Tahoe Daily Tribune: Cole, Middlebrook, Wallace for South Lake Tahoe City Council (opinion)
We believe that to some level, most can agree that the last couple years have been difficult for the current city council. Brown Act violation accusations, city manager turmoil, inaction, more citizen-driven ballot initiatives, failure to fund roads, to name a few of the challenges.
All three incumbents (Wendy David, Tom Davis and Austin Sass) are running for reelection. Each has done their share of good things for the city during their tenures and we commend them for their commitment to public service. This is by no means an easy job.
However, each also has had their share of miscues. Whether it be a need to sit on the sidelines during critical VHR votes, a last minute change of mind that ultimately put VHRs on the ballot this election, or overseeing the start of an acrimonious breakup with the previous city manager, all are part of the reason why we are in our current place — and our current place could be better.
We feel there needs to be change.
It’s because of this, as well as flaws from the other remaining candidates that we felt did not put them above our selections, we are endorsing these three candidates:
Cole has stated that the reason he has come back after a two-year hiatus is because he didn’t like what he was seeing and the direction things were going. We concur. Cole has served on the council before, in fact, he has the most years on council in our city’s history. Having that knowledge, and having proven himself in this position, as well as his appetite to untie council and community, we feel he has unique qualifications and would work well with the other members. Some have raised concerns about his campaign’s tenacity, or lack thereof, and how that might translate to another term on council. We trust he will be thoughtful and present on council, rather than simply going through the motions.
Middlebrook was born and raised in South Lake Tahoe. He and his family are very familiar with its history. We believe that Middlebrook will bring new ideas and focus his energy in the right places to move the city forward. Middlebrook is educated on the challenges facing the city and he has shown leadership skills both in his current position at the TRPA and with the Tahoe Young Professionals Group. We do worry about his ability to make the time commitment in addition to a full time job and other responsibilities. We will be watching closely to make sure he follows through on his commitment to council.
Wallace has a passion for this community. She attends more City Council meetings than some members of council and has been engaged with numerous organizations over the years. We were impressed with her take on economic development at a recent forum. She sees the need for economic diversity and jobs that pay more than low-wage positions at big-box chains. Tamara also espouses a fiscally conservative philosophy that we feel will be valuable in the years to come. While we do not agree with all her positions, especially on the “Loop Road” project, we believe diversity of opinion is essential for effective government. Tamara has the temperament to be an effective member of council.