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Letters

STAR a pork barrel for committee

To the editor:

In the S.T.A.R. wars battle of tit for tat, it is my belief that Mr. Upton and the S.T.A.R. committee have pieced together a pork barrel that will be on the tax rolls for 25 to 30 years. It is important to realize that if a Joint Powers Authority is created and the ballot measure passes, the city voters will have given up control to the JPA. Mr. Upton concedes that it would be up to the JPA governing board “to decide.”



Mr. Upton said that the “debt would be a legal obligation only of JPA and not of the city …” Well, the city has a Joint Powers Finance Authority, a creation of the city and Redevelopment Agency, and annually the city audit reports that the Finance Authority is a component part of the city, fiscally.

In Upton’s address, he lists a number of items that he seems to consider safeguards against misconduct by the JPA. Again, we must keep in mind that the JPA will have a lifespan of at least a full generation, 25 to 30 years. So who will oversee for that length of time the distribution of the pork barrel dollars, the $50,000 here and $5,000 there? How much influence will the City Council have over the distribution of those funds for 25 to 30 years? Upton mentions the JPA between the city and county on vehicle abatement, which is entitled to a dollar for every vehicle registered in the county and city. Those dollars are distributed by the county according to a formula that has changed more than once in the past few years.



The issue is not recreation, but political power. Who has it, who should have it? For instance, on March 7, at the City Council meeting during Mr. Upton’s presentation to the council, I asked him who would write the JPA. He said Dennis Crabb, which was news to me, because in February the City Attorney had said to me that she would write the JPA. Why Mr. Upton said that Mr. Crabb would write the JPA is known only to Mr. Upton, because he had not informed or advised the city on that subject. Also, at that same meeting, I asked Mr. Upton if the Mello-Roos assessment would be capped. He asked, “What do you mean?” He now claims that there will be a limit. Since it isn’t in writing yet, we’ll have to wait and see. Enough tit for tat at this time except for a word of warning about JPAs from Bill Lockyer, Attorney General of California, who has written, “Do not join a JPA unless there is a sound governmental purpose for doing so.

“Remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Ask questions …”

And I must add, get answers.

Bill Crawford, South Lake Tahoe

Watchdog barking up wrong tree

To the editor:

It is with a sense of frustration that I have been following the ongoing debate between Councilman Bill Crawford and proponents of the S.T.A.R. program. After more than a month of this verbal to and fro, I would like to add my 2 cents to the discussion.

First off, I must grant that in 1999 I was a community member volunteer on a S.T.A.R.-organized committee that was assigned the task of studying the bike path issue. Other committee representatives were from Tahoe City Public Utility District, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Camp Richardson, Tahoe Conservancy, TCORP and Design Workshop. Contrary to Mr. Crawford’s statement (Tahoe Daily Tribune, April 5) that S.T.A.R. has “up to now produced nothing, zero,” our group, under the leadership of Bob Kingman, conceived, organized and “produced” the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Trail Symposium. This was a two-day event in October of ’99 with venues on both north and south shores, which brought many experts from communities across the country who have managed to incorporate bike paths and trails into their cities and rural areas.

For those who attended, a wealth of information and resources were made available for how we can do the same here. I would like to think that our hard work in bringing this opportunity to Tahoe counts for more than a “zero.”

Additionally, the S.T.A.R. project has commissioned two surveys to determine what recreational facilities locals want most and are willing to pay for. S.T.A.R. is acting on the results of those surveys. I’d say that vital information counts for more than “nothing.”

While I appreciate the efforts Bill Crawford makes in analyzing projects to ensure that all the financial details are addressed, I am baffled about his stance regarding S.T.A.R. The need for expanded recreational facilities – particularly the need for a connected bike trail system – has been acknowledged for a long time, and no other public or private entity has been able to coordinate all the elements needed to get the job done.

Now we finally have an organization (S.T.A.R.) that has broad support from virtually every segment of the community and is poised to “get the job done” and Mr. Crawford seems to keep finding fault, even after his concerns are seemingly addressed. It’s somehow comforting to know that we have a fiscal watchdog on the City Council looking out for us taxpayers, but in this case, I think perhaps Bill is barking up the wrong tree.

In any case, if Mr. Crawford would focus his ability to scrutinize on how to get this job done instead of why it shouldn’t be done, I think we’d all be better off.

Tom Wendell, South Lake Tahoe

Everyone responsible for clean post office

To the editor:

Those of you who, like me, get mail at a post office box in the Stateline Station post office on Park Avenue (across from Sizzler’s) have heard (or will have heard) that either before the end of March or some time in the beginning of April our post office will become a double-wide trailer that is to be in the presently-vacant lot where the Jack Pot Inn used to be, on Pioneer Trail, near the 7-11 store (and four different STAGE bus stops), at least for a year, if not longer. When this is done, this will be a good location since it will be easy for those of us who have boxes or other postal business to access, either by bus or vehicle.

However, that’s not the primary reason I’m writing this letter.

What is the primary reason is this: Trash at the Stateline Station post office.

For those of us who have boxes there, or for those who have to go there during the week to buy postal money orders, etc., it has become a disgrace to see piles of discarded sales papers (from Smith’s, etc.), catalogs, etc., either thrown on the floor or left behind on the tables. It looks like a pig sty in there, and I know I speak for others when I say it’s just disgusting!

I know there are postal employees whose job it is to clean up the mess, but would those of you who throw your junk mail, etc., on the floor or leave them on the tables, please kindly, from now on, put your trash in the trash cans provided inside the post office? Not only would it make it a nicer place for everyone concerned, but it would be less of a hazard for those of us who end up having to walk over or around your trash.

By the way, whenever our post office does move to its new location, would you be so kind as to keep it clean, as well?

Debra C. Tussey, South Lake Tahoe

Crawford should be held accountable

Editor’s note: The following letter is addressed to Mayor Tom Davis and appears here at the author’s request.

To the editor:

The Executive Board of the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce is very concerned about an incident that occurred at the March 27 city Recreation Commission meeting involving Councilman Bill Crawford and one of our chamber directors, John Upton.

As reported, Councilman Crawford became verbally abusive to the point of making threats to the committee chairperson, Dan McLaughlin, and was also abusive to chamber director Upton. Mr. Upton was making a presentation at the request of the commission when the verbal abuse as well as an attempted physical assault occurred.

Those present have stated that Mr. Crawford, when approached by Mr. Upton and asked to please listen to him, knocked his notes from his hands. Then as Mr. Upton bent down to pick the papers up off the floor, Mr. Crawford had to be restrained by two men to keep him from physically assaulting him.

This type of behavior is unacceptable, particularly by an elected official. The chamber directors, other volunteers and all citizens have a right to voice their opinion, make presentations and approach public servants without the threat of verbal or physical abuse.

Further, it is our belief and desire that the council investigate this incident and should these claims be found valid, we ask that the city’s Code of Ethics be upheld to deal with this.

Absent this mechanism, we encourage the council to not only establish and immediately enact the strictest measures for conduct and ethics, but to hold Mr. Crawford publicly accountable for his actions. It is critical that our citizens, in the exercise of their civil right to free speech, be protected from this type of behavior.

We look forward to your response.

Gail Taylor, President of the Board, South Lake Tahoe, Chamber of Commerce

Whatever happened to respect for women?

To the editor:

As a young woman in Lake Tahoe I was offended and appalled by the pieces by Dan Thomas, “A clockwork Orange” and “Curing your Nero-ses.” I found both of his articles to be sexist and contradictory. Recently every time I go out to a bar, club, or concert I am sexually assaulted by immature and drunk men, or boys. I had six men ridicule and scream profanities at my boyfriend and I at My Cousins. It makes playing pool very difficult when you can’t bend over the table without being gawked at and commented on. Now, I tend to avoid bars all together.

The current concerts I have attended at Lily’s and Mulligan’s have been completely unenjoyable. Not only are the male attendants crude and vulgar, but so are the bands. The lyrics promote the disrespectful behaviors of men. A couple of weeks ago 2 Live Crew performed at Lily’s with the “Me So Horny Girls,” who showed the audience nothing but how women can be used as sexual objects. The dance movements were awful and degrading. It was pornography with clothes on. The Fishbone concert was loaded with demeaning comments toward women, and at the end of the concert I was afraid to be there. The audience was so sexually frustrated, aroused, and violent. I no longer felt safe.

The piece about the Agent Orange concert supports all that I have written. The audience was 90 percent men who were violent, rude, and frustrated. Dan Thomas’ description of the concert depicts more of a riot than a party. I was at the concert for about 10 minutes during the first band and left. My gut instinct told me that this was not going to be a good evening if I were to stay. After reading the article I realize how right I was. On the same page, side by side, is the piece on Nero’s. It is a joke. The remarks of “… at least buck night isn’t as much of a stag night,” or “… with ‘party’ comes the risk of adding ‘sausage’ to the description.” Then he writes, “… and ogle the cute waitresses.” What woman wants to be ogled at a bar? It makes me laugh that there could ever be a question of why women are absent in the Tahoe bars. There is no respect for them, and I can support this with hands-on experience of being groped at Nero’s.

I did not write this letter to male bash or be labeled as a man-hater. The purpose is to point out an ongoing problem in Tahoe – the degenerate behavior of Tahoe’s men. The situation is out of control and getting worse. Until people become aware of this situation, it will continue. I want to go out to clubs, dance, have a drink, talk to guys, look good, and still feel safe. Lately, I don’t feel safe when I go out, and many women share my feelings. Women are beautiful, sensual, and want to go out with as much freedom as men have. They should not have to endure verbal sexual abuse, nor should their bodies be thought of as objects of sex for groping and fondling. We want to be respected and treated as an equal, not a thing of sexual desire.

Where are all the women? At home.

Dersa Stanislaw, South Lake Tahoe

So many people can make a difference

To the editor:

As a recipient of the recent Soroptimist International Of South Lake Tahoe Women Helping Women award, I’d like to express my gratitude and to recognize those who helped me along the way.

It is important to note that anyone, including myself, who receives such awards most often does not achieve them without the support and help of many others. The work that I accomplished in the education field has always been as part of a team. I was the program director with many gifted educators leading with me. The many outstanding programs that were developed during my tenure as program director for the Lake Tahoe Unified School District were the result of many gifted and committed educators on my staff who saw needs and worked long hours to meet those needs. It was my job to support and protect and ensure these programs were implemented and sustained. Because of these same gifted individuals’ continuing commitment, many of these programs are effectively meeting the needs of special children and their parents to this day.

The work that I did with establishing the Widowed Persons Association Chapter of South Lake Tahoe, again was accomplished in a team effort. There were four of us who worked to accomplish this much-needed support group in our community. I was the founding president for the first three years. Eleanor Olsen, the immediate past president of the group, was one of the founding members and a key in assuring the club had solid organization from the very beginning. Art McAlice, another founding member, has been very active in supporting all the activities of the club including being our treasurer for several years. Louise Martin, the fourth founding member, was active in establishing activities and wise counsel during her involvement with the group. In addition, there are many, many members who have been with us since our inception who have contributed mightily to the continued success in helping those newly bereaved from the loss of a spouse.

I thank Soroptimist for recognizing my work in these two very important fields of endeavor.

Peg Ritter, South Lake Tahoe

Clinton should avoid Heston

To the editor:

Glen Larson of Gardnerville wrote in Monday, March 20’s, “Your View” some curious remarks about President Clinton and his stance on gun control. Clinton is for it, as are most people (64 percent to 27 percent, Zogby Poll, March 15-17). Larson claims that Clinton is “scared” to personally debate Charlton Heston on the issue as proposed by the grandstanding Sam Donaldson. Well, I would hope that Clinton would not demean his office to go one-on-one with the actor and pitchman for the increasingly discredited National Rifle Association. The NRA’s support has diminished over the years as a result of some of its outrageous statements and positions, at odds with most Americans who generally support reasonable gun restrictions. Even George Bush renounced his membership. And for Wayne LaPierre to accuse the president of wanting gun violence (“He’s willing to accept a certain level of killing to further his political agenda …”) is tawdry and stupid. For me or anyone else, including Clinton, to complain about such remarks is not “whining.” Actually, I wish Clinton would ignore the NRA and may it be further marginalized except by some Republican politicians who are recipients of its largesse.

Restrictions on assault weaponry, trigger locks, waiting periods, and background checks do not take away anyone’s romantic Hollywood-inspired notion of “self-defense.” Gun control has not and will not prohibit the right to bear arms, or prevent law-abiding, mentally-sound people from keeping guns in their homes. This is true even though according to the FBI, in 1996, 1,134 children were accidentally killed by firearms while there were but 176 justifiable homicides. A homicide is three times more likely and a suicide five times more likely in a home with a gun than in one without. And according to the New England Journal of Medicine, a gun is 22 times more likely to be used in killing someone you know than in self-defense.

Recent events, including some right here in Lake Tahoe, call out for reasonable gun restrictions. That is why the president and others in power are talking about it and taking action. Larson calls it a “jihad.” Well, I say, it’s about time.

Pierre Musson, South Lake Tahoe

Watchdog is fine, bulldog is wrong

To the editor:

Mr. Crawford, you have been a good watchdog for the city. I share many of your concerns regarding redevelopment, the airport and other issues. I applaud your devil’s advocate position, as that makes sure our elected officials are acting responsibly. As a private citizen you have done the voters of this community a service.

However, you are no longer a private citizen, you are an elected official and subject to same scrutiny you put others through. You need to listen to opinions that differ from yours as other elected officials have listened to yours. It is also my job as a private citizen to criticize you when your actions are hypocritical as it was yours to criticize the hypocrisy of other elected officials.

However, you need to exercise the same restraint and courtesy as do the other elected officials when your actions are questioned.

At the last Recreation and Parks Commission, I had to ask you to please be quiet while John Upton was speaking. You were interrupting him. After he was done, we quietly listened to your concerns. As I tried to respond, you interrupted me, badgered me and would not let me speak. When I asked you to please be quiet and let me have my turn, you rose from your chair, leaned over the table, stuck your finger in my face and you called me “a big-mouth jerk.” You told me that I had better shut up because you were more important to this city than was I and that I was not qualified to run the meeting. I never finished talking because you would not let me. I let you berate my position, those who support my position and me personally. You said I was a fool to disagree with you. Then you decided to walk out of the meeting.

As you were walking out of the meeting, John Upton asked if you would allow him to respond to your concerns. You told us that Mr. Upton had nothing to say that you wanted to hear. When Mr. Upton pleaded with you, you slapped papers out of his hands, stuck your finger in his face and yelled at him to get out of your face. Steve Weiss and I had to physically restrain you from attacking Mr. Upton.

The commissions serve as public forums for the City Council. It is our responsibility to listen to all points of view in our assigned areas and report to the council on what we learn. I accept that responsibility. I want all who attend the Parks and Recreation Commission meetings an opportunity to speak. That includes commissioners. The general public needs to be able to express their opinions without being verbally or physically assaulted by an elected official. I do not consider your point of view any more important than anyone else’s. If I or anyone else is speaking, you need to afford them the same courtesy shown to you: listen. As the chairman for the Recreation Commission, it is my job to run the meeting. If you are interrupting a speaker and I ask you to be quiet and listen, you need to be quiet and listen, whether you agree with them or not. Any other elected official would give that respect.

We did not ask you to “sacrifice your civil rights,” you took away ours. You were not the victim, you were the aggressor. You are right, Mr. Crawford; I do accept the concept of freedom and what it implies. I accept your right to freedom of speech and listen to you; you, however, do not afford others the same courtesy.

This is not the first time you have disrupted a Parks and Recreation Commission meeting or the first time you have threatened someone who has an opinion different than yours in a public forum. You have treated the Parks and Recreation Commission as a soapbox to advance your political agenda and not as a forum for discussion as it is intended.

I have asked the City Attorney and the mayor to have you removed as liaison with the Parks and Recreation Commission and to be reprimanded for your actions. I do not believe a City Council person who verbally threatens a commissioner and physically assaults commission guests should serve on that commission. Only a clever politician such as yourself can claim to be pro recreation and do to the Parks and Recreation Commission what you did. This city needs leaders, not politicians.

Dan McLaughlin

Chairman, Parks and Recreation Commission, South Lake Tahoe

Has Crawford lost his mind, reader asks

To the editor:

Has councilman Crawford lost it?

It is the opinion of many that comments, rhetoric, ramblings, etc. of Mr. Crawford should be presented properly at City Council meetings, on television for all to view, and not to be published monthly or as often as he wishes in the Tahoe Daily Tribune. After his latest letter opposing the S.T.A.R. program, I find it hard to correlate his use of “hijacked …, lined their pockets” and your policy of not printing letters deemed libelous or in poor taste. Mr. Crawford’s latest letter fits both policy limitations of the Tahoe Daily Tribune. Perhaps Mr. Crawford should present his views as a paid advertisement, and not in a free public column, better utilized by private citizens and not politicians.

Peter Mac Roberts, South Lake Tahoe

‘Just say no’ to bad bureaucratic attitude

To the editor:

For years I have had an ongoing debate in my mind as to whether there exists an unnamed mental illness now rampant in society. Not formally named, anyway. There is a common-use name for the afflicted “Control Freak.”

Experience suggests that many of the aforementioned afflicted often find themselves a nice secure job in a bureaucratic position. How about a nice position on the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Board, such as that held by Jerome Waldie? Why? Well, of course, in that position one can state that he or she will vote against a proposal such as the South Shore Estates revised proposal without benefit of having looked at it. Next you ask, “Why would anyone make such a statement under the circumstances?” Answer: I don’t have any idea, but that’s why I have been debating for so long about this mysterious syndrome that has all the earmarks of mental illness. So far, the only way such behavior has been widely recognized is in the use of the term “bureaucratic thinking” (which in itself often seems to be a contradiction).

In short, I’m sick of agencies that take the “just say no” attitude. This is simply abuse of power. I strongly feel that if a citizen wants to do something, a public agency should approach it from the standpoint of facilitating that citizen’s need or desire, and showing them how it can be accomplished within the law. In the case of the TRPA and the IPES scoring system, I feel that the agency should adopt rules that would allow a property owner to raise their IPES score through mitigation procedures. It seems to me that most lots outside of wetlands could be rendered buildable with adequate terracing and planting. The rules as they exist seem less a protection of the environment than an exercise in naysaying.

Now, without creating a government bureau to handle it, does anyone have any suggestions as to how we can help treat this mental illness?

Bruce Doxey, Zephyr Heights


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