Council candidate would return to familiar turf
August 18, 2004
Bruce Grego has a habit of showing up when community government sits at a crossroads.
He wants to take another crack at a place on the South Lake Tahoe City Council for reasons other than what put him there more than a decade ago.
Involved with city affairs for at least 25 years, the South Shore attorney stepped into the City Council’s hot seat for about a year in 1989 when Mayor Terry Trupp resigned. Trupp was sent to prison on cocaine charges.
Grego ran for the seat he occupied and lost in 1990 with 39 percent of the vote, the county elections department reported.
“It was a bad year for incumbents,” he said.
He’s now running for one of two seats to be vacated by Mayor Tom Davis and Councilwoman Judy Brown.
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Grego said he wants “to apply his knowledge – not rely on studies and staff” – to the council’s table.
“I think I can make a contribution. I feel seasoned,” he said.
The 51-year-old New York native, who attended South Tahoe High School, has lived in Tahoe since 1967. In that time, he’s seen and participated in a number of changes.
For example, Grego mentioned that three decades ago he had a hand in the legal opinion making the city treasurer and city clerk elected positions.
In the late 1970s, he also cited taking part in a coalition called 20/20 that used 20 goals to outline the vision of the city.
Flash forward to today’s motivation: Grego wants to continue with and massage the redevelopment process.
“I don’t think the redevelopment idea has come out the way a lot of people had hoped,” he said, listing the $7 million deficit owed to the general fund and parking situation.
“I’m not happy about the paid parking,” he said.
The $6 million parking garage, leveraged by bond holders, requires customers pay for space to offset the operational costs.
At the same time, he acknowledged redevelopment “as a complicated process.”
Along those lines, he supports the convention center proposed near Stateline, which is referred to by the city as Project 3.
“It will benefit large and small businesses,” he said.
However, he’d like to move the 17-acre proposal to an area other than the wedge across Highway 50 from the Marriott-anchored Park Avenue complex.
Grego would like the city and Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to reform their land-use policies to accommodate more housing options – such as turning non-performing motels into condominiums.
“Right now, the work force is going to be pushed off the hill,” said Grego, who served on the Planning Commission for eight years. “We’re not providing solutions.”
He reared his interest in civic politics when he became involved in the “No on Measure L” campaign. The local schools initiative, which was defeated in April, was considered unfair in its tax structure language by opponents.
In discussing November’s initiative to increase the sales tax in South Lake Tahoe by a half-percent, Grego believes that some taxes work better than others.
“Taxes are hard to raise. You need a good cause,” he said. “But if I have to choose between a tax, I’ll take the sales tax over (transient occupancy tax).”
So to a limited degree and it’s needed, Grego supports the sales tax initiative.
He objects to taxing tourists at a higher rate with a motel-room tax because he fears it will scare away the people who provide the lifeblood to the economy.
New ways to get the visitor and local around town should be visited, too.
“Public transportation has failed all over the place, not just here. But if we do it, we need to run it 24 hours a day. Either we make a full commitment or don’t do it at all,” he said, referring to the city’s 12-hour BlueGo bus runs.
He recommends the transit system incorporate turnouts for the buses, so traffic can go around them.
Grego knows about maneuvering. Beyond negotiating civil law, he takes his wife, Gerri, square dancing every Wednesday night.
When he’s not working and dancing, Grego is also an avid collector – from bottles and books to pictures and documents. He said he found a check signed by D.L. Bliss.
Grego will be running against city Planning Commissioner Pat Frega, retired attorney Ted Long, recreation advocate Stephen Reinhard, businessman Mike Weber and El Dorado County boat patrolman Jeff Williams.
-Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org