Tahoe Chamber announces local election endorsements (Opinion)
After detailed consideration, Tahoe Chamber is pleased to announce its endorsements for South Lake Tahoe City Council, El Dorado County District V Supervisor and the South Tahoe Public Utility District Board of Directors.
From our perspective, tapped into the community as we are, observing demographic trends, new environmental threats, and new challenges in our business climate, we see the need for fresh energy and greater city collaboration in both South Shore and broader regional initiatives. The persistent problems of housing affordability, sustaining our recreation economy in the face of greater pressures, and improving the overall quality of life and experiences for our residents and visitors cannot be solved at strictly the local level, although local leadership is essential.
Now more than ever, we need local elected officials willing to see and understand the broader picture and the opportunities presented in this context. We seek and value the ability of local officials to listen as well as to speak knowledgably and respectfully both locally and in the regional forums in which they may participate.
These were the core understandings and values Tahoe Chamber representatives brought to our interviews, candidate forums, and other opportunities to interact with the candidates for local office in this year’s November General Election.
South Lake Tahoe City Council
Nicole Ramirez Thomas
Ramirez Thomas has extensive government experience at the local, state and federal levels. She has served city councils, boards, and committees as staff and presented projects to them in her professional capacity as an archaeologist and cultural resources specialist. Her father was an immigrant from Mexico and she was raised in a multi-cultural setting in the historic city of Santa Fe, New Mexico, a popular visitor destination with economic ebbs and flows similar to South Lake Tahoe.
We have been impressed with Nicole’s understanding that policy considerations must prioritize quality of life, emphasizing the natural and cultural environment, education, economics, and the physical and mental wellbeing of the community residents. Her Mexican-American heritage underscores Nicole’s understanding that quality of life must be inclusionary, fostering equity and diversity, community vibrancy, and a strong sense of place and identify. She has demonstrated her familiarity with the City’s adopted Strategic Plan and convinced us of her dedication to building relationships and trust in the performance of her responsibilities as a Councilmember.
Speal is software engineer by trade and an energetic young professional with the qualities we believe are essential both today and into the future as the council listens and thoughtfully makes decisions designed to support the long-term health and sustainability of our community. The recently-published Tahoe Prosperity Plan 2.0 and the Envision Tahoe Prosperity Playbook each point to the importance of Tahoe becoming a hub and attracting entrepreneurs to help diversify our economy. Nick’s passion centers around affordability, reliability and sustainability in a variety of important areas, including housing, transportation, and clean energy.
We believe in Nick’s ability to inspire others of his generation to get involved in the decision-making vital to establishing Tahoe as a hub for innovation as well as to add to the ranks of local advocates for more environmentally-friendly modes of mobility and broadband connectivity. He is also willing to take feedback on his perspectives. For the same reason Tahoe Chamber organizes our Leadership Lake Tahoe program, we believe it is time to open up elected positions to a new generation of leaders.
We were impressed with Jacobson’s success as a businessman. He helped build, co-own, and operate BoDeans Baking Company. Founded in 2000 in the Midwest, this family-based business grew to become a worldwide leading manufacturer of ice cream cone and ice cream sandwich wafers and Oreo-style cookies, eventually opening a second facility in Mexico City. Brad expressed pride in treating all the company’s employees as family and empowering them through self-directed work teams and providing opportunities for upward career mobility. He described his approach to serving on Council as one who collaborates with other members to seek the best outcomes for the public.
Brad understands we live in an ever-diversifying community comprised of people of all backgrounds, beliefs, and economics. He described his approach as being open-minded and forward-thinking to work with people from every corner of the community to realize their needs and interests in an improved quality of life. We saw as authentic Brad’s expressed love and passion for sports and the outdoors as well as community service.
El Dorado County District V Supervisor
Our endorsement goes to Brooke Laine. Of the four candidates in the primary and now two in the general election, Laine has the most experience and best understanding of the issues and opportunities facing El Dorado County and its residents, businesses, and other agencies. She is committed to work with her fellow supervisors to tackle the need to review, improve and enforce the county’s VHR ordinance, make the volunteer efforts of the Meyers Advisory Council more meaningful as an active community forum, and make sure District V receives its fair share of county revenues and resources.
She has committed to establish a citizens advisory committee with representation from each of the 11 communities located within District V to advise her on district issues and concerns. Her prior experience representing local government on important regional boards, such as TRPA, Tahoe Transportation District, and the California Tahoe Conservancy was another important factor in making our endorsement.
South Tahoe Public Utility District
Four candidates are running for election for three open seats. Tahoe Chamber endorsed incumbent Nick Exline when he ran for his first term in 2018. We endorsed incumbent Shane Romsos when he ran to serve the two years remaining on the term of the late Jim Jones. We endorse both Exline and Romsos as they seek re-election this November. Each has a solid record of accomplishments, particularly around key improvements to district water lines, increasing the number of fire hydrants helping to protect the community, and sewer system upgrades. They have proven their commitment to prudent financial management and capital improvement planning.
Our third endorsement goes to Nick Haven. Haven is a 20-plus year resident with an extensive background in policy development, collaboration, partnership building, and financial grant management. We believe Nick will be a solid addition to the STPUD Board of Directors.
Mike Glover is CEO and Steve Teshara is director, government relations for the Tahoe Chamber.
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