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Frega wants projects completed

Michael Schnider

Editor’s note: This is the sixth in a nine-part series profiling candidates for City Council. The election is Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Patrick (Pat) Frega

Age: 45



Years resident: 20

Education: Bachelor’s degree from Jersey City State College



Profession: Games supervisor at Harveys Resort/Hotel Casino

Platform: I want to see redevelopment through to its completion. I want to see continued environmental improvements. I want to see more recreation opportunities for our youths in appropriate areas. I want a more diverse segment of the community involved in the decision-making process. I want continued support of our public safety and public works departments.

Question 1: In light of the numerous times the Park Avenue Project has been postponed, should the city spend money for this project before there is a finalized Disposition and Development Agreement with the developer?

Answer: First of all, the project really hasn’t been postponed, we were not to break ground until next May to begin with. Heavenly, and the other partners, Embassy Suites and a number of other different proponents, have been very good partners with the city in the past. Although it may not 100 percent affect the taxpayers, as a sign of good faith, the action the City Council took, I think, was wise. I would not support the approval of any more funds to be allocated to this project before the Disposition and Development Agreement is approved.

Question 2a: Should the citizens of South Lake Tahoe use their tax money to pay for grant matches which are supposed to come from the pockets of those who use commercial service at the airport?

Answer: In lieu of the fact that we currently do not have commercial air service, as a one-time event, I would have supported allocating this amount of money to the airport. I wouldn’t want to see it on a continuing basis.

Question 2b: With the success of the Reno/Tahoe International Airport, is there a point where the city must abandon the hope of finding a commercial suitor? If so, has that point been reached?

Answer: The city spent a lot of money hiring a professional. I’d like to see that process of finding a commercial airline taken to its finality. Once that scenario has been completed, if we don’t have a commercial carrier, then we need to look at how soon the convention center will be completed. At the completion of the convention center project, there’s going to be a window of opportunity for about two years. We will have additional selling points that we can use for commercial carriers. If at the end of that two-year window of opportunity, we still do not have a commercial carrier, then we need to take a serious look at abandoning the fact that we’re going to to get a commercial carrier and set our sights on having a profitable general aviation airport.

Question 3: Although eminent domain is a legal process, should the city take property from residents for the good of the public (as it claimed to do in the Tahoe Meadows situation), or should the rights of those who fairly bought their properties take precedent?

Answer: As a city planning commissioner, I supported the Linear Park. Most of the negotiations with the property owners have been successful and Linear Park is on schedule. Eminent domain is a process where in extreme circumstances, the government has the authority or the right for the public good to take property from private individuals. In my estimation, eminent domain should be used rarely and only in extreme circumstances. I know the timeline to get the park done is very short, but I am a firm believer that eminent domain should only be used in extreme circumstances.

Question 4a: Even though many city residents supported the cut, because South Lake Tahoe is a tourist destination, should more money be put into the Parks and Recreation Department?

Answer: This field of candidates for City Council has a very big opportunity with the progress that’s happening with the city economy. There’s going to be more money in the city budget that’s going to be able to be allocated for certain things. Parks and Recreation isn’t just fun, part of it is going to deal with preventive actions toward, for example, gangs. With more activities for the kids, there will be things for them to do so we can make a dent into some of the gang problems.

Question 4b: Should there be only one department head for both police and fire?

Answer: This is a very difficult question because public safety is important to our community. I don’t think we need one person in charge of both departments. What I would like to see is the increase in pay between what the person in charge of police and the person in charge of fire currently are making divided up between the people that are doing those jobs now and have two people in the supervisory roles in each department. We don’t need one person in charge of both. We can take that money, divide it up between two people and have them responsible for their own departments.

Question 5: What should the council’s role, if any, be in the fight against MTBE?

Answer: The MTBE problem I feel primarily is a public utility district issue. The role the City Council has to address it and use their bully pulpit is important. I’ve had the opportunity to be able to go down to Sacramento and lobby the chief of staff. I’ve also lobbied the lieutenant governor, who serves on the Coastal Commission to gain his support for MTBE legislation in the basin. There is currently work being done at the University of California Davis where they found there are certain bacterial microbes that are successful in ridding MTBE from a percentage of wells that are polluted. This science may not be completed within the next few months. The council’s action to again look at it and studying the situation and to look at an April 1 deadline, I think, was wise.

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