South Lake Tahoe beach concessionaire deal hits snag


By Kathryn Reed

Another South Lake Tahoe City Council meeting, another questionable bid and contract.

With summer having arrived unusually early in Lake Tahoe, people are at the beaches. And these people are hungry. But there is no vendor at El Dorado or Regan beaches because the city again can’t get its act together.

Danny Chavez will know May 18 if he will be the concessionaire for Lakeview Commons and Regan Beach. Photo/LTN file

The number of irregular bids is beginning to mount – from the contractor for Lakeview Commons to the bear box issue that was resolved earlier this month to the current concessionaire for the city owned beaches.

City Attorney Patrick Enright wanted to bring the bid back to the council June 5, but the electeds said no way, this needs to be resolved immediately. Staff has until 3pm Friday to get all of its ducks in a row because that is when a special council meeting has been set to deal with just this issue. (Mayor Claire Fortier will be absent because her son is graduating from college.)

Enright on May 15 told the council he heard from the county Health Department late Monday with issues involving the applicant who staff had recommended the bid be awarded to. He also has issues with the bid saying the venues will be open five days a week, when in fact the city wants them open seven days.

Cronyism was the charge leveled against staff’s recommendation to award the contract to Danny Chavez of Lake Taco Catering. While that word was used, the people who spoke at Tuesday’s council meeting presented no evidence of cronyism.

Ryan Payne, who owns Energy Drink Outlet in South Lake Tahoe, was the first public speaker. He said on Monday he filed a formal protest against Lake Taco getting the concessionaire because according to a survey he took “the community is not behind this”. He questioned how the contract is different than what is in the proposal – saying cronyism was at play.

Jeff Sparrow of Lake Tahoe Catering Company, who was one of the five bidders for the concessionaire, said he believes the process is whom you know, not what you know.

Three South Lake Tahoe employees, including Community Services Director Stan Sherer, evaluated the applications and interviewed the five candidates. All were graded on five criteria:

• Experience, background and qualifications – 20 points

• Proposed concession plan – 50 points

• Compensation schedule – 30 points

• Financial capability – pass/fail

• Completeness and comprehensiveness of proposal – pass/fail.

Sherer said Chavez with Lake Taco was the No. 1 choice of the panel.

“He knows what it takes to provide for a lot of people,” Sherer told the council. “We feel he can increase gross revenue more than all the other respondents. Ultimately he will provide more revenue for the city.”

Sanchez has been operating the Regan Beach concessionaire for a handful of years. This will be the first year for Lakeview Commons to have a vendor now that the boathouse is complete.

Sherer said he did go over financials with Chavez – which is common in a bid like this when the lowest responsible bidder is not the main, overriding criterion.

While Chavez’s bid says he will work five days a week, he told the council that was a typo. He said seven days is what it should say with no changes to any other numbers.

Rick Meyer, El Dorado County public defender, and Delicia Spees, executive director of Lake Tahoe Family Resource Center, were two people who sang Chavez’s praises.

Chavez countered Payne’s allegations that he was irresponsible and left things outside that shouldn’t be by saying he was remodeling the Regan Beach facility so things had to be placed outside while work was done inside.

Others applying for the concessionaire were Crepes on the Lake and Commons Cafe, Beach Hut Deli, and Bijou Snack Shack.

The contract is slated to be for five years, with the city receiving 10 percent of gross sales in the first year, 11 percent in year two and 12 percent for the remaining years.

In other council action:

• Councilman Tom Davis reported Go Ape would not be building a ropes course this summer at Lake Tahoe Airport. He said the FAA is the hang up, with the hopes those issues will be resolved in the coming weeks.

• The city will be looking for a commercial real estate agent to help get rid of properties once owned by the Redevelopment Agency that are now under the purview of the successor agency since the state dissolved all redevelopment agencies.

• Signs will be put up at Lakeview Commons prohibiting people from using the built environment for use by snowboarders and skateboarders – and others – who want to do tricks and not just pass through the area.

• On a 3-2 vote, with Councilwoman Angela Swanson and Fortier voting no, the majority wants owners of historic signs to be able appeal any Planning Commission decision to the council.

• Swanson and Councilman Bruce Grego were appointed to an ad hoc committed to deal with the Lakeview Commons lease with El Dorado County.



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Comments (9)
  1. Mike Mulligan says - Posted: May 16, 2012

    This is a silly issue. Danny is a long time local and one of the best chefs in the basin. His food is spectacular… Crepes on the lake?… Please….

  2. 30yrlocal says - Posted: May 16, 2012

    Agreed Mike….love their fish tacos and have made it a “must do” on my annual summer list. They’re at community events and it’s a true family affair with everyone always there, helping. Hope the city follows through on staff recommendations and awards them the contract.

  3. PubWorksTV says - Posted: May 16, 2012

    Mike, Do you really think that that is how government should make choices?

    Long time local and you think he makes makes good crapes… WOW – How rightious of you. Give me a break.

    … from my point of view that is why people should avoid places like S. Lake Tahoe. That is a poster argument for crony capitalism at a very fundamental level. No wonder why things are so bad.

    In the America I knew being an American is what counts not how long you may have lived in a certain area. That’s bogus! On top of that a competition based on standards of fairness and equality.

    SLT is poisoned with cronyism … don’t reward, it avoid it!

  4. TeaTotal says - Posted: May 16, 2012

    I thought joestirumup was banned for his constant diatribe against So. Tahoe and everyone here. What a loser.

  5. Laurie Brazil says - Posted: May 16, 2012

    Lake Taco is one of the best additions to Reagan Beach….his food is awesome, reasonably priced and a good match for the beach area. He’s an excellent chef and SHOULD be awarded the contract…no cronyism is in place just sound judgement.

  6. PubWorksTV says - Posted: May 16, 2012

    Laurie Brazil, you can have your opinion, but how do you qualify as the arbiter of “good Judgement” ?

    That is the type of attitude that permeates the region … if it was your beach you would get the say so… since it is citizens you don’t get the say so.

    That is the essence of the problem … some people think that they should make the choice.

    If you are a government employee with that attitude you should be fired.

  7. Garry Bowen says - Posted: May 16, 2012

    Offering a ‘flip-side’: what is served, at what price, and how well-prepared it is should be the criteria, which I believe is satisfied with the reputation already earned by Mr. Chavez. . .

    The flip-side is Mr. Chavez fortitude, as I understand the “El Dorado” building has no gas line, making food preparation a ‘long-distance’ affair – who thought that one through, if true. . .this would mean that Regan Beach is perhaps the commissary for El Dorado if the food is to be transported (??)- what were they thinking ?

    I would be happy to be wrong, but (?)…

  8. Hang Ups From Way Back says - Posted: May 16, 2012

    “OMG”!! another problem,lol!
    Make sure there’s plenty toilet paper in the heads for the spoiled Fish,cat,dog.
    Amercans got eat no matter where they are at and they will eat anything.

    6000 mile away and our town still makes me laugh.
    Can’t beat a fresh Cod,Haddock, pulled from the cold waters with a frosty beer,nice bloody bar Maid flattering you for a euro tip.
    I bet the town Dead!

  9. Ryan Payne says - Posted: June 2, 2012

    Cronyism: The appointment of friends and associates to positions of authority, without proper regard to their qualifications.

    *Danny worked for the Parks and Rec and the panel was made up of 3 people; 2 were from the Parks and Rec Dept (now called the Community Services Department).

    *Danny abandoned the concessions at Bijou Community Park several years ago, which was a direct violation of his contract with the City. (Does anyone remember, ‘El Parque Ristorante’?)

    *He illegally runs a year-round catering business from a seasonal facility.

    *There are tarps and a carport tent used to create a ‘dining area’ at Regan Beach.

    Lake Taco is the only place along the shore of this beautiful lake that is ‘decorated’ with tarps and a tent carport (and has been for years!). That alone is a good enough reason for most to not allow him to continue. Almost more alarming though, it serves as a prime example of the mismanagement of public assets in this “City” to all who visit and live here.

    The truth hurts sometimes… I actually like Danny. He is a very nice and generous family man and he makes decent food, but he has already had two opportunities to shine with the City (Bijou Park and Regan Beach) and the results are questionable at best.

    When the concessions contracts go out to bid again in the Fall, I sincerely hope that the City puts together a non-biased panel of food industry professionals that are actually qualified to make such an important decision; a decision which will impact people’s perception of this area for years to come!