Introducing South Lake Tahoe’s city council candidates (2/10) | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Introducing South Lake Tahoe’s city council candidates (2/10)

Tamara Wallace
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.

TED LONG

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

Former council member and planning commissioner. Past President of the Sacramento Division of the League of Calif. Cities, four years on LAFCO, two as chairperson and elected to state board. Served on three Grand Juries once as foreperson. Served on over 20 commissions and boards in a 50-year history of public services, including treasurer of the Art League and member of the Latino Affairs commission.

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

A city where the basic services, road repairs and well-managed police and fire come first. A recognition that tourism is here to stay and we create clear tourist and neighborhood boundaries. A city admired for its beauty, affordable, workforce housing and its compassion for the poor and elderly.

How would you address the issue of affordable housing?

I would, using the cities and counties inventory of land, develop housing solutions that address the current issues and shortages. I have two specific projects to look at and assess. We can support affordable housing by waving the impact of fees and certain regulations. We can develop commercial space with housing above along with a workable single occupant program. (Motel conversions.) Affordable housing cannot be done without government (the peoples’) support.

What is your stance on the Loop Road Project?

I like the concept of pedestrian friendly street, having a state highway as your main street is not the best for community development. I would insist that any relocation is handled before any construction and my main concern is that it have the public support.

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

Former council member, conduct legal clinics for the poor and elderly, attend meetings and make suggestions to improve the community.

The job of a council member is very different then a state or federal legislator in that he or she has only one vote and there are serious restrictions to interaction with some of the city staff. The day-to-day job of running the city falls to the city manager. I see the job at three levels.

1. As the voice, a conduit for the citizens of the community to have a voice. I am proposing a third meeting each month just to meet and hear constituent’s views and ideas.

2. To be constantly looking for new ideas, methods and systems to improve our lives, our economy and our future. As past president of a league unit I know the value of knowing and working with other cities and state officials

3. To reach out, to develop relationships with other agencies and government officials that serve or could serve our city. For example our main street is a state highway. We need strong, personal relationships with Cal Trans to have our views heard. This means trips to Sacramento.

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

I suggest we survey the existing communities, find the one that works best and adopt it. (There is no need to reinvent the wheel.)

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

We need to reach out and seek grants to develop programs and seek the advice of existing programs. As an attorney I am very familiar with the current situation and the lack of mental health care. I see the cycling of those in need through our criminal justice system and it needs to stop. There are people that need real care not jail. I would work closely with the court system to expand programs like the drug court, the veterans court and the mental health court. Once again, there are programs out there, such as in Texas, that are making a difference. We need to learn from them.

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

Developing tourist related programs which should include the beautification of our city and road repairs. There are two levels of tourist development. The first is how to get them here, and the second is providing the community that they want to come back to — pleasant memories, pleasant surroundings.

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

Street repairs and community unity and spirit, followed by affordable housing. We have an opportunity to attract high-tech jobs, and to do so we need housing. Already we have seen how the ability to find a home has forced others not to relocate here and create new, well-paying jobs.

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

Undecided

TAMARA WALLACE

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

Graduate of the Institute for Organization Management USD; Executive Vice-President and Economic Development Director of the Tulare Chamber of Commerce; Past-President, Lake Tahoe Kiwanis Club; past board member, Lake Tahoe Lodging Association; Girls coach, South Tahoe Wrestling; past-member, STHS Cheerleading-Parents Club; teacher, Vacation Bible School, Tahoe Community Church; volunteer, Vacation Bible School, Sierra Community Church; President-Elect and Charter Secretary, Tulare Sunrise Rotary; member, STAT (South Tahoe Athletic Teams); Member, LTUSD Schools Financial Advisory Committee; teacher, KAPOW (Kids and the Power of Work); past partner in a group of four women who raised monies to fund and build a battered women’s shelter; past business manager; lodging operator; special events coordinator; marketing aide; LTCC Foundation Assistant; member of USFS delegation to international conference in Moscow, Irkutsk and Lake Baikal Russia focusing on how to grow an economy in an environmentally sensitive area; part of delegation to Washington DC regarding MTBE and Lake Tahoe Restoration Act; nominated three times for business woman of the year by the Tulare Chapter of Business and Professional Women.

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

I see a community that when our youth go away for school, they are economically able to come back. A community with decent housing that families can afford and one that is safe and has a well-staffed police force. A community that has good paying jobs and good schools. A community that is so beautiful that when people come to visit, they refuse to leave. A community that is governed by people who make the right decisions for the right reasons, not for what’s politically expedient.

How would you address the issue of affordable housing?

New supply must be created. All agencies should cooperatively agree to lower fees and create incentives for permanent rental homes and owner occupied units. “Tiny Homes” that are DMV regulated should be brought in. Mother-in-law units should be allowed. Zoning laws should regulate VHRs. Housing units above businesses should be encouraged.

What is your stance on the Loop Road Project?

It makes no sense to spend $100 million to move a traffic problem from the casinos into a neighborhood. I’m concerned that it will cost us more homes. Renters may only be given some cash and sent away. To where? California taxpayers will be diverted into Nevada. There is zero new parking in the plan, which does not accomplish a bike-able and walkable area.

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

Up until recently, I served on the City Planning Commission (two terms/four years). I edit books for free for several local, up and coming authors. I am involved in my church and in my children and grandchildren’s activities (sports, music programs, theater, choir, etc.). I also use my background as a Chamber of Commerce exec to help with some local Chamber projects. I’ve stepped back from some of my community involvement, in order to devote more time to being on the council, if I’m lucky enough to be elected.

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

There are now many cities that have dealt with this issue in both Oregon and Colorado. In conjunction with the rest of the council, the city manager and police chief, I would look to those that have done so successfully and adapt their strategies to fit our community.

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

Mental health is dealt with by state and county agencies; however, as a council member I would advocate for more services in this part of our county. I would also advocate for our city manager and police chief to further train our police officers in how to identify and deal with mental health situations.

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

The question on the ballot is regarding building a recreation complex. The Lodging Association has supported that. I’m concerned about sticker shock for tourists but also believe, if it is operated correctly, more tourists could come to participate in sports tournaments of all types.

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

Affordable housing for our families and workers. It’s affecting the social fabric and future of our community. Rental prices are too high. Permit fees for new construction are up to $80,000 per new home. The permanent rental supply is too low and demand too high. My own family has been affected by this desperate situation.

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

A person who listens to the voters, listens to the experts and listens to their own moral compass. None of us is smarter than all of us. I hope the person is one who votes on the issues the same way each community member would vote if they were given the same information. I would like someone who does the right thing for the right reasons. I hope they are a fiscal conservative, like me. In fact, I am choosing to waive the salary given to council members. There will be hundreds of issues to discuss with the public, fellow Council members and staff, so the thinking process by which they arrive at decisions is important. If every council member does those things it should become a good decision making body.