The League to Save Lake Tahoe announced today that Executive Director, Rochelle Nason has resigned, bringing to a close two decades of working to “Keep Tahoe Blue”.
September 14, 2011
by Michelle Sweeney at Tahoe Project http://tahoeproject.org
LAKE TAHOE - The League to Save Lake Tahoe announced today that Executive Director, Rochelle Nason has resigned, bringing to a close two decades of working to “Keep Tahoe Blue”. “Rochelle Nason has grown the League from a tiny organization with a single full-time employee into the substantial and influential group that it is today,” says Robert Damaschino, Chair of the board of directors. Nason joined the League as staff attorney in 1992 and since 1993 has served as the non-profit organization’s Executive Director.
The League is Tahoe’s oldest and largest nonprofit advocacy organization, dedicated “to protecting, restoring, and advocating for the ecosystem health and scenic beauty of the Lake Tahoe Basin,” says the organization’s website. The League has “more than 5,000 current members across the nation” says the website and over 70,000 people say they “Like Keep Tahoe Blue” on Facebook.
Under Nason’s leadership the League has kept the environmental issues the Lake Tahoe Basin faces at the forefront of people’s minds. “Without the continued efforts of the League in terms of news and legal actions, we would have lost the battle to save Lake Tahoe back in the 1960s and ‘70s” said Dr. Charles Goldman in an interview featured in Tahoe Quarterly in 2007.
Among the things the League has worked for with Nason at the helm are public funding for environmental projects, the ban on two-stroke engines and adherence to urban boundaries for Lake Tahoe’s communities.
Blogger Laura Read on her site readwriteshoot.com quoted Steve Teshara in a 2009 article as saying of the League, “They worked to get systems for carrying effluent out of the Basin, and closed down efforts to develop a highway up the West Shore, a bridge across the mouth of Emerald Bay and a casino on top of Round Hill…Development like that was clearly not appropriate.”Critics of the organization argue that the League seeks credit where the work of many collaborators helped protect the environment, not just the League.
The organization and its Executive are the subject of much criticism as echoed in this statement by Michael Ward, a leader in the Prosperity Center effort, in a recent interview about changing social and economic dynamics in the Basin, “…we’ve got litigation—which is the tail wagging the dog here in the Basin—always driving our change discussions”.
Nason came under hard criticism in the Nevada Legislative Session on April 1, 2011 when Senator John Lee said to her, “The League to Save Lake Tahoe’s political agenda is the biggest problem. Your organization is controlling the California TRPA votes, and you are using every power possible to control Nevada.” This accusation was leveled in the context of Nevada Senate Bill 271 discussion which, now passed by the Nevada legislature and signed by Governor Sandoval, calls for the withdrawal of Nevada from the bi-state Tahoe Regional Planning Compact—legislation the League opposed.
Nason’s reply to Senator Lee was this, “I do not understand the accusation. The policies the League is pursuing are policies to ensure the coverage threshold is achieved and maintained, the height of buildings is carefully planned to preserve scenic views, and traffic congestion is avoided. The League’s policies are those pursued since the 1960’s.”
“Establishing the legal principle that the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is obligated to achieve and maintain environmental standards for the Lake Tahoe Basin” is one of the hallmark accomplishments of Nason’s time at the League, says the press release announcing her resignation.
Explaining her decision to resign Nason says, “I will always love Lake Tahoe and will return frequently as a visitor, but this summer my family and I decided to make our permanent home in the San Francisco Bay Area and I did not wish to continue my current schedule of travel between the Bay Area and Lake Tahoe during the coming winter”. “I am very pleased to be leaving the League in excellent condition financially and organizationally, and look forward to watching it continue to thrive and grow. It will also be satisfying to watch the public investment that the League worked so hard to secure over the years invested in projects that will help Keep Tahoe Blue.”
League Program Director Carl Young will serve as interim Executive Director, with Nason serving as a senior advisor, until a new executive director has been selected. Young will work with the League’s board to assure a smooth leadership transition. He has served as program director since 2007 and played an integral role in all the League’s advocacy activities.
League to Save Lake Tahoe | Keep Tahoe Blue
Nevada Legislative Session | 76th Session Minutes April 1, 2011
Keep Tahoe Blue | Facebook
Tahoe Quarterly | League to Save Lake Tahoe Turns 50 | readwriteshoot.com (Laura Read)