Three seats open for city council |

Three seats open for city council

Susan Wood

Two familiar South Lake Tahoe faces have announced their intentions to run for City Council in the Nov. 7 election. Three seats on the five-member council are available.

Tom Davis wants to run again after two years off from serving three terms, and incumbent Kathay Lovell plans to run for her second term.

Lovell took out papers Monday, the first day of the filing period. It ends Aug. 11, unless an incumbent doesn’t run. This may be the case with Mayor Hal Cole deciding not to run for his third term.

The third seat is occupied by John Upton, who had indicated last week he didn’t know if he was running.

There appears to be a pattern among those filing to run for a City Council seat. When three are open, nine candidates have run in the last eight years. When two are available, six people vie for the spots – as in the case in the last City Council election when Ted Long and Mike Weber were voted in and Davis stepped aside.

Davis said he plans to take out papers when he returns to Tahoe.

“I thought I’d take a 2-year break and see how I feel,” he said Tuesday from a YMCA camp in San Diego. “But I feel like I have stuff to do.”

Davis said he’s happy and proud the convention center project is advancing and mentioned fire prevention and transportation issues as remaining high priorities.

For the latter, he’d like to see a free bus system in the city and figured the venture would cost about $1 million.

And he didn’t mince words about whether he felt the city as acting properly when it cut down 387 trees at the Lake Tahoe Airport due to safety concerns. The number is allegedly four times more than the permit had called for.

“This is not about a rich guy cutting down trees to get a view of the lake. It’s about safety. You can’t mitigate a human being,” he said. “I stand behind (the city).”

Davis also believes he has more time to dedicate to the City Council seat since he has turned over to others the day-to-day operation of his business, Tahoe Keys Resort.

Incumbent Lovell said she’s not surprised Davis has stepped back in the ring. Like him, she had also committed more time to City Council business and less time for other professional pursuits over her last four years in office.

She said she’s running again because there’s more to do.

“We’re on the verge of exciting opportunities,” Lovell said. She listed the Tahoe Valley Community Plan, Highway 50 curb-and-gutter project and joint government facility with the county and Lake Tahoe Unified School District as top priorities.

She said she ran almost four years ago to make public safety being a high priority as well as fiscal responsibility of the city budget. She’s proud of the team building idea that spurred a council retreat that resulted in a running list of strategies and priorities for the city.

The most prominent disappointment was “the BID – without a doubt,” she said, referring to the failure of the business improvement district to fund tourism.

Lovell said she’s unable to comment on the airport tree issue until a legal finding comes out of City Attorney Catherine DiCamillo’s office.

Serving on the City Council comes with perks: $452 a month; medical, dental and vision health coverage; and CalPERS retirement benefits.

The November election will also determine the next city clerk, for which incumbent Susan Alessi plans to re-run. No other parties have announced interest in this full-time, permanent post.

“I enjoy my job so much, and there’s more to do in this position,” she said.

It’s unknown at this time whether current City Treasurer Steve Wysong plans to rerun for his open seat. He was unavailable for comment.

Filing papers may be obtained at the City Clerk’s Office located at 1901 Airport Road at the Lake Tahoe Airport.

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