Community says so long to public servant
About 120 community members came out Wednesday night to roast former El Dorado County Supervisor John Upton and officially release him from public office.
“John’s been in the custody of the county since 1991,” noted Superior Court Judge Suzanne Kingsbury. “I’m here to return his property.”
Kingsbury handed over an assortment of the casual clothing he is famous for, including a gray striped sport jacket perfectly matching the one he was wearing.
With the thought that Upton might need work, she issued two jury summons that requires his presence five days a week.
“At $5 a day, that’s $25 a week plus 15 cents a mile one way,” she said. “Now that you’re unemployed, you have no excuse.”
Jabs about Upton’s casual dress – khakis, running shoes and vest – provided a common thread among the 20 presentations. Many guests arrived in evening wear and sports shoes.
Concluding the presentations that included plaques and gifts as well as gags and skewers, a typical Upton outfit was raised to the rafters in tribute.
Raise it “high, where he can’t find it,” said Duane Wallace, executive director of the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce and co-master of ceremonies with Dave Kurtzman, a Lake Tahoe Unified School District board member.
Other barbs focused on Upton’s apparent lack of employment as well as his habit of taking copious notes on legal pads.
“I didn’t know my habits were so obvious,” Upton said.
Dick Powers, executive director of South Shore Transit Management Association, expressed concern about Upton’s employment status and suggested he apply for a job driving the Nifty Fifty Trolleys.
“If you’re feeling a lack of authority, lack of power, we’ll also have openings for traffic management positions,” Power added. “Flaggers.”
Upton, a 1962 valedictorian of South Tahoe High School, began public life as city treasurer in 1974. He also won election to the Lake Tahoe Unified School District Board of directors. He represented the community on a myriad of committees and appointed boards through the years, including the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Board of Directors.
During his tenure in county government, Upton served a year as president of the California State Association of Counties.
Prior to winning election as county supervisor, Upton owned and operated a construction company and continues to operate a South Shore mobile home park.
“I’ve been pleased to be sustained through 10 elections with your confidence in me,” Upton told the audience.
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