Incline TRPA appointee shares views
INCLINE VILLAGE – Chuck Ruthe, 71, a part-time Incline resident for more than two decades, has taken over the Nevada governor-appointed seat on Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s governing board.
Ruthe, who moved to Las Vegas in 1957 to pursue a career in real estate, took the reigns from long-time Incline resident and close friend of nearly four decades, Drake Delanoy, who stepped down this spring after serving on the board since 1989.
“Drake is a good friend and he made a big difference on that (board),” Ruthe said. “To say those are big shoes to fill ….”
Though Ruthe, a conservative, and Delanoy, sometimes described by other members of the board as a “cantankerous Democrat,” do not share the same politics, Ruthe said his mission is to “pick up where Drake left off.”
“He’s a Democrat, I’m a Republican, that doesn’t make a difference. We share the same views when it comes to (basin) issues,” Ruthe said.
Putting partisan politics aside, Ruthe said his time spent thus far on the agency’s governing board has been spent doing three things:
“Learning, learning and learning.”
Ruthe said he is aware that issues like Pathway 2007 (a multi-agency effort to create a 20-year plan for the basin), a new shorezone plan to regulate piers and buoys, outstanding legal issues (scofflaws cutting or killing trees for example), fuels reduction and management, and even redevelopment in South Lake Tahoe are all coming to fruition.
“There is a lot going on now, yes,” Ruthe said. “Shorezone is still up in the air – we want input from local residents and we really didn’t get it (this summer). One thing for sure the buoys are going to be grandfathered in – we’re still not set yet what the piers are going to be, how many and how much; still undecided.”
Ruthe’s predecessor had some choice words upon his departure about the agency and its recent actions:
“I’ve noticed a turnover with TRPA staff in recent years,” Delanoy said. “I know there’s a new philosophy here, a ‘change in culture’ they call it. This may have caused the turnover. It may be good overall, but we’ve lost a lot of valuable, dedicated staff over the last couple of years.”
Upon departure, Delanoy was also circumspect about the governing board’s effectiveness:
“We are the go-betweens between the public and the executive director and staff.” Delanoy said, noting a “fair amount” of public concern that the agency currently serves too few.
Both of these concerns Ruthe admits to seeing first-hand since his appointment.
“I represent Incline Village and I need to know how they feel about certain items,” Ruthe said. “It’s a 15-man board and that’s a big board to come to cohesive decision.
“I know TRPA doesn’t always come with the best reputation, but it’s a good agency and good work is being done.
“Can improvements be made, certainly.”