Councilman calls for resignation of League director
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – The League to Save Lake Tahoe has become an obstructionist force that needs to dramatically reassess its tactics and leadership, according to South Lake Tahoe City Council members.
Councilman Tom Davis called for the resignation of the League to Save Lake Tahoe’s Executive Director Rochelle Nason Tuesday, saying the environmental advocacy group has become a “surrogate government” and uses litigation to bend the will of Lake Tahoe Basin regulators.
“I think its current leadership, it’s time it be replaced,” Davis said near the end of Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
The councilman said he was particularly frustrated that the city has been working on a general plan update for four years and only received comments from the League criticizing the plan “at the 11th hour.”
“They need to be a facilitator, not an obstacle,” Davis said.
Nason was unavailable for comment late Tuesday afternoon.
League to Save Lake Tahoe program director Carl Young did not address the call for Nason’s resignation directly, but said the group is willing to talk to the city about any perceived problems.
“We welcome any dialogue or correspondence from the City Council on the general plan update or other issues,” Young said.
According to documents provided by League, the environmental group has submitted comments on the city’s general plan update since October 2009.
Four council members said they would like to discuss sending a letter to the League’s board of directors asking the group to change strategy at a future meeting. Asking the board to consider changing it’s senior leadership may also be included in the letter.
The discussion followed council comments on a recent bill introduced by Nevada legislators to pull the state out of the TRPA.
Councilwoman and TRPA Governing Board Member Claire Fortier said she does not support the bill, but said Nevada legislators deserve to keep the agency on a “short leash” because of the frustration many Lake Tahoe Basin residents have with the agency.
She also said many of people’s problems with the TRPA are actually the work of “NIMBYs” disguised as environmentalists, pointing to the League specifically. “NIMBY” is an acronym for “not in my backyard.”
The League’s influence on the recent appointment of E. Clement Shute, Jr. to the TRPA Governing Board by California Governor Jerry Brown represented a “tactical move” by the environmental group to prevent progress at the lake, Fortier added.
Young deferred comment on the appointment to Nason Tuesday evening.
• The Council unanimously approved issuing a request for proposals for operation of the South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena Tuesday.
City Manager Tony O’Rourke said public agencies are usually successful when the management of such recreation venues are opened to private enterprise, but said the competition is key to getting the Ice Arena to perform better. The Ice Arena has lost money four of the past five years.
O’Rourke said he expected to open the operation of additional public facilities, like the parking garage and Lake Tahoe Airport, to private businesses in the future.
“We have to maximize the opportunity in this asset we have,” O’Rourke said.
• The Council unanimously approved placing additional signs to redirect pedestrian traffic to the South Side of Lake Tahoe Boulevard in front of the stalled convention at the stateline Tuesday.
Concerns about pedestrian safety at the site, as well as the city’s liability if someone were to be injured, caused the previous City Council to approve the construction of a pedestrian boardwalk in front of the project. The boardwalk could cost up to $300,000.
The additional signs will cost about $3,000.
The Council made the move after Caltrans attempted to transfer liability for pedestrians to the city and said they would not help fund the boardwalk.