Transportation candidate supports redevelopment |

Transportation candidate supports redevelopment

Michael Schneider

Gunnar Henrioulle

Age: 56

Education: Associate of Arts degrees in science and art from Sacramento City College

Profession: Senior Airport Technician at the Lake Tahoe Airport

Platform: Taking steps to protect the city investment in redevelopment. We need to assure investors and business participants that visitors’ ability to access and use state-line development will be continually enhanced via improvements in regional transportation. My top priority as a council member is to pursue long-overdue capital improvements in aviation, highway and eventual rail access linking markets to our mountain destination. Any shopping list of priorities added to this can best be achieved by a healthy economy coupled with robust intermodial transportation. Transportation with style.

Question 1: In light of the numerous times the Park Avenue Project has been postponed, should the city spend money for this project before there is a finalized Disposition and Development Agreement with the developer?

Answer: My answer is yes. With this caveat after the election, Gunnar Henrioulle and Les Otten (American Skiing Company chairman) will be talking about transportation improvements.

Question 2a: Should the citizens of South Lake Tahoe use their tax money to pay for grant matches which are supposed to come from the pockets of those who use commercial service at the airport?

Answer: Everyone uses aviation services. If you go to the supermarket, you’re buying produce that’s been shipped by an airplane. It’s very important to understand the leverage that we obtain from aviation customers and the idea of letting the airport go under through deferred maintenance and other short-sighted policies needs to be corrected.

Question 2b: With the success of the Reno/Tahoe International Airport, is there a point where the city must abandon the hope of finding a commercial suitor? If so, has that point been reached?

Answer: The airport is a long-term investment in transportation. To suggest we underutilize it and make it less than a full-service airport is shortsighted. We do not say U.S. Highway 50 should be used for compact cars only and the same applies to the airport. We should continue to seek jet service for the airport and, once having it, we need to include the airport in any fixed guideway scheme and we need to include the airport site as a transportation hub linking all modes of transportation. The airport is the gateway for South Lake Tahoe. The highway passes by it. Future rail will pass by it, and people that fly in use it.

Question 3: Although eminent domain is a legal process, should the city take property from residents for the good of the public (as it claimed to do in the Tahoe Meadows situation), or should the rights of those who fairly bought their properties take precedent?

Answer: Property rights are a cornerstone of the Judeo-Christian ethic and property values have a high order of protection under the U.S. Constitution. But eminent domain does have a place, particularly in the transportation corridor and maybe to a lesser extent in redevelopment projects. Eminent domain should not be used as a smoke screen to cover up a flub in a rental agreement.

Question 4a: Even though many city residents supported the cut, because South Lake Tahoe is a tourist destination, should more money be put into the Parks and Recreation Department?

Answer: The answer is yes, with a suggestion. Parks and Recreation in other cities are complimented with income and grants from philanthropic individuals and corporations and foundations. Lake Tahoe, with its location and stature as a world destination, would probably be able to do very well in achieving this type of financial assistance for recreation and park facilities if we would only ask.

Question 4b: Should there only be one department head for both police and fire?

Answer: Gang activity and prevention is a potential problem that merits a police chief with the background and training to deal with this type of element. On the other hand, we live with the threat of wildfire. It’s always going to be with us as long as we live here and this one issue alone merits a full-time, trained and experienced fire chief official.

Question 5: What should the council’s role, if any, be in the fight against MTBE?

Answer: We should remove MTBE from our fuel supply and not just in Tahoe, with all due haste. Now, as far as a long-term approach to our transportation and fuel supplies, I believe it’s important to start to look at ways to move people in the Lake Tahoe Basin, not just by automobiles. One way to wean us off of fossil fuels that are polluters is to look at renewable energy solutions in transportation. In Lake Tahoe, we have corridors that lend themselves to railway solutions and railway is a natural partner with electric propulsion. Electricity can be generated by solar, geothermal and other types of renewable energy processes. This should be our long-term, beginning now with this new City Council, an active program to bring renewable energy to transportation to Lake Tahoe and be a standard for the whole country to follow.

Interest rates are low and we have a president who is anxious for some type of a legacy. Let’s do a modernization and a world-class transportation system at Lake Tahoe that will be the envy of the world.

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