Where are our community leaders right now? (guest opinion)

Kenny Curtzwiler / Guest column

Where are the leaders in this community right now? By the time our current city council members get their act together and make a decision, well over half the businesses in this community could be gone. 

Granted the council is trying but without a strong mayor system in place and actually someone who can make a decision, our community will suffer as it has never done before. Our Nevada-based Tahoe Chamber is not doing much more than the council with virtual meetings and virtual committees and virtual sub committees. 

I realize they have a tough job to do and I do not envy them, but come on now. Our former city manager, Nancy Kerry, now in Frisco Colorado, has already established several programs and is starting on round two of grants and programs to help their local business community.

She is still a part of this community and she sent me everything they did to try and help us. They did not wait until everyone was on the edge of closing. They did not try to push private agendas during this time like the so called leaders have in our community — I am talking about the “Loop Road” (Carl Ribaudo), “Private Rail System” (Cody Bass), “Transportation System” (Devin Middlebrook and TRPA).

As for the rest, all we have heard is crickets. We need leadership and we need it right now, not at the end of May. 

We need council meetings every single day until we get a grip on this situation and before we lose what is left of our residents.

I contacted a council member and was told that the Frisco program would not work. This council member also told me that it would not work without ever having seen it. 

Dreu Murin, a local business owner, emailed Steve Teshara at the Nevada-based Tahoe Chamber offering his and Greater Nevada Credit Union’s help and guidance for all their members with the Small Business Association paycheck protection program process for all their members and Steve never even contacted him back.

We need leaders, true leaders, not figureheads, and we need them right now. 

Fortunately for us, we happen to have some, right here and now.

Here are the true leaders in this community — Dreu Murin, Ted Kennedy, Gary Casteel, Tom Davis (former Mayor of South Lake Tahoe) including support, individually, from Mayor Pro-Tem Tami Wallace. 

Together, with Greater Nevada Credit Union and Vice President Jeremy Gilpin, they have funded over 154 SBA PPP loans as of Thursday morning for $12 million to Lake Tahoe businesses. (Loans have getting processed around the clock and the numbers are likely much higher by the time this column was published.)

They currently are working on, and have processed and approved, 150 more.

Businesses have received well over $3.5 million in SBA PPP loans. Funding for the second round will be nearly twice as much. 

These are all South Lake Tahoe businesses that are in desperate need to pay their employees. 

They did not have “virtual” meetings. They did not have “virtual” answers. They did not have “virtual” committees and subcommittees. They figured out what to do to help our community right now, not next week or the following week or the end of May. 

They rolled up their sleeves, contacted us each individually and got the job done. 

Think about that for a moment. To date they have funded over 350 Tahoe Basin businesses to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. This money will help with payroll to employees and can only be used for payroll for employees.

These are not multimillion dollar corporations. They are your friends and neighbors who are having a rough time right now even putting food on the table. 

Dreu, Gary, Tom, Tami, Ted, Nancy and Jeremy, these are the true leaders and I take my hat off to them and their commitment to this community. 

Kenny Cutzwiler is a longtime resident on Lake Tahoe’s South Shore.

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