Miner should remain nbiased on TRPA

Residents of Douglas County have noted two recent newspaper articles. Together, they should immediately concern the public as well as the governing board of Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

One article highlights Kathleen Maidlow, asked to resign as the director of the Douglas County Senior Center. She's now under investigation by the Douglas County District Attorney. Her mistake? She cashed personal checks at the center. She said she didn't know it was against county policy.

The other article is about Stonewood Condominiums, Jim Borelli's third attempt to build a development on undisturbed land beside Burke Creek, a stream flowing directly into Lake Tahoe. In it, Don Miner, Douglas County's appointment to the TRPA Governing Board, is quoted as saying: "After two years it's probably time for the project to get under way."

Yet governors of TRPA are only now preparing to consider the scope of the environmental impact statement for this development as well as the comments from us, the public. The EIS scope, when complete, will direct appropriate consultants to look at the possible challenges to environmental thresholds presented by this project: soil washed into the creek, significant increases in traffic, disruption of habitat, etc. When all EIS data is collected, the TRPA governors will review it and collect further comments from us, the public. A final decision will be made on Burke Creek only at the end of this lengthy process. Presumably, the TRPA governors must also consider in their vote what precedent such a development might set for similar future projects.

Don Miner's public approval and support of Burke Creek development, far in advance of EIS evidence and public input, is of much greater magnitude in undermining public trust than those mistakes of Ms. Maidlow's. I have no copy of rules and guidelines for the performance of TRPA governors. Don't they at least imply some level of impartiality? Miner's action is absolutely contrary to the intent of TRPA, which should operate according to code, written guidelines, and procedures designed to be fair to all while protecting Tahoe's environmental health.

This is not the first time that Don Miner has made efforts to persuade the public, myself included, to approve Borelli's proposals for Burke Creek development. At one point the governing board had to ask him to recuse himself from voting because of that.

At this point, after considering Miner's last public statement, the conclusion must surely be that his presence on the governing board is no longer appropriate. TRPA, after all, operates with public monies to represent the interests of all the people. Every governor should consider all the evidence impartially.

The time has come for your vote of censure accompanied by a request that Don Miner submit his resignation as a governor of TRPA.


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