Introducing SLT’s city council candidates (6/10) | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Introducing SLT’s city council candidates (6/10)

Claire Cudahy
ccudahy@tahoedailytribune.com
Trey Riddle
Courtesy Photo |

Over the coming weeks Tahoe Daily Tribune will share Q-and-A’s from the 10 candidates vying for two available seats on the South Lake Tahoe city council. We will introduce two candidates per edition, before diving into pertinent issues in November’s local election.

TREY RIDDLE

What qualifications do you have to be a South Lake Tahoe city councilor?

I’ve always naturally gravitated toward leadership roles. From team sports to work environments, I have vast experience as a leader. I lead by example, and I believe a true leader is there to serve others. Others are not there to serve the leader.

What is your vision for the South Lake Tahoe of the future?

I would like to see the revitalization of South Lake Tahoe with fresher, more homogeneous building facades and a well thought out and completed infrastructure that encourages an active and healthy lifestyle among its residents and guests alike.

How would you address the issue of affordable housing?

When I hear “affordable housing,” I hear “let’s round up all the poor people and stick them in one spot.” The only role the government should play in housing is making sure local residents are paid a fair wage and can afford housing that already exists. Then we wouldn’t be spending tax dollars on housing projects and residents would be able to buy more luxury items thereby generating more revenue for the city in sales tax dollars instead of costing the city money in project housing.

I believe the minimum wage for South Lake Tahoe Residents should always be 20 percent more than whatever the California minimum wage is at any given moment. I feel this way because we are a town that runs on tourism, which makes us unlike other towns. We’re not just moving money back and forth between our own residents; we have a large influx of money from outside of our city. The people who bring this money in also put a heavier burden on our infrastructure, which our residents must pay for, and they also force businesses to hire more people in the busy seasons than they can support in the off season, so our residents face layoffs and reduced hours in the shoulder seasons. A lot of businesses are all too happy to charge resort prices for this destination location, but they don’t bother sharing that money with the people who make this town function. We can do better than the California bare minimum.

What is your stance on the Loop Road Project?

I support democracy. Let the residents decide.

How are you currently involved in the community, and in what ways would you as a city councilor work to unite the community?

My wife and I have spent the last few years settling into South Lake Tahoe after moving here from Hermosa Beach, California, where we were small business owners and active members of the Chamber of Commerce.

To unite our community, I feel we should focus more on projects that directly benefit our residents before tourism. Our infrastructure is in bad shape, and our roads and walkways, or lacks thereof, are not safe for local pedestrians and cyclists, and it’s time to give back to the residents who make this town work.

How would you propose the city regulate the recreational use of marijuana if it passes?

If it passes, I would prefer not to have it sold commercially in our stores. I have no problem with people legally cultivating it in their own homes, but tourists already come to the South Shore with the idea they’re going to Vegas and the way they treat our city reflects that. I don’t want them coming here now and treating it like it’s Amsterdam. I would also try to keep it out of our public spaces. If residents choose to use marijuana, that’s their prerogative, but people who choose not to use it should not be subjected to second hand smoke.

As councilor, how would you help address our community’s mental health issues?

I believe it’s good to have help available to those who need it. I’m not, however, going to pretend to be an expert on mental health issues, and I don’t think anyone else on the city council is either. So, I would have to seek input from the community and then communicate that with state agencies more qualified to handle our needs.

Where would you like to see Transient Occupancy Tax dollars spent?

Nineteen percent of the City’s general fund comes from TOT’s. Nearly two-thirds of the entire general fund is spent on city personnel; salaries, pensions, health care and other benefit costs. I would like to bring that number down so we’re spending less on personnel and more on projects to benefit the residents of South Lake Tahoe.

As far as the proposed two-percent increase in TOT’s under Measure P goes, which I support, that money will be designated for recreation purposes. That designation is tied to the measure and the revenue generated by the tax increase cannot be used for anything other than recreation.

In your opinion, what is the most pressing issue in South Lake Tahoe?

Infrastructure is the most pressing issue in South Lake Tahoe. Our city’s roads and walkways are in disrepair and the highway is littered with old, dilapidated motels and buildings. We need to make it safer for locals to travel by foot or bicycle to encourage active, healthy lifestyles, and then we need to cut through all of the red tape and interagency discord that’s been preventing positive growth from the private sector.

Who would you like to see fill the other open seat on the city council?

I would like to see the other open seat on city council filled by someone who is going in there to execute the will of the city’s residents and is not running to serve their own agenda.

JOANN CONNER

What qualifications do you have to be a South Lake Tahoe city councilor?

I currently serve as City Council representative to the League of California Cities, City Council representative to the Lodging Association, Council subcommittee representative for the Senior Center and the Tahoe Coalition for the Homeless. I helped develop the current Airport Master Plan, served on the Recreation JPA to help build and rebuild our playing fields, and helped extend the bike path system through my representation on the Bicycle Coalition. I was instrumental in getting the Council to vote to match resources and keep the bike paths clear of snow for all our cyclists, pedestrians and disabled to use. I served on the Solid Waste JPA, voting to strengthen ordinances regarding citizen and business waste control, thereby protecting our wildlife. I also served on the Cal Tahoe Fire JPA. I also own and operate two businesses, which gives me a good perspective on the needs of small business.

What is your vision for the South Lake Tahoe of the future?

I hope for a community that provides better wages and housing for all socio-economic levels and learns to appreciate and respect people of different views and cultures.

How would you address the issue of affordable housing?

Work with the TRPA, STPUD, large employers, state funds and business owners to incentivize building or adding workforce/affordable housing. The City could decrease fees, streamline the permitting process and accelerate inspections for those who would build this type of housing.

What is your stance on the Loop Road Project?

This project has been in the works for nearly 40 years and there are still a number of significant issues remaining unaddressed. The citizens should decide at the ballot box.

How are you currently involved in the community, and in what ways would you as a city councilor work to unite the community?

I currently serve on the Board of Directors for the South Lake Tahoe Cancer League, regularly attend the Tahoe Area Coordinating Council for the Disabled, am a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, member of the Tahoe Art League, member of Friends of the Library, a life time member of the Lake Tahoe Historical Society, past President of the South Tahoe Chamber of Commerce, past Board Member of Tahoe Douglas Rotary, past Neighborhood Chairperson for Girl Scouts, past Co-Pack Master of Boy Scout Pack 594. I have done fundraisers for the Lake Tahoe Humane Society, American Legion, VFW and Christmas Cheer, and regularly help with the beach clean up on the fifth of July, organized by the League to Save Lake Tahoe. Many of our nonprofits are developing more ways to collaborate. This community pulls together in incredible strength when there is a need. The public agencies could do more to accelerate this mutual respect.

How would you propose the city regulate the recreational use of marijuana if it passes?

We already regulate those who grow their own for medicinal purposes. I would see that expanding, as well as a taxation system for the purchase of recreational marijuana. There is discussion on the state level to institute controls, but I would rather see it done on a local level.

As councilor, how would you help address our community’s mental health issues?

We currently have a policy where we give a large sum to one charity. I would like to see that change. Tahoe Youth and Family Services, TACCD, the veterans, and the Tahoe Coalition for the Homeless all help address this issue by working with the services provided by El Dorado County. I would like to see the City contribute more to help in this field.

Where would you like to see Transient Occupancy Tax dollars spent?

The intent was to have it go toward recreation. If the citizens approve the increase in TOT, that is where it should go.

In your opinion, what is the most pressing issue in South Lake Tahoe?

Affordable housing and roads.

Who would you like to see fill the other open seat on the city council?

The candidate who most listens to all the people, from all races, economic levels, and backgrounds, and has a true concern for small business.

Read the previously published Q-and-A’s with Tamara Wallace and Ted Long here, and Robert Topel and Patrick Jarrett here.