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Poor turnout at council debate

Michael Schneider

A sparse crowd of about 10 heard City Council candidate Tony LaFrano say a proposal from another candidate to build a tunnel from Meyers to Twin Bridges was economically infeasible.

Gunnar Henrioulle, who supports the tunnel concept, said the project would likely only cost $50 million and could be paid for with federal funds.

“No more chains in the winter,” said Henrioulle of the proposed link from the Western Slope to the Tahoe Basin.

Candidates Jerry Oldenkamp and Bill Crawford also clashed at Wednesday’s debate sponsored by Placerville’s League of Women Voters and The Tahoe Daily Tribune.

“The city has an excellent record in making its debt service payments,” Oldenkamp said, supporting planned redevelopment for the state line area.

“That’s inaccurate,” said Crawford, pointing out the city had to roll over bond payments in 1993 due to revenue shortfalls.

Candidates also debated how much more of the city needs to fall under the control of the Redevelopment Agency, with candidate Mark Peck saying the redevelopment process has to continue clear to Camp Richardson.

Although not a city issue, the candidates were asked by the audience if they supported El Dorado County Measure Y, limiting and mitigating traffic congestion on the West Slope.

“I’ve been stuck in traffic in Placerville,” candidate Michael Phillips said, bringing the issue back to the lake. “Unfortunately, if I were a tourist coming up here it would be a deterrent.”

In his opening remarks, incumbent Mayor Hal Cole said sitting on the council for four years gives him an advantage over the other candidates.

“There’s a learning curve with this job,” Cole, the only expired term incumbent seeking re-election, said.

The candidates also gave their opinions on the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

“The TRPA is a necessary evil,” Pat Frega said. He also said the city should be a year-round town and not just for skiers.

Candidate Brooke Laine agreed with Frega about the TRPA, but even went a little further.

“I see them as a positive force and not a negative one,” she said.

The nine candidates will square off one final time. The Soroptomists International of South Lake Tahoe will host a final forum Oct. 28 at noon at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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