Four candidates in El Dorado County District 5 supervisor race
With the March 9 filing deadline fast approaching, four candidates thus far are in the running for the position of El Dorado County supervisor in District 5.
As of Friday, Feb. 23, incumbent Sue Novasel, Kenny Curtzwiler, Jeffrey Spencer and Norma Santiago were listed on the El Dorado County website as having pulled papers.
The primary election for the district that encompasses Meeks Bay, South Lake Tahoe, Meyers, Strawberry, Kyburz and Pollock Pines will take place this June.
Novasel has served as supervisor since 2014 and said she is running for reelection because she wants to continue working to “protect and improve the quality of life in El Dorado County.”
“I have dedicated the past 15 years to serving the public as a school board member and now as your county supervisor,” said Novasel. “I believe my experience, professionalism, and integrity will continue to be great assets as we meet the challenges ahead.”
Novasel has also served as president of Soroptimist International of South Lake Tahoe, president of Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, president of Lake Tahoe Community College’s Foundation, and board member of the Tahoe Chamber of Commerce, among other local boards, nonprofits and service organizations.
Novasel noted that the top priorities across the county, as indicated in the strategic plan, are “public safety, infrastructure, economic development, good governance and healthy communities.”
“Locally, our biggest issues are stronger vacation rental regulations, funding for better roads, affordable housing, traffic improvements and better access to county services, while protecting our environment,” said Novasel.
Novasel will be running against businessman Kenny Curtzwiler, owner of K&K Services, a tree removal and roofing business, and Lake Tahoe Skibum apparel and goods.
Though Curtzwiler said he has not officially picked up the filing papers, his intent is to run for the supervisor position. He previously ran in the 2014 election.
“I want to see transparency in our government, and I feel that I am qualified for it from spending 20 years in the military,” said Curtzwiler. “I retired a major, which is the equivalent of a CEO of a major corporation. I’m used to dealing with people, I’m used to dealing with big budgets, and I’m used to getting my way.”
Curtzwiler said the biggest issue facing District 5 is the “granite wall” separating it from the rest of the county. He hopes to push for more Board of Supervisors meetings to be held up at the lake.
“We are one-fifth of the county. We should have one-fifth of the meetings up here,” said Curtzwiler.
Curtzwiler pointed to vacation home rentals and the weekend traffic plaguing Meyers as important local issues he would like to address.
“I have been working on [the traffic issue] for the last couple of months with the California Highway Patrol, and I think we’ve got a solution for that,” said Curtzwiler.
As a longtime resident of the area, Curtzwiler believes he is uniquely qualified to hold the position of supervisor.
“Nobody knows this area better than I do,” said Curtzwiler. “I’ve been here 41 years. I’ve skied every mountain. I’ve skied every mountain range. I’ve swam in every lake, and I’ve mountain biked every trail. I’m involved in this town.”
District 5 Supervisor candidate Jeffrey Spencer has over 30 years of experience in transportation and planning.
After serving eight years in the army, Spencer said he worked for the state of California for 23 years, mainly with the California Department of Transportation, before taking a job in Washington, D.C. as the program manager of transportation technology for the Federal Transit Administration. Later he went on hold the position of executive director at the Sacramento Transportation Authority and to help plan the city of Antelope in California. Spencer now runs a consulting business called Planning Innovations.
Spencer said his decision to run for supervisor was born out of frustration.
The Christmas Valley resident said he has attempted to assist agencies in solving the traffic issues, but found nothing ever came of his offers.
“I remember sending the [Tahoe Regional Planning Agency] … some information about some transportation technologies — an app that was a gamification that would help stagger departure times by giving people coupons for doing other recreational activities and leaving later to stagger the flow of traffic going out. They did nothing with it. I was told thanks but no thanks.”
Spencer said he had a similar situation when he tried to bring forward tolling ideas at a public meeting on traffic in the county.
“When you bring proposed solutions, nothing is done, and so out of that frustration I’m gong to bring all of my experience to bear so that we get something done here — bottom line.”
Stabilizing the economy with more diverse year-round jobs was another priority for Spencer.
“I loved planning and helping towns become what they want to be,” said Spencer. “With that experience and my experience in government, knowing the red tape and how to navigate and who to contact, I will look to try and move the ball forward.”
Former District 5 Supervisor Norma Santiago also is listed as a candidate for the upcoming election, according to the El Dorado County website. Santiago served as supervisor for nine years, taking the seat of Dave Solaro for one year before serving two four-year terms. In El Dorado County supervisors must wait four years after two consecutive terms before seeking reelection.
The Tribune could not reach Santiago by the time of press.