Three vie for ranchos seat |

Three vie for ranchos seat

by Merrie Leininger

It’s a thankless job that pays $300 a month and can involve long nights of angry people yelling at you or boring discussions about taxes.

But three people will be bidding Wednesday night at the Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District office to become the next board member.

As of Friday afternoon, Richard R. Bonebrake, J. Dennis Le Drew and Marcelito C. Basa had applied for the position being vacated by Victor Hyden, who has been on the board for 20 years.

– Richard Bonebrake. Bonebrake is no stranger to the board. He was the second choice, after Roger Paul, of many board members in December to replace board president Bruce Nystrom, who died in November.

He had also run for the position twice before.

“As you know, running against incumbents, it is almost impossible. It’s a lost cause unless you put a lot of money into it,” he said. “But I do want to serve on the board. I can see they’re doing a good job and I think there’s going to be a lot more to do.”

Bonebrake, who retired from the Navy as a Chief Warrant Officer 4 after 30 years, said he is interested in issues such as the green spaces, improving Tillman Lane, attracting businesses and becoming a town.

“Eventually we’re going to have to. I just have a feeling this area cannot remain a housing development,” he said. “I think because you’ve got Gardnerville and Minden and they have their own identities, I think it’s going to come sooner or later.”

Bonebrake said he isn’t sure how to entice businesses to the Ranchos, but thinks something has be done.

“We look like a lot of older cities that folded up and went away. I don’t know how (to bring in businesses). It’s just getting proper businesses and getting people to participate,” he said.

Bonebrake said he is happy that the board has started developing the open spaces by turning one into Bluerock Park, but he thinks the 22 acres across Muir Drive from the Ranchos office should also be developed. He said he is also happy with the goals and objectives the board set at its last meeting, particularly with the plan to work with the county to fix drainage problems and potholes on Tillman Lane.

“It is very detrimental for appearance and drainage. We’re going to have to look at it along with the county. The road might be theirs, but flooding continues to be ours. It needs to be rectified,” he said.

Bonebrake has lived in the Ranchos for 10 years and resides on Fay Court. He is involved in many organizations in the area, such as the Fleet Reserve Association, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Benevolent Order of Elks.

n Marcelito C. Basa. Basa has lived in the Ranchos since January 1998, moving from San Jose, Calif. Basa, who lives on Lois Court, had been a credit manager for many years, retiring in 1994. He continued to work as a consultant for computer companies in Silicon Valley until 1997.

He and his wife retired to the Carson Valley after living in the metropolitan areas of Orange County and the Bay area for 20 years, and Basa said he and other senior citizens want to keep the small-town atmosphere and keep out the big-city problems.

“If I want to stay here for the rest of my days, I am concerned. You want to retire in a quiet place. That made me aware that I have to participate in order to maintain this kind of lifestyle in the Ranchos,” Basa said.

He said being involved in the Douglas County Senior Citizens’ Law Enforcement Academy this year has opened his eyes to safety issues in the Valley.

“Most of the crimes happening are young people and drug-related. It will blossom into a big thing if we do nothing. As citizens, we need to contribute because our sheriff’s department is spread pretty thin. It’s up to us to help them,” Basa said.

When asked about what issues would improve the lives of senior citizens in the Ranchos, Basa said public transportation.

“I have talked with a lot of the people in the senior citizens’ academy and I have a feeling of their frustrations and their needs. I would say 80 percent (of the class) comes from the Ranchos. There is no public transportation in the Ranchos. I was talking to an old lady, a widow, and she said she has to depend on her neighbors, otherwise she can’t do anything,” Basa said.

Although Basa said he has not attended any GRGID meetings so far, he feels his experience of community service in other areas and as an executive in private business makes him a good candidate.

“When we moved into our neighborhood in San Jose, I noticed there was no street lights and there had been problems, incidents because it was very dark. I got petitions and talked to the town engineers and got the street lights installed. Unless somebody moves, nothing is going to be done,” Basa said. “I think I will be able to contribute.”

– Dennis Le Drew. Le Drew has been a Ranchos resident since June 1991, when he moved from Australia. He will miss the interviews for the position at the board meeting Wednesday because he is on vacation, visiting Australia. However, Le Drew interviewed before the board in December, so board members have the answers to questions asked at that time. He also has been a frequent attendee of the board meetings, so trustees are familiar with him and what his positions on various issues are.

In his letter of interest, Le Drew said he had planned to run for a seat on the board in November and will do that if he is not appointed Wednesday night.

Le Drew, who lives on Yellow Jacket Lane, is retired from TRW Systems of Redondo Beach, Calif., where he was a staff engineer. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of San Francisco.

He was a member of the Carson Valley Lions Club from 1992 to 1998 and served on the board of directors of the Carson Valley Food Closet for two years.

– Application. Ranchos residents have a few more days to apply for the position. District Manager Bob Spellberg said anyone can submit letters of interest before 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 2. The interviews will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 3 at the district office at 931 Mitch Drive.

Spellberg said the board plans on interviewing each of the candidates with about four pre-planned questions. The board will vote on the person they want to replace Hyden, who vacates his seat June 2. If the board cannot make a decision, the job falls to the Douglas County Commission. Because Hyden doesn’t leave until after May 15 – the last day to register to run in November’s election – the new board member will complete the last two years of Hyden’s term.