Council candidate supports recreation, opposed airport
A South Lake Tahoe painter wants to have a brush with public office, saying the city lacks vision.
Mark Cutright, a 46-year-old painter by trade, intends to run for one of the three City Council seats in the Nov. 5 election, which are now held by Brooke Laine, Bill Crawford and Hal Cole. Of the three, only Cole will seek re-election.
Cutright’s campaign platform largely revolves around recreation — for those who live here and those who visit.
“That’s why people come here — to recreate,” he said.
He wants to see the city install more bike trails, in particular from Stateline through town. A two-wheel advocate, Cutright rides mountain and BMX bikes as well as a motorcycle.
Cutright also likes to ski, hike, camp, backpack, fish and take pictures.
He would like to see the sidewalks along the main corridor maintained, as part of an increased effort to beautify the town.
“Currently, there’s a poor upkeep of sidewalks and paths along Highway 50,” he said. “I want the city to enhance Highway 50 beautification, even if it means sweeping the sidewalks,” he said.
He also would like to see the city’s recreation department put on more events to attract more visitors into town, listing organized rides and fishing derbies as options.
“When I move here, it used to be busy. I want us to promote the unique character of our little town,” he said. Cutright has lived here for 27 years. Shortly thereafter, he started painting stripes in parking lots — a consistent business in a mountain town.
“I’m in touch with the locals, and from their input of what the business owners like to see, I agree with a lot of their views,” he said.
He’s against raising the transient occupancy tax to balance the budget, as proposed in Measure Z also coming before voters.
“I’m into raising the number of visitors into town to offset the budget problems,” he said.
Given the “economic situation of the city,” Cutright believes redevelopment efforts are important but require “careful consideration before going further.”
Also in times of budget woes, Cutright doubts the economic viability of the Lake Tahoe Airport when weighing in on the city’s $600,000-plus subsidy.
“It’s a dead horse and has been for a long time because the Reno (Tahoe International) airport is right down the street,” he said. “If it operated in the black, and we had the money, it wouldn’t be an issue. But we’re not.
He agrees the South Shore airport was key to recent firefighting efforts, but he questions “what to do with it.”
He pledged to look at the options, if he’s elected.
Of the new $25,000 strategic plan released recently that probes various airport economic options, Cutright shied away from the idea of placing a visitor’s center in the facility.
He said the U.S. Forest Service visitors’ centers at Meyers and Taylor Creek serve the purpose.