Laurel Ames has lived on
for nearly 60 years. She’s a
passionate advocate for the
, having been involved with numerous environmental
organizations over her long career. During her time,
says she’s worked with both Republican and
Democratic representatives on Tahoe restoration.
Tahoe is not a partisan issue … people all over the entire country know
Tahoe and are interested in its protection …
But when discussing incumbent
Congressman John Doolittle,
Well, in terms of the lake, I would say anybody but Doolittle would be a
better representative … here we’ve had somebody representing us who not only
doesn’t care about our issues but isn’t even around.
is an anomaly in Doolittle’s district. And Laurel Ames represents the challenge he
faces in a region where the environment is of prime importance.
supports Doolittle’s Democratic opponant Charlie Brown.
of the two major candidate’s campaign contribution lists finds that support is
fairly even around the district, except in the
ut of 565 Doolittle
sponsors, only 4 came from near
. On the other hand, his challenger, Charlie
Brown, received 56 contributions from the Tahoe area out of a total of 1019.
Doolittle declined to comment for this story.
However, in the recent candidates’ debate, he mentioned an environmental
accomplishment in the Tahoe basin; securing five million dollars in funding
last year for research into the performance of hydrogen powered cars.
One of the things I’ve done is gotten the
designated as one of the test areas for the hydrogen fuel cell. Hydrogen would completely eliminate pollution
of any kind.
Doolittle is also an advocate
for clearing unsafe amounts of fuel load from Tahoe forests, a universally
recognized problem. In the candidates’
debate, Doolittle blamed radical environmentalists for the dangerous amount of
fuel build up in the forests around the lake.
The Sierra Club of course doesn’t want any money made from the
harvesting of trees. And I think that’s
extremely unfortunate … and I’ve fought that approach and voted for the Healthy
Forest Restoration Act, which helps communities protect themselves like Lake
Tahoe or any community in a forested area.
Critics say Doolittle voted
for what’s, in essence, a giveaway to the logging industry. They’ve also taken
him to task for his support of development in the region. Doolittle has said he’s attempting to preserve
the rights of private property owners.
But his Democratic opponent, Charlie Brown, says the Congressman is in
the pocket of developers. He cites an example that he says reveals Doolittle’s
Here you had a ski resort owner and the Forest Service had reached an
agreement on selling the ski resort to the Forest Service, and he inserts a
sentence in an appropriations bill to block any Forest Service funds being used
to buy Homewood Ski Resort … and its like why? … well, look at the fec filings
and you see that the developer that buys
on his contributions to John Doolittle.
Because Doolittle declined to
comment, it’s unclear what his vision is for the future of the
has made no campaign appearances in the area.
Brown is capitalizing on the absence and Doolittle’s low
popularity. He says, if elected, he’ll
increase funding for future restoration efforts and he’ll work to be a mediator
in a region that’s been polarized.
Sometimes we’ve gone too far on the side of development … sometimes too
far on the side of environmentalism … it’s striking a balance between
things. We can protect our watersheds by
logging a little farther back from the stream beds and the run off areas but we
can still log economically.
The Tahoe Sierra is certainly
not representative of the entire 4th congressional district, which stretches
’s eastern suburbs to the
election won’t turn on issues such as logging and
development, but residents like Laurel Ames say, the lake should be a
priority for any candidate who wants her vote.
Brian Bahouth, KXJZ News …