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Tahoe threatened by political sabotage

Tahoe has always been the red-haired stepchild of El Dorado County. While the county may have patted Tahoe on the head with some satellite county departments or some land swaps, the reality is Placerville rarely pays attention to the South Shore.

The only real edge Tahoe has held in Placerville has been the strong, Tahoe-based supervisors representing District 5. Without the strong voices of supervisors such as Dave Solaro, John Upton and John Cefalu, Tahoe’s voice in the county would barely raise a whisper.

Much of the District 5 supervisor’s power been as swing vote, particularly between the ever-warring growth vs. non-growth factions that seem to dominate Placerville politics.



But all that could change. Under District 2 Supervisor Helen Baumann’s plan, Tahoe’s meager influence in Placerville would all but end. Her push to redraw District 5 to divide Tahoe and include Pollock Pines is nothing short of political sabotage.

Her intent, she says, is to bring Tahoe into the county fold. El Dorado “needs to come together as a whole,” she says.



In her view, District 5 would gain by gathering more voters between Tahoe and Pollock Pines. She reasons that the District 5 Supervisor, Dave Solaro, will become more a part of the county if he represents the north side of Highway 50, while she, as District 2 supervisor, represents the south side of the highway.

Based on the map, Baumann appears to have made a generous offer. Solaro gains lots of property with the “Waldie” plan.

In reality, the plan slices Tahoe in half, cutting the very heart out of the district.

The idea that Pollock Pines and Tahoe share common concerns, other than the traffic problems along Highway 50, is about as ludicrous as Tahoe sharing common issues with El Dorado Hills.

The reason for creating voting districts in the first place was so areas with common problems or interest were represented by the same supervisor.

Then the balance of power in county issues went along the lines of common concerns, not just larger populations.

If the folks at the top of the hill felt at odds with those at the bottom, or those from rural areas felt strongly about an issue being raised by the more populated areas, there is a sense of fairness in the process.

Politics is a numbers game, but voting districts at least gave those less populated areas a shot at being heard.

The Waldie plan would do just the opposite. It would split Tahoe, and as such, water down any influence our small mountain community has in county politics. It would force the District 5 supervisor, who has traditionally lived in Tahoe and worked closely with the local community, to represent areas with little in common with the South Shore.

Tahoe operates under a different set of rules than most of El Dorado County. The heavy influence of the Tahoe Regional Planning Authority, the close proximity to Nevada, as well as the very different needs of a resort community make Tahoe a different creature from any other part of El Dorado County. That reality has been something the county would just as soon ignore.

Under Baumann’s proposal, exactly the opposite would happen. Tahoe’s voice would be silenced and the South Shore would be taking its marching orders from those who have no more understanding of Tahoe and its unique problems than Sacramento or Reno.

Tahoe will always fight for influence in El Dorado County, just as it does in Douglas County. But it’s a fight Tahoe can’t afford to lose. If Tahoe is diluted into two voting blocks, it’s voice will be silenced.


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