Michael Donahoe

Tahoe Area Sierra Club Election

Candidate Statements


Derrek Aaron

Derrek Aaron grew up in upstate New York’s scenic and historic Hudson Valley region. At a very young age he and his family hiked and camped in the Catskill and Adirondack mountains. Each hiking and camping experience was an opportunity to learn more about local fauna and flora and develop a deep respect for nature. One of his early hobbies was SLR photography cultivated during family vacations and which eventually developed into a deep passion for nature  photography.     

Derrek first visited Lake Tahoe as a young teen and to this day can still vividly recall the crystal clear waters during a boat ride. For the past six plus years he has been very fortunate to call Lake Tahoe his permanent residence. During this time in the basin area, he has become a member of the Sierra Club and has written articles for local print publications addressing economic and environmental issues. His position on the local economy and environment has always been in support of sound development. Derrek also regularly attends TRPA meetings, specifically those concerning the RPU. Recently Derrek joined a committee in opposition to the Martis Valley West Tahoe Basin ridgeline project. The committee has developed a website that includes an article written by him. Derrek was also part of a citizen’s advisory panel that discussed  the MVW project at the Kings Beach Events Center. His favorite place to hike and explore is the pristine east shore.

For the past sixteen years, Derrek has been a management consultant and systems integration project manager. He is also a CPA and has thirteen years board experience (Board Treasurer Flyers Rights Education Fund and Board Treasurer for two condo HOA’s).



Laurel Ames

I have worked on Tahoe issues for almost 40 years.   Today we are faced with critical challenges, from potential loss of the scenic backdrop of the North Shore due to projected projects on the Martis  Valley ridge and to the horrors of the uncontrolled growing algae and plant invasions along our shoreline.   I remember when the Lake was remarkably clear and the shoreline never had algae streamers, slimy rocks or invasive plants. My vision is for a restored Lake Tahoe.   I have been the executive director of the League to Save Lake Tahoe as well as the Sierra Nevada Alliance.   In 2005 the Sierra Club recruited me to volunteer on their Protect Lake Tahoe project and I have never looked back.

I request your vote for me for a position on the Sierra Club Executive Committee.   I will support regulations to protect ridges from condos throughout the basin and mount the challenge to the agencies to act now to remove the causes of slime and plants in the lake.   Thank you for your support of the Sierra Club and the Tahoe Area Group.



Grace Anderson

I am a candidate for the executive committee election for the Tahoe Sierra Club. I am seeking nomination because I believe the Sierra Club is a critical part of the balance between environmental improvement and relentless economic pressures for development in the Tahoe Basin.

I have served as the Secretary of the Executive Committee, I lead the community outreach meetings and I have followed in the footsteps of Bob Anderson to chair the Executive Committee for the past year. If I am elected I will continue to build our close coordination with the Sierra Club chapters  (Toiyabe and Mother Lode) who support us, I will work toward developing an Outings Program in the Basin and will seek to improve our collaborative relationships with decision makers.



Stephen Fernald

I have been a seventeen-year resident of South Lake Tahoe, and during that time have been the full-time instructor and program director of the culinary arts department at Lake Tahoe Community College.   Over the past forty-five years I have been a chef and educator in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, and California.   My interests in my field are issues of food politics such as sustainable agriculture, genetically modified organisms, the farm to  table movement, world hunger, and farmer's markets.   I am an avid gardener, spending a lot of my spare time caring for plants.  

My devotion to the Sierra Club and its mission go back to my experiences in Florida where my wife, Madeline, and I fought the destruction of a 400-year plus, old growth swamp within two miles of the Atlantic Ocean.   We succeeded in preserving nearly half of the available land for an environmental education area for local school children.   This was in the face of a community that showed little interest in preserving anything, let alone an old swamp.   We found an endangered orchid there in addition to pink grasshoppers, flying squirrels, painted buntings, and six inch long wasps.   We came here to be in a place where the wild land would be protected and revered.



Steve Pearsall

My family and I have lived in the North Lake Tahoe area for thirty-five years and during this time we have explored, enjoy and benefited from our stunning surroundings. Now that I am retired, I would like to be considered for a seat on your executive committee where I could work with our community to preserve and enhance our immediate environment—and return favors to Mother Nature.

I have been a member of the Sierra Club for over twenty years and for the past eight years, I have participated in efforts to curb unnecessary commercial encroachment on the north shore. Two of my published books  refer, obliquely, to the destruction of both land and wildlife in Africa and Indonesia . I lived in Japan and subsequently in Singapore and London where I managed large marketing operations and travelled extensively. Serving the Sierra Club would be an honor.  



Harold Singer

The Tahoe Area Sierra Club can and should be a relevant voice in the future of the Lake Tahoe Basin. The demographics of those living in and visiting the Lake Tahoe Basin has changed and will continue to evolve given broader socioeconomic changes. How we respond to these challenges will determine the future of our communities around the Lake and the environment that we leave to our  children and future generations that deserve the opportunity to live in or visit this wondrous place and be witness to its beauty.

As the former Executive Officer of the CA Lahontan Water Board for 23 years (retired 2012) I have a working knowledge of Lake Tahoe Basin agencies and understand how policy can be shaped. Throughout my career, I have interacted with elected city, county, state and federal officials. I would like the opportunity to use these skills in supporting the TASC to be a positive voice with constructive input to future policy and regulatory decisions.

I have lived with my wife, adult son and school age daughter in the Lake Tahoe Basin since 1989.


  • Director - Tahoe Resource Conservation District
  • Treasurer - Tahoe-Baikal Institute (non-profit hosting summer exchange programs for U.S. and international college students at Lake Tahoe and Lake Baikal, Russia)
  • Program Manager - Marine Research and Education (non-profit hosting grade school through college environmental education including on-land and on-water programs)
  • Member - Bond Oversight Committee, Lake Tahoe Unified School District
  • Vice-President - South Tahoe Middle School PTA (President 2012 -14 school years)
  • Public Member - Groundwater Management Plan Advisory Committee, South Tahoe Public Utility District
  • Executive Officer - CA Regional Water Quality Control Board, Lahontan Region (Eastern CA including the Lake Tahoe Basin) 1989 – 2012
  • Assistant Division Chief - State Water Resource Control Board 1986 - 1989


Tahoe Area Sierra Club
P.O. Box 16936
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96151


A Tribute to Michael Donahoe

Hi you all, it is a sad time for the Sierra Club - Michael Donahoe, the most energetic, focused, passionate and caring man I've known, who provided more than ten years of leadership to the TASC, has left us for that place out there graced with a perfectly clear deep blue lake surrounded by unspoiled forested mountains.

Michael cared for the Lake as few do - - he helped launch the TASC along with Shannon Raborn and Heidi Hill Drum and proceeded to work hard to protect the lake and the shoreline, expand the TASC, faithfully manned the TASC booth at Farmer's Market at south shore from its inception - rallying people to the cause of protecting the shores and the lake from the TRPA's expansion plan. When TRPA didn't listen, Michael led us into the Shorezone lawsuit against the TRPA, which TASC won.

He worked hard, built relationships with deciders, and strongly opposed a big subdivision near Kingsbury, but the TRPA stacked the hearing schedule, limited testimony from Michael's famous hydrology expert and approved the project. Even after what was a major blow, Michael soldiered on, giving his support and encouragement and advice to all of us, always urging us to work to protect the Lake that he and we love.

I have a large hole in me that will take some time to heal. I will miss Michael's advice and support as the TASC continues his work to protect the natural resources of the Tahoe Basin that we all love.

I'll look for Michael's spirit on our mountain trails……and think about the time we were all granted to experience such a talented and positive man who had a very large following. I think of Michael and his circles of friends, from the nude beach friends to the poker group friends, from an annual large family domino tournament, to a drumming circle, to Burning Man……
Michael did it all, with love and great humor.

Michael is irreplaceable.

November 20, 2014
Laurel Ames



Grace Anderson

Vice Chair
Cindy Ochoa

Conservation Chair

Laurel Ames

Lynne Paulsen

Jerry Yeazell