City will leave war matters to feds |

City will leave war matters to feds

Susan Wood, Tribune staff writer

After more than an hour of discussion that placed South Lake Tahoe on the map as a hot spot for world issues Tuesday, the City Council opted to decline a request to put an anti-war resolution on the next agenda.

Most of the five members on the panel said they didn’t believe it’s the city’s place to dictate the nation’s policy.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate for the council on an issue of this magnitude. And I don’t think I have a reading on what the community wants,” Councilman Tom Davis said during the section of the agenda when members give committee reports.

All the members thanked the audience for its extensive participation at the meeting, which packed the chambers with about 50 concerned residents. Councilman Hal Cole also acknowledged how emotional the issue is.

One by one, a near-even split of opinions from South Lake Tahoe residents for or against city action on the proposed Iraqi invasion were presented to the council. Applause followed each view — kicked off by Hillary Dembroff, an occupational therapist who circulated a petition urging the city to join 110 other cities from across the nation in official opposition.

Dembroff told the council she collected 842 signatures, then picked up nine more after the meeting.

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“When do we begin to matter as a priority among our leaders?” she asked, adding the nation “cannot afford this war.”

Mark Soleil used his family as his reason for urging the city to take a stand.

“I want my children to know that the way to solve problems is through reason. As a parent of this community, I want it to be a beacon of peace,” he said. “Sometimes the government doesn’t know best.”

The anti-war sentiment was also balanced by citizens who either fought in the Vietnam and Korean wars or wielded the nation’s history as a pinnacle of responsibility at ridding the world of bullies like Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

“I’m proud of a country willing to risk all for its ideals,” Duane Wallace said.

Many appealed to the council on the premise the city should only deal with issues that fall within its own jurisdiction.

Others said they felt a voter referendum would be needed before the city could speak for its 23,000 residents.

“The only resolution I want to see from the city is to give Godspeed for the return of our young men and women of the military,” Dale Sare said.

In other action:

n The council increased the salary range for fire chief by 10.4 percent to between $6,302 and $8,043 a month. Fire Chief Mike Chandler’s individual salary was unavailable. The fire chief’s salary range makes it comparable with the police chief’s pay.

n Regarding land use, the council appointed real estate agent Kevin Cole as its representative to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Advisory Planning Commission. Cole, who said “he’s delighted to serve,” sat on the TRPA board and the City Council.

n The council decided to change the sunset provision of city code that prohibits converting visitor lodging to time-share units. There is now a moratorium on such conversions until March 20.

The debate stemmed from a growing number of hotels looking into the structure change a few years ago. The issue came up recently because the city is now reviewing the housing section of its general plan.

— Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at