Supervisor candidates debate at Meyers
El Dorado County Board of Supervisors District 2 candidates met for the first and only time on the South Shore Wednesday at a Meyers Roundtable meeting.
Nearly 30 residents attended, including Dave Solaro, 5th district supervisor, and Ray Nutting, the current district 2 supervisor.
Ken Bush, Helen Baumann, Ellen Day, and Tom Mahach discussed key issues that they will undoubtedly be confronted with if they fill the position Ray Nutting is vacating.
Improving county roads
Tom Mahach wants to make sure that the $12 million released to the county transportation commission last year won’t be directed to commuter lanes again.
“I wouldn’t have done that,” Mahach said.
He wants to track where the money comes in from and where it is diverted to.
Mahach said that the board has a wonderful opportunity now to ask the Department of Motor Vehicles what they are spending their money on. Mahach, who is on the El Dorado Planning Commission, said that Measure Y, which primarily addresses new roads will allow for an even closer look at roads.
Ellen Day spoke about finding ways to compensate for the loss of money the county used to receive from timber sales. Day suggested that the $46 million tobacco settlement be directed toward improving and maintaining roads.
Day said that the El Dorado County Taxpayers Association has looked over the Department of Transportation’s budget. “There has to be a mission statement from the board saying ‘fix the roads now’,” she said.
Ken Bush said the county should take a closer look at what happens to the money that goes to the Department of Motor Vehicles through vehicle registration.
“Why can’t it be diverted into the road maintenance schedule?” he asked.
He believes that the DMV should be audited to find out where it spends the money.
“Any department that the people feel may or may not be best serving the customer is a concern to everyone,” Bush said.
Helen Baumann said that all candidates thought the budget priorities have not properly reflected back into the community. She also noted that in recent years the snow removal system has needed work.
Her goal is for residents and visitors to be able to travel the roads safely.
She also agrees that the management of DOT should be examined because its responsiveness to the community has been lacking.
MTBE and asbestos
The candidates were surprised to find that there were still stations operating with MTBE pollutants in their gasoline.
“It should be removed immediately.”Day said.
“You can’t wait for us, Ray,” Baumann said. “This needs to be taken care of now.”
She feels that asbestos also has to be taken seriously. “It’s not funny,” she said.
“At what point do we say this is a health hazard?” she added.
“I know that one-third of your wells are polluted (with MTBE), Bush said. “I do know that STPUD is taking some of the owners to court.”
Bush thinks that the board should assist in similar situations if needed.
“The West Slope has a dehydrated version of MTBE. It’s called asbestos,” Mahach said. He thinks that there should be an equal response from environmental health to take care of MTBE and drinking water in South Shore as there has been for asbestos cleanup on the West Slope.
How the candidates would lobby for their district
All candidates agreed that each board member needed to spend time both formally and informally in the South Lake Tahoe area in addition to their own districts.
Each candidate said that the South Shore had an acute need for parks and recreation attention, an area that has been ignored in the past.
It was suggested that small, informal groups be formed to enable community members to have access to their representatives to share their views on the issues.
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