Letters to the editor for May 23
Now that the convention center looks like a bust, we need to move on. First, we need to figure out a use for the hole in the ground. Perhaps we need a contest with a small prize for the most useful suggestion – perhaps a downtown lake. We could rent boats, stock it with trout, etc.
Then, of course, we will need a name. Same contest, different prize. “The Hole in the Ground” is not a fitting name for a downtown project. Maybe “Lane’s Folly” or “The Money Pit” might do. When life turns sour, you need to make lemonade.
South Lake Tahoe
I was so saddened to hear about the recent passing of Jerry Hurwitz. I lived in Tahoe for 30 years and listened to Jerry on a regular basis long before I knew him as the father of the greatest sprinter that I ever coached in all my years of high school track and field.
When I first had the privilege of meeting Jerry, it was when his son, Jake, was a freshman at South Tahoe High School and was just starting a magnificent four-year career as a two-sport star in football and track. Jerry never was at a loss for words when it came to anything that related to STHS sports and always was willing to donate his time to those sports. His commitment to the South Lake Tahoe community was second to none, and his love for his family and friends was something that we all should aspire to. People just wanted to smile whenever they came in contact with Jerry, and I never heard him exclaim a discouraging word about anyone. I, for one, will definitely miss him, and I know that the Tahoe Basin will!
My prayers go out to his lovely wife, Colleen, and his entire family. Rest in peace, Jerry, you have left behind you a world that is a far better place than it was when you entered it. I will always remember you as a special friend and a positive influence in my life. May God bless and keep your soul in heaven.
Based on proponents’ arguments, I was going to vote for the school district’s Measure A. Then I read the official text in the voter’s pamphlet. I had imagined it was a reasonable (e.g. $25 million) bond measure, but – whoa! – it’s for authorization for the school district to incur close to $100 million of debt (mostly paid by local property taxes). I figure it will total at least $80 million. Probably more, but I’ll stick with $80 million to be safe.
Here’s how my figuring adds up:
Authorization of $87 million in bonds, minus $11 million of state funds, equals a subtotal of $76 million in local money.
Costs for interest, routine legal services, bond counsel fees and commissions, financial consultants, bond insurance, contingencies, etc., totals at least $4 million.
Local cost: Roughly $80 million.
As a renter, I wouldn’t have to pay anything, so I have nothing to gain by this letter. However, I wouldn’t want to be a property owner facing this size of additional encumbrance in this period of economic uncertainty. Isn’t this how the federal government got us so deep in the hole?
South Lake Tahoe
Please support Measure A. Our students deserve up-to-date, safe facilities to help provide them with the education they need to meet the difficult challenges they will face in the future. Our schools are 35 to 59 years old and in desperate need of renovation and modernization.
Measure A allows our district to secure more than $15 million from the state in matching state funds, including $6 million to build new career and technical centers at the high school for a new, high-tech Design Academy and a Green Construction and Automotive Career Academy.
At the high school, Measure A also will enhance and expand performing-arts facilities, increase student access to technology, and finally give our high school students a real cafeteria. And it will repair and replace leaking roofs and ruined floors and remove exposed asbestos in the Blue and Gold Gyms and locker rooms at the high school to provide students safe and healthy recreational facilities.
At the middle school, Measure A will allow us to finally replace the old portable classrooms with permanent classrooms. Measure A also will fund a new library and media center, modernize old technology and allow us to build a real music room so the students won’t have to practice in the freezing old auto shop.
Other school districts will get our $15 million in state matching funds if we don’t pass Measure A. We can’t let our schools fall behind. Please join me in helping our students excel – vote yes for Measure A!
Past PTA president, Sierra House Elementary
It’s time for a face lift. South Lake Tahoe is a town that plays host to millions of visitors per year. It’s not uncommon for the population of South Lake Tahoe to swell from 25,000 to more than 150,000 on a holiday weekend. More than just a few of these visitors wonder what it would be like to live in our community. I was one of those who wondered as well. These people look at real estate, services and, of course, the quality of the schools. Why wouldn’t we want to take this opportunity to show a sense of pride in the institution in our town that prepares our youths for the future?
And what an opportunity we have! Measure A would raise more than $90 million to improve the schools at the South Shore, replacing portable classrooms with permanent structures, improving the safety and heating in the classrooms, and creating a learning environment where students would be inspired and teachers would be showcased. We’re talking about nothing more than moving our school sites into this millennium. To sweeten the pot, our school board already has qualified for an additional $15 million in matching grants. This is money will disappear if Measure A does not pass.
As a co-founder of STAT (Supporting South Tahoe Athletic Teams), I am well aware of the challenges of raising money for a good cause. Measure A is more than just a good cause. Yes on Measure A is a necessity.
Mark S. Garratt
South Lake Tahoe
Measure A is being pushed onto voters without providing all the facts.
In the board’s own findings under “Bond Project List,” it states “if” state matching funds become available, they will be used. They even go so far as to say they “assume” the receipts of the state matching funds “could be” subject to appropriation for statewide bond measures. If Measure A passes and the state does not match the generated funds, the taxpayers will be paying for a long time to come. The board is playing Russian roulette with our money. We all know what “assume” stands for.
Vote no on Measure A.
South Lake Tahoe