, the South Lake Tahoe senior community got an up-close-and-personal view Tuesday of seven of the eight faces running for one of three City Council seats.

With candidate Mark Cutright absent, about 40 people in the audience at the South Lake Tahoe Senior Center heard the responses to submitted questions thrown out to the candidates by moderator Marvin Weitzenhoffer.

Some inquiries were uncanny in who they were directed to, even though the format called for no specified question to a certain candidate running Nov. 5.



Weitzenhoffer noticed the matchup of candidates to questions, reassuring the public he didn’t plan them.

Pete Mac Roberts fielded a question regarding a plan for more city revenue beyond passage of Measure Z, a city-supported initiative that seeks to raise the transient occupancy tax by at least $1 and doubles the business licensing fees.




The candidates except Stephen Reinhard support Measure Z.

“We need to broaden our tax base,” Mac Roberts said, describing himself as “one of you” at age 65.

Through participation with the South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association, Mac Roberts joined seniors in helping form a plan to get the city’s financial house in order. Over the long haul, it calls for a boost in the sales tax rate to increase city revenue. The city must apply with the state for the change.

In a continuation of near tailor-made questions, Michael Phillips was asked how he would juggle working with other council members.

As the Lake Tahoe Auto Village service manager, much of Phillips’ job requires bringing together mechanics, parts personnel and technicians.

“I believe I have the patience and understanding to work well with all people,” he said.

As far as teamwork, Kathay Lovell laughed when asked if she would consider investigating combining the city police and El Dorado County Sheriff’s departments, for which her husband Les, works.

“We need to bring the two parties together to see what they’re in favor of doing,” Lovell said.

Moreover, Gunnar Henrioulle ended up tackling the transportation-related issue to remind voters of his stance the city needs to review alternative forms of transit.

Reinhard kept with his stand-up-and-be-counted opposing views to say he would follow the intent of Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s planned area statement outlawing vacation homes. But he declined to support rent control on permanent rentals.

Property owner and manager John Upton said he wants a better model for how vacation homes are managed.

“People come up here and don’t realize they’re in the community,” he said.

After fielding a question of annexing county areas into the city as he did in another public forum, City Councilman Hal Cole responded to why residents should vote for an incumbent in the face of budget shortfalls.

Cole sprang from his seat, pointing out the difficulty of balancing a $20 million general-fund budget when the city residents demand a certain level of service.

No candidate would support cuts to the Senior Center if Measure Z fails to pass.


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