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Hoping for a residents-first focus

Stephen Reinhard

“I voted for you” … along with “I love you,” “Yes, I will marry you” and “It’s a boy” – these are four of the greatest phrases ever spoken to me. Even now when people come up to me and say they voted for me, the effect is a kind of power-filled inspiration. My last-place finish in my third attempt at City Council would appear to be getting my butt kicked out of local politics, but forever the optimist, I feel my vote total finally gives me a chip in the game.

I encourage the 1,045 residents who voted for me to represent them to join other basin residents and myself to become the founding members of the Residents First Political Cooperative (RFPC).

Our mission statement is as follows: “The Residents First Political Cooperative is a nonpartisan organization formed to promote candidates and governmental policies that have a main purpose of making life better for the permanent residents of the Lake Tahoe Basin and El Dorado County as a whole. It is our belief that expenditures of taxation revenue and future capital improvement projects should be primarily for the benefit of the residents first and the visitors to our community second. We believe any increase of a resident’s tax burden should be allowed only after all economically viable forms of visitor taxation have been maximized.”

The 10 percent of the voting public that voted for me is enough to place initiatives on election ballots and is close to being the 15 percent required to force special elections. The elections in our city are considered nonpartisan by traditional standards but make no mistake, there is one party that runs this town. This party is unnamed, yet it established this city, ensures marketing financing with legislation, fills our elected offices and committees with its members and has nothing but disdain for the local resident.

From my point of view the RFPC is instantly as powerful as the party currently in power but we have a lot of work to do. The first order of business is to assemble and organize. Our first Web site will start off basic in design, collecting membership information and directing people to where they can best contribute to the organization. In the future, the site will be elaborate enough to allow us to send representatives to the council/supervisor meetings to express the organization’s desires as determined by an online member vote of their current agenda items.

At RFPC all will be encouraged to contribute ideas, experiences and votes. Armed with any or all three of your powers the possibilities are endless as to what we could accomplish as a group.

The second order of business is to search our membership for a person willing to run against Dennis Crabb in the upcoming race for El Dorado County Supervisor.

While we would prefer solid, resident-first type people, like Bob Kingman or Gary Bell, running for public office is a lot to ask of someone, especially if they are not yet members of our fledgling organization. Rest assured the party will put forth a candidate to run against Mr. Crabb, who we feel is the exact political polar opposite of everything RFPC stands for. The Nov. 8 election is to fill the year remaining on the term of the resigning District 5 Supervisor Dave Solaro. We think the one-year term is the perfect amount of time for our candidate to prove that equipped with fresh ideas and a residents-first attitude, they can contribute greatly to a prosperous life for basin residents and El Dorado County as a whole.

What is assured is our representative won’t vote in favor of raising the residential tax burden like our City Council did 11 times this past year. Mr. Crabb is politically aligned with the City Council and two of its members, including our mayor, are on his election committee. While some would perceive this as inappropriate, we feel that this confirms Mr. Crabb’s type of tax-the-resident, spend-on-the-tourist form of government we have come to expect from the party currently in power.

It’s time to beat them at their own game, elect our own candidates, write our own ballot measures and finance the capital improvement projects we want to build, paid for the way we want. If we want to raise the TOT and let the tourist fund our residential street paving, so be it. If we want to tax the vacation rentals to fund underground utilities and adequate fire hydrant coverage, so be it. The party in power turned a cut in one guaranteed source of marketing revenue into two guaranteed sources for marketing advertising. If we want to write an initiative ending both sources of guaranteed revenue (the TOT and the BID), so be it.

If all the people who voted for me in the last election join RFPC, we have the power to place anything we want within legal limits on the ballot. I believe our city and county have, to quote Propagandi, “One future, two choices, oppose them or let them destroy us.” If you agree, log on to http://www.residentsfirstpoliticalcooperative.org for more information.

– Stephen Reinhard is spokesman for Residents First Political Cooperative. He is a South Lake Tahoe resident. If Web site is not operating correctly, call (530) 541-6070.


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