Fortier drops out of council race |

Fortier drops out of council race

Susan Wood, Tahoe Daily Tribune

The field of candidates for three South Lake Tahoe City Council seats has narrowed to eight.

Former Tribune Managing Editor Claire Fortier, who now works as the chief operating officer for Sierra Family Care, announced her decision Thursday to pull out of the hotly-contested race.

“At this point, I realize I can’t be really good at both jobs. The City Council is a full-time job. It’s an enormous investment financially and emotionally. I would have had to put everything on the back burner,” Fortier said, estimating the commitment to run would take 40 to 60 hours a week.

Because of the Election Code, her name will still appear on the November ballot. She has made the decision not to serve if elected.

Fortier indicated she may change her mind in another two years.

“That’s OK. Now I know what I’m looking at,” she said.

Fortier said the decision to opt out of the Nov. 5 race was difficult as many people expressed their support when they discovered she was running. She had raised no money, she said.

Others who disagreed with her decisions as the Tribune editor also added their opinions in opposition to her setting policy for the city, she said.

Fortier believes the pullback represents a brush with humility that’s somewhat “embarrassing.”

However, if she had stayed in the race only to find out her time commitment led to her doing a substandard job, the city would have suffered.

“We’ve got good candidates running (who have shown) a strong feeling of moving forward,” she said.

Fortier said she’s elevated her level of respect for those who serve on the City Council or seek a seat — especially at such a critical time for the city in terms of issues.

“It’s an eye-opener as a journalist. When you’re observing, you realize you only see a fraction of the actual time and investment,” she said.

Beyond her job commitment, she’s also helping to raise two children.

She sees a parallel to her withdrawal with Mayor Brooke Laine opting not to seek re-election. Laine cites her commitment to her family as the major reason why she has turned down another go on the council.

“I admire her for that position,” Fortier said.

Laine also helps run Laine Photo Labs.

Besides Laine, Councilmember Bill Crawford is vacating his seat. Councilman Hal Cole’ has the third seat, though he is seeking re-election.

The other candidates are: auto service manager Michael Phillips, painter Mark Cutright, retired airport employee Gunnar Henrioulle, Verizon executive Kathay Lovell, Viking Motor Lodge manager Pete Mac Roberts, newspaper carrier Stephen Reinhard and Chris Haven Mobile Home Park owner John Upton.

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