Letters to the editor for Aug. 14, 2009
August 14, 2009
Responding to South Tahoe Public Utility District employee and Chief Shop Steward Wanda Stanley’s attack on board member Dale Rise (letters, Aug. 5), I can only say that it is unfounded and stems from her desire to protect the private preserve that our sewer and water district has become for its employees and management.
In these economic times when everyone is cutting back, STPUD continues hiring and fails to curtail expenses. Salaries are higher and out of balance with the ratepayers. Employees received a salary increase of 12.9 percent in 2006-07, resulting in an increase to the STPUD budget of $1.3 million that year, $1million in 2007-08, and $900,000 this year. Average starting salary for district employees is $100,000; average combined household income for residents is $40,000. Summer jobs at the district were awarded to employees’ relatives, and the district manipulates the hiring of other husbands and wives of district employees through a captive employment agency. Nepotism reigns supreme!
Board member Rise brought about more positive changes to our district for you, the ratepayer, in his short period on the board than any other member. He is understandingly upset at the district’s lack of openness and transparency. The district does the minimum of public outreach regarding public involvement in elections and other matters. Rise’s comments were motivated by a need to involve the public in district affairs and a wish to make locals more aware of the upcoming election, so our community will have a choice in November. Ms. Stanley’s comments are motivated by a desire to keep STPUD a private, self-perpetuating enclave of the districts’ employees and management, and the board of directors a docile, easily manipulated group, being appointed or elected decade after decade and serving their interests – not yours, the ratepayer!
John W. Runnels
Candidate for STPUD board, Seat 2
As a candidate for the STPUD Board of Directors and a ratepayer, I am responding to a recent letter to the editor from Wanda Stanley, a STPUD employee.
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As a ratepayer of the district, I applaud board member Dale Rise for his efforts to get the public more involved in matters that affect them on a daily basis. He is an asset to the district and the ratepaying public. After all, South Tahoe Public Utility District is there to serve its constituents. We, the rate payers, have a right to know where our money goes and take comfort that it is spent to the best of the district’s ability.
I have considered running for this position for many years, but my work and family come first and this opportunity was not available until now, and yes, I am friends with Dale, I have lived in South Lake Tahoe for all of my 47 years and we have known each other for at least half of them.
So now that’s out of the way, my reason for running is to represent the people of this small town. I do not consider myself one of the “power-hungry folks,” nor do I have a secret agenda. I want what everyone else in this small town wants (most of whom are my pals), and that is to spend our money wisely. I think most would agree that the guys in the “orange shirts” do a great job, but it is our right as ratepayers to oversee a public utility that spends our money.
I can only assume that the recent surge in candidates for board seats would imply that the public has grown tired of the status quo.
Candidate for STPUD board, Seat 1
Letters should be no more than 350 words. Shorter letters have a better chance of being published. Letter writers may be limited to two letters per month.
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South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150,
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