Local on Lahontan board
Gov. Pete Wilson has named a South Lake Tahoe businessman to fill a vacancy on the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, which oversees water quality issues from Oregon to Southern California. The appointment must be confirmed by the state senate.
With the appointment, Mark Lucksinger will serve a second term on the board. He previously sat on the board from 1987 to 1991 and served as its chairman from 1989 to 1991, following his appointment by then-Gov. George Deukmejian.
The appointment of a Lake Tahoe resident to the state regulatory agency may improve the rocky relationship between Lahontan and the South Tahoe Public Utility District.
The South Shore utility engaged in a running feud with Lahontan last year, sparked by $50,000 in fines Lahontan charged the district over spills during the district’s construction of a new wastewater export line. The district later accused Lahontan of failing to respond in a timely manner to the district’s concern of the risk to water supplies posed by leaking underground fuel tanks.
“One of the reasons I applied was to be a board member who is a little closer and a little more responsive to Lake Tahoe concerns,” Lucksinger said. “We’re all fighting for the same cause, working for the protection of Lake Tahoe.”
While relations between the state regulatory agency and the South Tahoe utility have improved in recent months, Lucksinger’s appointment should improve the relationship further, said Jim Jones, president of the district’s board of directors.
“I think it will be a positive change,” Jones said. “Things have improved. I think (Lahontan) realizes now what our concerns are. But it will be nice to have a local on that board.”
Harold Singer, Lahontan’s executive officer, also said Lucksinger’s appointment should improve the working relationship between the two agencies.
“I think we are on the road to mending the adversarial relationship, and I hope this will add to that,” Singer said. “I’m very optimistic that having a board member who is a local and in the community will make a difference.”
Lucksinger, 48, is a real estate broker and has a hand in other South Shore businesses, including International Discount Golf and Winter Sports. He served on the board of directors of the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce from 1991 to 1997, and was its president in 1993-94. He is also a member of the South Shore Transportation Management Association board of directors.
Although his relationship to the chamber is shared by three of the utility district’s five directors, Lucksinger said that played no role in his decision to reapply for a position on the Lahontan board.
“I want to make it clear that I am purely independent,” Lucksinger said. “I don’t go on the board as a representative of anybody. I will do what I feel is right.”
Lucksinger has a degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles, and holds a community college teaching credential. He and his wife, Marti, live in South Lake Tahoe, and are the parents of two grown children.
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