Letters to the editor for Oct. 28 | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Letters to the editor for Oct. 28

I would like express my strong support for Austin Sass in the race for City Council.

I, like all of us in South Lake Tahoe, may it be directly or indirectly, depend on tourism to keep food on the table. For this reason, it is imperative that we have individuals on the City Council who have a comprehensive understanding of what it takes to manage a tourism-based economy.

Austin Sass has lived in this community for many years, but importantly, he has lived in communities like ours all over the United States. He brings with him fresh ideas and plans that he has seen successfully implemented in these places.

Having worked with Austin Sass, I was constantly impressed by his innovative ideas and solutions that others overlooked. But beyond his intelligence, experience managing multimillion-dollar budgets and detailed understanding of tourism-based economies, he has a personal investment in this community – his wife and children. This is a force that will drive him to do everything in his power to make this city great.

Having listened to the debates and observed City Council meetings, I truly fear for the fate of our community if the wrong individuals are elected. I urge you to not only support Austin Sass, but encourage your friends, your co-workers and your staff to do the same. Help them to understand that of all of the choices we make Nov. 4, the right choice for City Council will have the greatest impact on your life and our community.

Christopher Minnes

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General manager, Park Tahoe Inn

Carpenters Local 1789 of South Lake Tahoe has voted to endorse Ted Long and Austin Sass for South Lake Tahoe City Council. At a recent forum held at Carpenters Local 1789 attended by five of the six candidates vying for the two open seats on the council, many issues of concern and importance to local carpenters and their families were discussed, including redevelopment and the need to employ local workers on future projects. At the end of the evening, the members felt that candidates Sass and Long will best represent their interests on the council.

Roger Thomas

Financial secretary/treasurer, Carpenters Local 1789

I am writing to encourage my neighbors and voters to dismiss the grossly inaccurate attack unleashed on the Tahoe Douglas Fire District ballot question in an anonymous campaign hit piece mailed to voters late last week.

The Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District Question on the Nov. 4 ballot authorizes a dependable source of long-term funding for forest-fuels reduction to help minimize the risk of catastrophic wildfire and tragic losses to our property, our economy and our environment. Funding would be used for forest-fuels reduction purposes only. Under no circumstances could this funding be used for general fire district operations or salaries. This funding would not and could not be used to give fire district employees pay raises, one of the erroneous claims asserted in the anonymous mailer.

As claimed in the mailer, further assessments exceeding the ballot proposal of 5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation of properties could happen at the whim of the fire district. This is simply not so. Only voters can make such decisions. In fact, in some years, the assessment could be less. The fire district would be required to publicly account for all expenditures and accomplishments, and the program would be overseen by the elected fire district board of trustees.

Please note, it is local, concerned citizens that formed Citizens for a Fire Safe Community and not the Tahoe Douglas Fire District that is responsible for all “Vote Yes” campaign materials, mailings and posted signs. To learn the truth, visit the Citizens for a Fire Safe Community Web site at http://www.votefiresafe.org. Trust your neighbors and your fire department, not the author of the anonymous, misleading, erroneous, last-minute attack piece.

Bob McDowell

Chairman, Chimney Rock Fire Safe Chapter, Stateline

Before I consider voting on Measure G, I have some questions for the Lake Tahoe Unified School District. In reading the impartial analysis of Measure G in my sample ballot, the analysis states the final maturity date of this bond could be no later than 25 years or not later than 40 years after the date of bonds issued. This means 25 to 40 years of being assessed more than $170 annually (in my case, because of my home’s assessed value). Why is the time frame so extensive?

Also, in reviewing my property tax statement, I see that I am paying for two LTUSD bonds. One is from 1992 with an expiration date of 2017, and one from 1999 with an expiration date of 2024. Please explain to me exactly what these bonds are being used for and why the lengthy expiration dates.

I am all for paying my share of taxes and helping our local school district, but I would like to know these answers before I commit to assessing my family the largest single tax on my county property taxes.

Darla Mazzoni

South Lake Tahoe

With so many political phone calls and advertisements and a huge presidential election coming up, some of us might lose sight of a very special opportunity for our children.

Measure G is not just another school-bond election. It is possibly our last chance to acquire state funds that are free to our community. The funds available to our district from matching funds (which will go to somebody else’s children if the bond fails) are $15.4 million; the Measure G total would be $64.5 million. The average cost to each of us is $4.51 per month – a latte a month, a small price to pay for our children’s future.

I have been in this community for 30 years. We traded high-paying jobs for the opportunity to raise our children in a special place that is priceless. This does not mean that we traded the opportunity for the best education and facilities possible.

Every year, South Tahoe High School graduates are given the opportunity to attend the most prestigious universities in the country. Every year, they receive thousands of dollars of local, state and national scholarships. Every year, our graduates attend trade and art schools of the highest caliber. Every year, our graduates leave for opportunities overseas or elect to join the armed forces very well-prepared.

These opportunities do not come without the hard work of dedicated staff, quality facilities and, of course, with a cost. Times are very tough right now, but when times get tough, there is always a way. Passing this school bond is our community’s way of assuring that our children will not miss the opportunities that other children in the past have been given, to compete with students from other committed communities.

Stacy Romagnolo

South Lake Tahoe

This is in response to Peter Guth’s letter on Measure G (Oct. 20). I am stunned that anyone would so wholeheartedly champion the merits of mediocrity for the sake of saving money in taxes. Also, the sweeping generalizations about “the few wanting to make themselves look good at the expense of taxpayers” is nothing more than an inflammatory statement with no merit.

The problem is, there simply is no rational argument against Measure G. Tell me the schools are in good condition. Tell me there are no safety or health concerns regarding the moldy portables or not-fully-enclosed high school cafeteria. Tell me the elementary school is conducive to learning without walls between the classrooms. Tell me faulty heating systems are appropriate in our schools. Tell me that it makes perfect sense to leave $15 million in matching funds on the table in order to address these dire concerns at a more economically convenient time. But please, voice of contention, do not tell me the children of our community are simply not “deserving” of a better educational environment and opportunity to succeed in school.

You can spin it a hundred different ways, but Measure G is needed for our schools, and the bone of contention basically boils down to whether there exists a sense of personal responsibility in contributing to the improvement of our community.

I’ve seen South Lake Tahoe in action before and know the majority of its citizenry goes above and beyond for one another. Please continue your support of our standout community. Vote “yes” on Measure G.

Linda Mueller

South Lake Tahoe

When evaluating the merits of Measure G, the school bond issue, I believe we need to face facts, real facts, not the baseless assertions and distractions of those who have written multiple letters to the editor disparaging our school staff and our students. The facts I’m talking about are facts like state funds are diminishing; good schools equate to better property values; good jobs equals fewer families who will move out of town and fewer local businesses that will fail. And the fact that our student population has stabilized and enrollment is projected to increase.

Unlike some prior measures, Measure G is extremely well-written, with community oversight in place to ensure that funds are expended in accordance with the identified needs of the students and facilities, not administration. What I like best about Measure G is the creation of a Green Academy at the high school level, providing our youth with a foundation in computer-aided design, construction and transportation trades that will provide our youths with real-world job skills that can be employed locally directly out of high school, or enhanced at the college level. This Green Academy will replicate the Environmental Magnet School concept that has worked so well at the elementary school level in Meyers. Don’t allow our community to collectively shoot itself in the foot again! Please join me and vote “yes” on Measure G.

Mike Berg

Carpenters Local 1789

The school board has come up with a tax system that should not be passed by this community. They would like us to believe that most property owners will be paying less than $60 per year. This is based on the average home being $200,000. Who are they kidding? If you have bought, built or improved your home in the past 10 years (or the next 25), your taxes will be three, four or five times that figure. And this will be for the next 25 years.

They are asking us to buy fences for schools, security systems, green-building concepts, stormwater-runoff management, climate-responsive design, new library centers, new physical education and activity spaces. (This comes directly from the analysis for Measure G. Please read it thoroughly.) How does this equate to students becoming better students? It doesn’t. It makes it more pleasant for everyone, but if it ain’t broke, we should not be spending millions to fix it!

Chris Baker

South Lake Tahoe