Guest view: Answers lacking from STPUD candidates
August 26, 2009
Even with the last volley of letters to the editor (all by pals of South Tahoe Public Utility District Director Dale Rise), my original questions weren’t answered.
What I don’t understand is why stir up controversy where there is none? For the last year and a half, there have been very few split votes on issues; the board has voted mostly 5-0. Why didn’t Rise and Director Ernie Claudio have anything to say about the transparency issue during that time? They have continued to vote in favor of the budget; this is the time to suggest costly expenditures such as the ones mentioned by Mr. Claudio.
Mr. Runnels cites a figure of $100,000 as average starting salary for district employees (letters, Aug. 14).
Really? Don’t you think the public deserves to know the whole truth instead of statistics plucked out of context? The 12.9 percent increase was over a three-year period, and you failed to mention that some employees’ salaries were redlined. Nepotism? Most couples, except one, met on the job. Children of parents who work at the district are hired because of the short notice needed for door hangers noticing water shut-downs. You say Mr. Rise has brought positive changes. It takes a minimum of three votes to bring about change, so what is it that Mr. Rise has done by himself? You say the board is docile and easily manipulated. By whom? Where have you been for the last 60 years? All of the board members think for themselves, except for maybe one, and as a whole they are very tough.
Mr. Cefalu (Chris): (letter of Aug. 14) You have always had the right to know where your money goes. Read the inserts that come with your bill. Have you ever attended a public workshop on the budget? Your reason for running is to represent the people of this small town, many of whom are your friends (thanks for making my point). What about the 60 percent of homeowners who don’t live in this town? Who represents them? You want to spend our money wisely – I thought being financially sound all these years and replacing our infrastructure was just that.
Historically, one of the concerns of the board was to ensure we leave a sound sewer and water facility for our grandchildren. In that light, I can’t see that the public is tired of the status quo, as you say.
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Mr. Claudio: (guest column of Aug. 15) You’ve been on the board for 18 months and you didn’t know that we already do half of the items you list in your letter. Interesting. I think you should ask the ratepayers if they want their service fees spent so the board can watch themselves on television. You didn’t mention that start-up costs for this would run $100,000 or more, plus hiring another employee. A 15- and 25-year plan? We don’t have those, and most agencies only have a five-year plan, yet we have a 10-year plan. In your closing statement, you still did not answer my question. is Mr. Rise for the guy in the orange shirt or not?
Mr. Curtzwiler: (guest column of Aug. 20) Where to begin? Well, for starters, if you attended the last candidates’ forum, you would have known that it wasn’t put on by me, but by the Employees Communication Committee. Since I’m a member and have been since its inception, I volunteered to be the timekeeper. If you would like to yell and scream about something that happened almost two years ago, find the right person. “Let the mud slinging begin” you say? I haven’t slung any mud, and if this is the way you would treat employees, if elected to the board, it makes me wonder how you would treat the pubic if they came before the board on an issue you didn’t agree with. District employees have not had it easy. The board fights a hard bargain; I know, I’ve bargained with them. Since I don’t play charades, hopefully the public will see through yours. Good luck in your endeavors.
I hope the public, the true owners of the South Tahoe Public Utility District, will investigate for themselves and make the right decisions in electing people who care about them and their issues.
Chief Shop Steward
Engineering Specialist, GISP
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