Introducing South Lake Tahoe’s city council candidates (10/10) | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Introducing South Lake Tahoe’s city council candidates (10/10)

Danny McLaughlin
Courtesy Photo |

Over the past couple of weeks Tahoe Daily Tribune has been sharing Q-and-A’s from the 10 candidates vying for two available seats on the South Lake Tahoe city council. These are the final two candidates, and now we will begin diving into pertinent issues in November’s local election.

DANNY MCLAUGHLIN

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

As Chairman of the Parks and Rec Commission when Measure S was passed, I worked closely with City Council members on recreation issues and gained a great deal of respect and understand what it takes to be a City Councilperson. As a member of the media, I have developed and maintained friendships from all walks of life in this community and constantly engage in discussion of the various issues our community faces.

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

I would like to see the South Shore community have a more diverse economy with an increase in higher paying high tech jobs and less dependent upon tourism. A community that is senior friendly, with numerous recreational opportunities, affordable housing, a solid infrastructure, a quality school system and that is a great place to raise a family.

How would you address the issue of affordable housing?

I support Sue Novasel’s plan to create a public/private task force to look into the issue. Only through a partnership can anything be accomplished. One of the things the City can do is look for ways to grow the economy in a manner so we are less dependent on the tourism industry. The telecommuter can live anywhere, if we create an environment where they can succeed in South Lake Tahoe, perhaps we can get them to relocate their businesses here as well.

What is your stance on the Loop Road Project?

Traffic congestion on Highway 50 through Stateline is a major issue causing many people to use residential streets as an alternative. I used to live on Chonokis and I can tell you firsthand that these residential streets were never designed to handle this kind of traffic and how it negatively impacts these neighborhoods. Something needs to be done to get this traffic off our residential roads. The Tahoe Transportation District, the agency who has jurisdiction over any Loop Road project, has 5 plans that are at the environmental analysis stage that address this issue. I want to wait until all the analysis is complete and review them before deciding to support or oppose their Loop Road Project.

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

I recently retired after over 30 years of coaching high school sports at both Whittell and South Tahoe High Schools. Uniting a team is similar to uniting a community; you must be transparent. To be transparent you must listen to your constituents, respect their positions and be honest and have an open mind.

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

That is a really good question and I don’t have any easy answers. However, we do have a model to follow, we need to use the same standards we have regarding alcohol consumption as a starting point.

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

We currently have a mental health clinic operated by El Dorado County, local psychiatrists, social workers, and Barton Health. These groups, along with others, have come together to form a Mental Health Collaborative group to problem solve the mental health issues we face in our area. Our Lake Tahoe area has one of the highest suicide rates and mental health issues, and we are at a critical juncture. We need to heed their advice and work quickly and together as a community. I would like to hear the recommendations from these professionals and work together to bring their ideas to fruition so we can take care of our community’s overall health.

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

According to the wording in the measure, the funds it will generate may only be used for recreation and the priority will building a new Recreation and Swim Complex, replacing the existing one on Rufus Allen. This community is in the business of recreation. We need a vibrant recreation center that is the focal point of our recreation opportunities. The current Rec Center is obsolete and needs to be replaced. This should have been done years ago.

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

Affordable housing. There are many layers to this issue than just finding a way to build more structures. It is an issue that if not addressed immediately, will have a negative impact on our community as fewer and fewer people will be able to live hear causing a decrease in our schools and limit the available work force.

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

If elected, my job is to work with all the other Council members and the staff of the City of South Lake Tahoe so I will not openly endorse or criticize other candidates.

JOHN SHEARER

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

I understand how to run multiple types of successful businesses, and the city is essentially one very large business with many separate entities. Being able to effectively run my businesses gives me an understanding of how to manage separate entities and be able to forecast the future and adapt to change at a quicker pace.

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

I would like to see it continue to be the most beautiful place in the world, by continuing redevelopment, an enhanced recreation/sports complex, and increased focus on marketing efforts targeted to new visitors.

How would you address the issue of affordable housing?

It is apparent that there is a need to for affordable housing, based on availability and average incomes. However, if the local government could assist the developers by providing more sensible regulations, it will help encourage new development for more affordable housing.

What is your stance on the Loop Road Project?

I believe in it – to increase the synergy, traffic flow, and events so local families and tourists can enjoy the area in safety.

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

I am the owner and operator of multiple local businesses in South Lake Tahoe. I’m also the founder and president of Marine Research and Education, a 5013C non-profit that educates our local youth (preschool-college) about the environment and preservation here in Lake Tahoe. Being a businessman, I understand how to deal with many different types of issues, and people and in different industries. In order to manage multiple entities, collaboration and communication are the key to success.

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

If the recreational use of marijuana is to pass, I would support regulations that treat it the same as alcohol and cigarette use.

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

In collaboration between the City of South Lake Tahoe, El Dorado County, Douglas County and the State of California and Nevada, I support programs that provide mental health awareness and help for those in need of assistance, whether it be at schools, community centers, or clubs and organizations.

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

I would like to see our TOT dollars directly fund the new Recreation Center Sports Complex. Our community is based on recreation and tourism and the new Recreation Center Proposal will be a place for locals and visitors alike to recreate, and it will also help increase tourism in the shoulder months.

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

The most pressing issue in our City is universal collaboration amongst all of our public agencies. If we all can work together we can really tackle all of the issues that our community faces.

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

I support democracy and the popular vote of our community. I trust our voters and their individual decision.

Read the previously published Q-and-A’s by Tamara Wallace and Ted Long here, Patrick Jarrett and Robert Topel here, Trey Riddle and JoAnn Conner here, and Jason Collin and Brooke Laine here.