Guest column: Progress for Tahoe announces endorsements for 2018 election (opinion)
South Lake Tahoe City Council — Wendy David, Devin Middlebrook and Tamara Wallace
Wendy David’s record of service in the community is unparalleled. She is the very definition of a public servant, not politician. She is dedicated to seeing the growth of our economy and community identity, and cares deeply about addressing issues important to locals such as the housing crisis, infrastructure and public health needs.
David’s main fault may be that she is over-compromising. We would like to see her take stronger stances when the situation calls for it. Her last minute vote change on the VHR issue was a mistake. We acknowledge that. But for a council wracked by years by horrible infighting and scandal, the integrity and collaborative spirit David brings to the table are essential.
Devin Middlebrook is young and untested politically. However, we like his ability to effectively and strongly advocate for what he believes in. He is a leader among the next generation of young professionals in Tahoe. He has a famous name and a high profile job, but has the courage to stick his neck out through service on the city’s cannabis subcommittee, and through various written articles on his stances. We like his professionalism and positivity, and the fact that it is difficult to find anyone with a disparaging word to say about his character.
While we disagree with Tamara Wallace’s stances on a number of key issues, we admire her commitment to the community and her open nature. We feel (and hope) Wallace would represent a more conservative view in a respectful and collaborative way. She has a demonstrated ability to work with opposing views in the community.
As director of the South Lake Tahoe Chamber, she has worked to bridge the divide with the Tahoe Chamber. She has put in the time; attending every single council meeting in two years. She has developed a positive relationship with the progressive community.
At a time when spurning the opposition is highly in vogue, we’d like to get back to supporting each other, even when our opinions on local issues may not be the same. We think that Wallace is the most likely candidate to embody that at this point in our local politics.
City of South Lake Tahoe Measure T — Vote No
While we do see the lack of housing for our workforce as the greatest crisis facing our community, Measure T poses too great a risk to our economy, our workforce and our future.
Measure T is a chainsaw when what is needed is a wrench. Instead we would like to see a measured and gradual approach to significantly reducing VHRs, a reduction in building permits for mega homes, and the immediate removal of permits for VHRs that regularly break regulations or are nuisance neighbors.
T could reduce income to the city by up to $3 million a year, resulting in cuts to necessary services including police and fire, as well as severely reduced funding to re-build our recreation center. There is no evidence that current VHRs wouldn’t continue as unlicensed premises, or simply sit empty. We do not want to create ghost neighborhoods that attract squatting and further erode our sense of community.
The answer is limitations on the number of VHR permits by neighborhood, proper enforcement, providing financial incentives for VHRs to convert to long-term rentals, as well as good jobs and living wages so that more locals can afford to live and work here.
El Dorado County Supervisor District 5 — Sue Novasel
South Lake Tahoe can be an oft forgotten stepchild on the eastern slope to the rest of the El Dorado County supervisors. Novasel, like Wendy David, is a stalwart of local public service. She is well respected on both sides of the granite curtain, and uses that respect to effectively advocate for South Lake Tahoe where we may otherwise be shoved to the back of the line.
Representing Tahoe at the county level requires a serious person with discipline, study, professionalism and a sharp political acumen, qualities we feel that Sue Novasel embodies.
U.S. Representative California District 4 — Jessica Morse
While we wish Morse would take a stronger public position against the policies of the current administration, we recognize that she is playing to the center which is understandable in a very conservative district.
A former national security analyst from Pollock Pines who spent a year in Iraq with USAID, she is an electric, fresh, positive voice with great ideas that will represent us very well in Washington. Tom McClintock inexplicably continues to receive support despite not actually living in the district he represents.
Also, we cannot in good conscience support a climate change denier whose district contains Lake Tahoe and Yosemite, who votes consistently against any form of environmental protection legislation. In short, McClintock doesn’t represent us.
This column was authored by Progress for Tahoe members Rebecca Bryson, Troy Matthews, Chris McNamara and Matt Palacio. Progress for Tahoe is a grassroots group of concerned local citizens who have gathered together to address the most pressing issues in Tahoe. Progress for Tahoe believes in forward-thinking solutions that encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in the Tahoe region, while preserving our natural resources, to grow the economy for the benefit of all Tahoe locals.