Letters for Aug. 22, 2019
Commissioners have history of obstinate governance
I’m as concerned, disappointed, and worried about the impact the Park/Muller project will have on the rural nature of Douglas County as anyone. But if you step back and look at the history of Commissioners Walsh, Penzel, and Rice you see a pattern of obstinate governance against the best interests of the voters.
Despite being given research that would indicate their top pick for county manager had serious background issues, team WPR voted for him anyway, only to have the candidate withdraw rather than discuss in public issues that had been turned up.
Recently, projections have come in on the new $5 room night tax revenue that passed the Legislature. Guess what? Room taxes will generate $4.8 million per year, more than enough for the TDVA to bond for their precious event center, bike paths, street beautification, and anything else they think will save them. RDA2 could be dissolved tomorrow, stopping the loss of $1 million per year of taxpayer money. But don’t hold your breath.
On the obstinance front, BOCC Chair Penzel insists on paying $125,000 rent per year to one of the Lake alphabet agencies for the privilege of holding the second monthly BOCC meeting at the Tahoe Transportation Center. We’re told this is a “tradition” that began when Douglas County’s population at the lake and valley were approximately the same, giving each set of residents equal access to county government. That hasn’t been true for years, possibly decades, but it’s a great way to discourage public participation from valley dwellers whose input they neither want nor heed.
Then there were the WPR votes for building projects prior to Park/Muller that made no sense for our community. In many cases WPR “disclosed” at a BOCC meeting that they had met privately with the developer or representative just prior to voting (to approve the project), perilously close to corrupt behavior. So far, not a hint of embarrassment about bad decisions or improper conduct, nor any attempt to explain their actions. An honest BOCC majority would have had public workshops on something as life-changing as Park/Muller, or at least explained how this would benefit the community.
But no. What we have in WPR is a terminal case of Bill Clinton disease: lots of pride, no shame. Norman Schwarzkopf once said that leadership excellence combines strategy and character. The best you can say about Penzel is that he knows how to strategize.