Candidates for El Dorado County Supervisor
A summary of candidate answers given at forums prior to the June 3, 2014 primary election.
You received the Chamber’s Tahoe Future Vision 2020. What element of the Vision resonated with you and how would you move the needle in this area as a County Supervisor?
Curtzwiler: Moving the needle will take a lot of cooperation. It will take three votes on the Board of Supervisors. I know we need to move forward with implementation, such as with the Tourist Core Area Plan, but Board of Supervisors influence with the City is very limited. Regarding the “Loop Road” I have eminent domain concerns but I agree with what’s going on.
Grego: Sustainability. My goal is different. I want to build small business and create jobs so people can support themselves. I support more high end senior living opportunities, such as Eskaton (a type of senior living housing. There is an Eskaton Village in Placerville).
Novasel: Economic Vitality. This is Tahoe’s opportunity time. The County needs to get out of the way of business. I support revitalization and smart growth. I support seeking consensus on Highway 50 (“Loop Road”) and other infrastructure projects. El Dorado County needs to work with the City. I want to make sure there’s a concerted effort to get everyone together.
Piper: I share in the Vision. I worked at Harrahs and still have a house at Tahoe as well as a home in Pollock Pines. Revitalization beyond casinos is important. I would work to add flexibility to commodity transfers (commercial square footage, tourist accommodation units). Tahoe needs to be able to support itself. More living wage jobs are needed. I support dot.com businesses and fiber optic infrastructure as part of revitalization.
Brown: Economic Vitality I am an advocate for a jobs/housing balance. Building homes before jobs is wrong. Jobs must come first. This must be a top priority. I know the west slope and will learn about Tahoe. I plan to appoint a “Tahoe Cabinet” to help me.
Swanson: Economic Vitality. There is no focus in the County’s economic developement plan. Economic development is left to everyone and no one. I serve on the Tahoe Prosperity Center Board and support TPC’s broadband initiative. The Regional Plan and local Area Plans provide opportunities to get rid of blight. The first projects implemented under these plans will be very telling. Improving infrastructure is very important. As a Council member and the City’s representative on Tahoe Transportation DIstrict Board, I have worked to get positive City support for the “Loop Road.”
What is your view on the Meyers Area Plan?
Piper: Meyers does not need an Area Plan. Local residents needs to take control of their community. Meyers should be allowed to be the way it is, perhaps with more recreation. But I do support building tech jobs through enhanced Internet services.
Curtzwiler: There should be a hold on this planning process until after the election, when new County management can come in and clean up the problem. Meyers residents need to take control of this process.
Grego: I am opposed to the “catalyst project.” Issues surrounding “downtown” Meyers need to be addressed. Meyers should have a local elected body. I am concerned about delays because the rules keep changing.
Swanson: The Meyers Plan process needs to slow down. The County needs to take a leadership role, starting with buying derelict property. A Community Service District (CSD) needs to be formed to replace the Meyers Community Advisory Committee in order to give residents more voice in the plan, project implementation. and future of Meyers.
Brown: The Plan should maintain its current 1993 zones. More public input is needed. The County’s outreach has been poor. I have heard concerns from residents about notification of meetings and draft plan proposals. It appears notifications have not been adequate. If the County does not improve its notification process, I would pay for notifications myself.
Novasel: I worked on the 1993 Meyers Community Plan. We saw the need then for a community council to oversee the Plan, but it did not happen. We need to implement something like this to give Meyers residents a voice. Also, a dedicated community planner is required.
Should you be elected District 5 Supervisor, what do you see as your role related to the TRPA Governing Board?
Grego: I would serve on the TRPA and other boards. They are vital to the County; too many members are not appointed locally. I want to make sure regulations are reasonable. It takes too long to get things done. While I generally support the Regional Plan update, I do not support the “Loop Road” and I do not support the RPU transportation element.
Piper: I will serve on the TRPA, Tahoe Transportation District, and Tahoe Conservancy boards and carry important information back to the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors.
Swanson: These boards and others make up the scope of the job. I would serve on each of them. I am currently the City’s respresentative on the Tahoe Transportation District board and have served on the Conservancy board. I know these organizations because I have been working with them for four years as a City Council member.
Brown: I would apppoint a knowledgeable person from the Basin to sit on the TRPA, Conservancy and other boards, much the same as Placer County has done.
Novasel: I will serve on these boards. They are incredibly important and provide much of the Supervisor’s voice in the community.
Curtzwiler: I would take “a seat at the table” at TRPA. TRPA is essential but has grown beyond its original mandate. We can run our own show. TRPA should get out of the construction business. Transportation District and Conservancy are both important boards.
As a Supervisor, how would you approach and prioritize needs and resources between the various areas of District 5? Countywide?
Brown: My priorities are safety and public services and the economic impacts of these services - for all of District 5. There is a need for better communications between the County and the City of South Lake Tahoe. I will put together a cabinet of volunteers to improve relations. At the County level, I support the existing growth measure (Measure Y). I have always done the best I can for people on the boards on which I serve. I am a problem solver and always seek solutions. I advocate for regional partnerships.
Piper: All communities east of Placerville feel disenfranchised. This must be addressed. District 5 has the lifestyle everyone wants. Business and job growth are priorities. Marketing of Lake Tahoe is important for tourism. Closure of the lumber mill in Camino was a big impact. It should be re-opened. County-wide, traffic is one of our worst problems. We need to curtail building new subdivisions on the west slope. The County General Plan should be changed to focus more on farms and our rural areas.
Swanson: I have served on the City Council for four years and was a member of the Lake Tahoe Unified School Board before that. Skills and knowledge are important. I know Tahoe issues and local boards. I have spent eight months meeting with County officials, driving around the County learning and becoming familiar with issues throughout the County. I know how to build consensus and make decisions. I love public service.
Novasel: The existing Meyers Plan needs to updated. We need a dedicated County planner back at Lake Tahoe. Boosting our economy is job one. Local plans are the tools for implementation. We need to meet with people and businesses and better understand their needs. The County economic development team needs to lead this effort. We share in one County budget and I must represent and speak for the entire district. I will be a local advocate on TRPA and other boards. The County needs better relations with the City. Relationships between Supervisors and County staff are critical. Building relationships is my passion.
Curtzwiler: It’s no secret I have opinions. My ideas come from residents. People can come to my house, call me on the phone. I will research and do the work for the residents. I work for the residents. Residents can run the community.
Grego: I have asked people throughout the district what they needed and wanted. There is a lot of synergies. I want to accomplish things. Priorities should be based on timeframes - long and short term. We need less government interference in the Basin. We need new types of business, not just recreation. I do not have a problem with some new development, but I have a concern with building height. This comes back to the overreach of TRPA.