Letters to the editor for Oct. 21 | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Letters to the editor for Oct. 21

To preface this letter, I have never met Jonnie Crawford personally.

From what I have ascertained, she is not now, nor has ever been affiliated or associated with any special-interest group. Thus, she would not be beholden to any special-interest group that appears before the City Council with their “palms outstretched” for more public funds.

She has been a member of this community for 41 years. She has no political signs and has not received any political contributions.

The political buzzword has been “change.” I believe it is time for a real change in the City Council. It also will help to balance the gender scale.

Only one vote is necessary, and that should be for Jonnie Crawford. To close, “a new slate wipes clean.”

Minette L. Flynn

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South Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe was my home for more than 48 years. Through most of the 1970s and all of the 1980s, I was privileged to serve the community with citizen committee work, the Planning Commission and the City Council, as well as individual endeavors.

Because I am deeply impressed with the integrity of a current candidate for the South Lake Tahoe City Council, I am compelled to share my knowledge of Bruce Grego.

Having worked with Bruce in several capacities, he exhibited firmness and a cheerful willingness to work long, extra hours in order to seek an appropriate solution to a difficult, complex problem. He always listened to all perspectives and then held strongly to the resulting conclusions.

I admire that.

Neva E. Roberts


We are writing in response to Stephen Reinhard’s letter about Measure G (Oct. 10). He is wrong on every factual point. First, Mr. Reinhard is wrong about enrollment. Enrollment at our schools has stabilized. Indeed, at the elementary level, enrollment is up. As those additional students progress through the schools, overall enrollment will go up as well.

Second, he is wrong about the middle school. It is not “expendable,” and it will not be closed. The middle school is at capacity. The bond measure is required to make much-needed improvements to safety, upgrade obsolete infrastructure and technology, and replace deteriorated portable classrooms. In any event, his suggestion that we close the middle school and convert the elementary schools to K-8 cannot work because there is no room at our elementary schools. They are all full.

Third, he is wrong about the high school. The bond will not be “wasted on redundant programs.” Rather, the bond will provide new and enhanced educational and vocational opportunities that are vital for our students, especially in these challenging economic times. A new Transportation and Construction Academy will house new vocational programs, and a Media and Design Arts Academy will provide hands-on training in one of the fastest-growing fields in California.

The bond will also allow us to replace old unsafe portable classrooms, and to (finally!) build a cafeteria so high school students don’t have to eat their lunches outside or leave campus for lunch.

The bond will benefit not only our local children and their education, but also our local economy.

We urge you to look at the facts. Detailed information can be found at http://www.ltusd.org/pdfs/home/LTUSD_Measure_G_FAQs_English.pdf and http://www.ltusd.org/pdfs/home/Proposed_Improvements_by_Site_ENGLISH.pdf.

We believe that once you know the accurate facts, you will join us and support our children, our schools and our community.

PTA presidents:

Michelle Williams, South Tahoe Middle School; Jen Spina, Bijou Elementary School; Vickie Cottrill and Tamara Plake Bunnett, Environmental Science Magnet School; Audrey Olmer and Paige Cefalu, Sierra House Elementary School; Sarrah Griffis, Tahoe Valley Elementary School

In response to the Tribune’s article Oct. 10, “Funds to reduce fire fuels up for vote,” reporting on the approaching Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District ballot question on Nov. 4 asking the voters to raise our taxes to fund a new fire fuels-reduction program, there is only one word – ridiculous!

As a 24-year resident of the Lake Tahoe Basin, I share the same fear and concern of wildfire with my fellow basin residents. Many of my close friends lost their homes and precious family memorabilia in the Angora fire. Today, the fire danger is more extreme. Trust me when I say I am very aware and worried about the need to establish and implement a long-term fire prevention and protection plan.

Ann Grant, a member of Citizens for a Fire Safe Community, is reported as saying the average increase in taxes would be $60. Perhaps Ms. Grant needs to define her use of the word “average,” because I am an average district homeowner, and under the tax formula, my taxes will increase $400 per year. With the economy in a meltdown, no one can afford more taxes.

Through the efforts of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the Lake Tahoe Basin was awarded $54 million. Much of the money is earmarked for fire fuels-reduction programs. This is enough to successfully run these programs for the next 15 to 20 years. Why do we need more money?

The fuels overload in the basin was the direct result of the restrictions forced upon us for the past 30 years by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the overt and covert actions of the League to Save Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Club. The TRPA has prevented every meaningful attempt to thin the forest. Now, we have a dangerous fuels overload. The ratepayers of the district are being expected to pay more taxes to correct their mistakes, their poor vision, their foolishness. This is wrong!

I say no more money until the TRPA makes permanent changes to the way they oversee this basin. Until we hold them accountable, they will never change!

Tom Dirkes


It has become apparent that the onslaught of erosion projects that have been constructed or proposed and are in the planning stages have revealed a troubling trend in our communities. A recent report in your newspaper proposes to narrow the width of Lake Tahoe Boulevard to accommodate the project and provide bicycle lanes. It appears, as with others, these projects are being designed without consideration for the residents and visitors who utilize these roadways and will have to live with the aftermath.

Local governments, due to their financial condition and the inability to maintain their infrastructure, have become the pawns for these projects and are obliged to take whatever money they are able to “pander” from the state and federal agencies with unlimited resources and enough strings to fly a kite to the moon. The result has been a series of impediments to the residents, including boulders in their yards, restricted street widths, narrowing of roadways and, in a recent disclosure with the Al Tahoe erosion-control project, a design that calls for a one-way configuration of several main arteries in the Al Tahoe subdivision.

I have been, along with many of the neighbors in this area, involved with attempting to discuss the details of this project with the engineering staff of the city of South Lake Tahoe and, each time there is discussion, the timetable, distribution of materials and information, the scheduling of public meetings to discuss the details and questions, we are met with a brick wall, and the timetable changes. In this case, the residents have taken the matter into their own hands and have become proactive with petitions, notices and a neighborhood meeting to discuss the matter.

I would strongly suggest that the residents in other neighborhoods who find themselves facing similar issues remain vigilant and insist on the information that provides the details and become proactive before the project becomes a reality and it is not what you expected!

John N. Cefalu

South Lake Tahoe

I am writing this letter to express my strong opposition to the city’s one-way street erosion-control project. As a resident of the Al Tahoe neighborhood, I am well aware that Al Tahoe is among the last areas to receive improvements, as the city considers us a lower-class neighborhood. This was implied in the newspaper by city officials. As a homeowner and taxpayer, I am deeply offended by this overall attitude. The planning and pushing through of this project without our input or concerns being addressed is an example of this attitude. In fact, if not for one of my neighbors printing out a fact sheet about this project, I would not have known about it.

I have been talking to my neighbors, and many of them have deep concerns about the negative effect this project will have on our community, including, but not limited to, fire evacuation, snow removal, parking, the safety of children and adults walking and riding bikes on our streets, and the inability of residents to access our homes when people get stuck on one-way streets in the snow.

We consider this a wonderful place to live and enjoy walking and bike-riding on our streets. It is why we live in the mountains. Fifteen-foot-wide streets and limited parking for our guests is not good for our community. Not being able to evacuate from our homes in a fire because there is one car blocking a one-way road is not safe. Trying to walk on snow-covered roads that are only 8 feet wide, reduced from a mere 15 feet because of snow berms, are not safe for children walking to a school bus or adults walking dogs.

I hope that the city will reconsider this ill-conceived project.

Joseph Sowma

South Lake Tahoe

I’ve resisted writing a letter in support of either candidate for president, but Gia Schrauben’s letter (“John McCain will lead country in right direction,” Oct. 14) has forced me to respond. Including Barack Obama’s middle name (Hussein) makes me think she is prejudiced toward people who might look or be different. I would hope this is not the case, but the idea has come up concerning events taking place at John McCain rallies in the past week.

Ms. Schrauben, you are reciting the Republican talking points. They say every Democratic nominee for president is the most liberal candidate in history. How can that be? What’s wrong with being a “liberal” anyway?

To say that Obama has changed his positions throughout the campaign is to not understand that the world changes on a daily basis. Obama has reflected these changes in his policy statements. I want a president who asks questions, selects advisers who will tell him or her what they need to hear, not what they want to hear, and can amend his or her positions based on the best long-term interests of this great country.

Ms. Schrauben also mentioned the Second Amendment and gun ownership. The NRA position on ownership is totally off-base when they say everyone should be allowed to own any type of gun, including automatic weapons.

McCain wants to appoint “constructionist” judges to the Supreme Court. He feels decisions should represent “original” intent. The Constitution is a living document, and the decisions handed down should reflect the changes in American society. Embracing change is scary to many.

Obama has shown throughout his campaign that he can think through the difficult problems facing us, he has compassion for the less fortunate in our society, and wants to include everyone in the benefits this great country can offer. McCain wants to continue the policies of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

This country must change direction if we want to return to our position as leader of the world. The young people of this country will probably be the deciding factor in this election. It’s their future.

Charles Jensen

South Lake Tahoe