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Public forums set for school and utility elections

Patrick McCartney

Voters will have their best chance to see and question candidates running for the school and utility district boards this week at a pair of public forums.

The four candidates vying for two seats on the South Tahoe Public Utility District board of directors will face off twice, in South Lake Tahoe Tuesday and the following night in Tahoe Paradise.

Incumbent James Jones is running for a fifth four-year term, and is being challenged by businesswoman Florrie Donovan. Pembroke Gochnauer, a commercial realtor, and David J. Kelly, who is disabled but active in civic causes, are competing for the seat made vacant when Robert Mason decided not to seek re-election.



Board Chairman Chris Strohm, who is unopposed in his quest for a second term, said he will attend the forums to answer any questions from the public. Under state rules, Strohm will not be on the ballot.

After five-minute opening remarks, each of the candidates will be asked several of 12 questions they have been given to prepare for. The dozen questions, which include such subjects as rates and development issues, were culled from 65 questions submitted by district employees.



Following the prepared questions, the public will have a chance to ask questions, and then Bob Baer, the district’s general manager, will offer concluding remarks.

On Wednesday night, the district candidates will face off again at Meyers Elementary School, in a joint forum with eight candidates competing for two seats on the Lake Tahoe Unified School District’s board of trustees.

Incumbent Valerie Rudd and seven first-time candidates are seeking four-year terms. The top two vote-getters will be elected. Rudd has been on the board for six years, but the second seat opened when Greg Bergner, a 12-year incumbent, decided not to run again.

Also running for the board are Wendy David, Debi Hamel, Jon Helman, Manuel Jimenez, Diane McMillan, Stacy Romagnolo and Vikki Seelig.

Sue Yang, the Round Table’s chair, said the forum will begin about 8 p.m. in the school’s multi-purpose room. The district candidates will speak first, followed by the school board candidates.

Each candidate will make opening remarks up to three minutes long, and then each will answer questions prepared beforehand. No personal questions will be asked.

Finally, each candidate will be allowed a minute to offer a concluding statement.

At a glance:

What: STPUD employee forum

Who: Candidates for district board

When: Tuesday, 5 to 7 p.m.

Where: South Lake Tahoe Recreation Complex, Cedar Room

What: Meyers Round Table forum

Who: Candidates for Lake Tahoe Unified School District and South Tahoe Public Utility District boards.

When: Wednesday, 8 p.m. (meeting starts at 7)

Where: Meyers Elementary School, San Bernardino and Apache avenues.


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