Letter: BEAR League board member says, ‘We are not making this up’ | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Letter: BEAR League board member says, ‘We are not making this up’

The BEAR League appreciates any time the local press sheds light on issues that hold back our Lake Tahoe Basin community from being a place where coexistence with wildlife in our urban/wild-land environment can be a reality.

In a recent Tahoe Daily Tribune article, the BEAR League was named multiple times and yet the BEAR League’s Executive Director, Ann Bryant, was not contacted for a statement.

As a BEAR League board member and volunteer, I want to take this opportunity to address two points made in the article.

As to the public safety issue, not one person has ever been killed by a wild black bear in California or Nevada. Furthermore, I want to add the BEAR League has never stated that black bears are nothing more than teddy bears.

The BEAR League and our trained responders know very well that black bears are capable of damage if trapped in close quarters with no escape. Our literature reinforces this.

As to Nevada Department of Wildlife’s comments about their relocation program, they are categorically untrue.

For the 10 years prior to 2010, (one year before the bear hunt started as the bear hunt started in 2011) only one bear was moved to this new hunt zone.

From Oct. 26, 2010 to Sept. 16, 2015 (the last date of information on trapping and relocating data we’ve received from public records requests), 27 bears have been relocated from the Tahoe Alpine environment to multiple popular bear hunts units.

We are not making this up. This is the data supplied by NDOW. Last year 50 percent of Tahoe trapped bears were relocated to a hunt zone unit.

As for the killing of bears that NDOW considers “nuisance bears,” why do they more often than not end up being yearlings?

Toogee Sielsch

South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Letter: ‘Please join me in supporting Jason Collin for South Lake Tahoe City Council’

In a crowded field of city council candidates, Jason Collin stands out.

I have known Jason for the past six years. Jason is young, energetic and willing to collaborate with others to get things done. Our city will benefit by someone who has the ability to unite our council leadership, improve the culture of our community and set a positive vision for our community’s future.

I’ve worked with Jason in a variety of team environments. He is the kind of person that you want on your team both as a leader and as a collaborator. Jason leads by example, gives valuable insights and is extremely positive.

Please join me in supporting Jason Collin for South Lake Tahoe City Council.

Ryan Galles

South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Letter: Warm Room better prepared this winter season

I am writing in regards to Sept. 21, 2016 article, “Warm Room still searching for this year’s new location.” Although I don’t doubt Lt. Brian Williams’s statistics, the picture he presented was very different from my experience as a volunteer who worked at the Warm Room at least once a week during last year’s winter season. I found the great majority of guests, who were mostly locals, to be very respectful, grateful, helpful and protective of the volunteers.

Yes, there were some “repeat offenders” who did not obey the rules but they were very much in the minority. Based on our first year’s experience with the Warm Room I believe that we are better prepared to deny admission to such disrespectful people. I do appreciate the continued police support of our efforts. I count among our successes guests who were connected with health and social services, who found jobs during the summer, who went into rehabilitation for drug issues and who helped one another in so many ways after the Warm Room closed. This might not have been possible if they had not felt that their lives mattered to our volunteers.

Bonnie Driscoll

South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Kudos & kindness: Thank you for making Farm Day successful

I would like to thank the many people that helped to make our fourth annual Farm Day an amazing success on Sept. 20! Thank you to AG in the Classroom for providing an outstanding program.

I would like to give special thanks to Camp Richardson for the generous donation of their site, Lake Tahoe Education Foundation for funding, the LTUSD maintenance staff, The Chimayo Street Grill for providing the delicious lunches, and the over 85 incredible presenters and volunteers from both STEEC, South Lake Tahoe and El Dorado — including many FFA (Future Farmers of America) students from Douglas County and El Dorado County.

LTUSD students got to rotate through 28 stations on such topics as forestry, nutrition, water, bees, composting and animals (including a calf, horses, chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep and a turkey). It was a great experience for so many students, and I am extremely grateful for all of the wonderful people who make this possible.

Beth Quandt

LTUSD Science Outreach coordinator

South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

When winning is actually losing; an issue with the local banner ordinance (opinion)

Over 74,000 votes were cast in this year’s Best of Tahoe contest. That’s a lot of votes. That’s a legitimate amount of people letting everyone know who they think is the best on the South Shore when it comes to specific things.

If you are a business who was lucky enough to win, it’s even better. My hat is off to you — congratulations. You should be able to stand on the side of the road and scream out at the top of your lungs that you are the winner. Actually, you can. But what you can’t do is put up a banner letting all the locals and visitors know that you are a winner.

Seems silly, right? Well, this is happening around town to some of our winners this year who have hung banners outside their establishments — and I don’t agree with how it’s being enforced.

Given the ordinance that is put in place against banners being hung in South Lake Tahoe, you either have to hang it in a designated part of town, which there is only one, or you tie it to a “special event” four times a year and hang it for each of those events no more than four days. You can also get a permit and have it fixated to your building, but I’ll get into that later.

Look, I get the idea of trying to keep the town from looking like the back of a van that has an affinity for collecting bumper stickers; but I think these businesses deserve some respect. It’s hard work to keep a business afloat nowadays and, if they can be recognized for being the best at what they do, we should rejoice in that. That’s a special honor for a local business. And while the local community may know about the award, it’s also important for visitors to know who have been deemed the best. Hanging a banner is a great way to do that – and from what I’ve been told, it’s been happening for years now.

I know what you’re saying — why would we give these banners an exemption just because of this? Well, why not? If one of these banners elicits a purchase, does that not help with sales tax? Does it help put a bigger spotlight on a business and open it up for discussion with visitors when they return home? Maybe. Either way, these are good things. They can lead to more good things, too.

While we’re talking about these being an exception, let’s also discuss seeming exemptions all over town for other banners. There is a 2011 award banner that has been up since I started my position here at the Tribune back in March — and it isn’t hung up any differently than those of the businesses told to take theirs down. Another banner I recently saw was tattered and hung up with push pins and thumbtacks — and it has been there since I can even remember. This is only a few of the ones that I have seen.

Why do these banners get overlooked? Is it selective enforcement? Is it being lazy? Either way it doesn’t seem fair.

In talking with the South Lake Tahoe Police Department, which enforces the banner ordinance, they noted that it has been a tough year when it comes to staffing levels. While many of us can relate to not having the staff needed to do the job correctly, we still have to do the job at hand. All of the businesses that were notified to take their banners down could have their signs read from Lake Tahoe Boulevard. This means they were directly seen from the street. Given this, it would seem like the businesses having a location on the main drag gives them a disadvantage on this issue because the time isn’t being taken to enforce this ordinance properly and fairly.

The city does have an option for businesses to take the banners and apply for a permit to put the banner up. However, there are some building restrictions (this is Tahoe, after all) on how the banner can be constructed and mounted to the exterior of the building. If a banner is professionally constructed and hung, I’m not sure what the big difference is there – other than it’s a way to get more money from businesses. I’m not sure if this is a big money maker for the city, but I would venture to guess it’s not much — and there are other places they could look for this amount of revenue.

I’m not out to bring down the hammer on businesses that have banners up. Nor do I want to bash the enforcement. What I want to do is bring attention to this issue. The city should either enforce the ordinance fairly or change it all together.

Maybe this is the next step. There are many ways you can go about the issue of having a banner ordinance while keeping the integrity and look of the town — and while they’re at it, show some love and appreciation for the businesses that win awards like this — because how many times have you heard people in local government say we should celebrate Lake Tahoe and what Lake Tahoe has to offer?

Umm, hello?

Publisher Rob Galloway can be reached at rgalloway@tahoedailytribune.com or 530-542-8046.

Letter: Local businesses punished for success

Yet another example of Tahoe’s local government’s lack of support for local business. Each year the Tribune sponsors Best of Tahoe. The winning businesses are asked to buy banners to promote their victories. Then when the banners are hung, they are fined by our illustrious local government for breaking municipal codes for outdoor signage. Please explain to me how hanging an outdoor banner on the inside of ones business helps promote that business to folks looking to try that restaurant, service or business. If we are trying to promote local business, wouldn’t it make more sense to allow banners for a few weeks (say two to four weeks) to celebrate the best of victory rather than punish that business for its success?

John S. Chambers

South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Letter: Supporting Annie Davidson for school board

I’m writing this letter in support of Annie Davidson’s candidacy for LTUSD school board.

First and foremost, Annie cares deeply about children. Annie’s 20-year career in education began with teaching elementary school in a high-poverty, impacted school in Burlington, Vermont, where all students received free or reduced lunch, and many students were in special education or were second-language learners.

Along the way, Annie earned her Ph.D. in Education Leadership and Policy, and she has worked for or with state departments of education in over 15 states including California and Nevada. She has also collaborated with national organizations such as the American Education Research Association and state assessment consortia. Her educational involvement includes work with: No Child Left Behind; Common Core State Standards; Race to the Top; Next Generation Science Standards; and Re-authorization of Elementary and Secondary Education Act as Every Student Succeeds Act.

Annie and her husband, Matt Lucksinger, are involved in many local community service efforts such as: Classroom volunteer work; Tahoe Parents Nursery School; Lake Tahoe Community College as adjunct faculty; Coaching soccer; Helping with performing arts activities; Advisory Board of the Warm Room; and Tahoe Women’s Community Fund.

Annie currently works as an independent education consultant, and husband Matt is a real estate agent with Lake Valley Properties owned by Matt’s parents Mark and Marti Lucksinger. Matt volunteers as Treasurer of the S.L.T. Rotary Club and he serves on the LTCC Measure F Bond Oversight Committee as well as the Lake Tahoe Education Foundation.

With children aged 5 and 7, Annie and Matt will have a big and long-term stake in our South Lake Tahoe schools for many years to come. I urge you to vote for Annie Davidson for LTUSD school board representing Trustee Area No. 1.

Diane Rosner, Retired LTCC Dean

South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Ban on gun sales to medical pot card holders? (opinion)

The Second Amendment gives citizens “the right to keep and bear arms.”

May that right be taken away because a person with a chronic or debilitating medical condition holds a state Medical Marijuana Registry Card? That, my friends, is the question of the day.

I’ll Take That Pistol Please

S. Rowan Wilson acquired a Nevada Medical Marijuana Registry Card on May 12, 2011. A few months later, on October 4, 2011, Wilson attempted to purchase a firearm from Custom Firearms and Gunsmithing in the small community of Moundhouse, Nevada.

The firearms dealer knew Wilson had a Medical Marijuana Registry Card and refused to sell — pointing out that he had just received an “Open Letter” from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

Per the Open Letter, the dealer could not sell firearms or ammunition to Wilson, “as any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her State has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes, is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance, and is prohibited by Federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.”

A Violation of the Second Amendment

Wilson sued the federal government claiming her First and Second Amendment and due process rights had been violated.

She claimed: (1) she did not use marijuana, and (2) there is an insufficient link to medical marijuana users and crimes and addictions to controlled substances.

Wilson argued medical marijuana users are less likely to commit violent crimes as they often suffer from debilitating illnesses for which medical marijuana may be an effective palliative.

Schedule I Controlled Substance

Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I (One) Controlled Substance and under federal law is deemed to have “no currently accepted medical use in treatment [, and] [t] there is a lack of accepted safety for use of the … substance under medical supervision.”

That is not the view of the State of Nevada and eight other western states, including California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, which issue Medical Marijuana Registry Cards.

Registry Card Holders: Illegal Drug Users

The federal Court of Appeals, in a 3 0 decision, ruled that “individuals whose firearms dealers have reasonable cause to believe are illegal drug users are more likely actually to be illegal drug users (who, in turn, are more likely to be involved with violent crimes”).

I would like to see the evidence of that as to medical marijuana users.

“It is beyond dispute that illegal drug users, including marijuana users, are likely as a consequence of that use to experience altered or impaired mental states that affect their judgment and that can lead to irrational or unpredictable behavior.” Wow. “Congress [made a] reasonable conclusion that the reasonable use of such drugs raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated.”

Indeed, Congress knows all about irrational and unpredictable behavior.

No Firearm for Home Protection

The Court of Appeals ruled against Wilson in her effort to obtain a firearm for home protection determining that federal law classifies marijuana as a Schedule I Controlled Substance which is illegal. If you have a Medical Marijuana Registry Card you probably smoke marijuana, which means you are doing something illegal (under federal law).

“Registry cardholders are more likely to be marijuana users, and illegal drug users, including marijuana users, are more likely to be involved in violent crimes…Accordingly, preventing those individuals who firearm dealers know have registry cards from acquiring firearms furthers the Government’s interest in preventing gun violence.”

Porter’s Take

Given that the use of marijuana under federal law is illegal (while medical marijuana is legal in west coast states), I suppose Congress has the power to pass laws preventing gun ownership to marijuana users, even for medicinal purposes.

It’s the government’s overbroad assertions and the Court’s writing that marijuana users are more likely to be irrational and to commit violent crimes that bothers me.

Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee, Tahoe City and Reno. Jim’s practice areas include: development, construction, business, HOAs, contracts, personal injury, accidents, mediation and other transactional matters. He may be reached at porter@portersimon.com or www.portersimon.com.

Kudos & kindness: Thank you to Barton Memorial Hospital

Barton Memorial Hospital and staff, I am writing to the Tahoe Daily Tribune today to thank all the nurses, technicians, CNAs, medical assistants on the second floor (med. surg.). Special thanks to my surgeon, Dr. Evans, and my general practitioner, Dr. Steven Brooks, and staff.

I was in the hospital 12 days shy of six months. I had five surgeries, and I don’t think I could of gotten better care; I don’t care where I might have gone.

The staff, wound nurses (Karen Wilson and Amy) and every other professional that works at Barton (there are too many to name individually) — thank you, all, for saving my life. I hope the next time I see you will be at the store!

Thanks again,

Karen Oliver

South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Letter: League condemns Placer County approval of Martis Valley West project

The Placer County Board of Supervisors recently voted 4-1 to approve the controversial Martis Valley West proposal.

This is bad news for Lake Tahoe. By approving Martis Valley West, Placer County is consenting to threats to Tahoe for which no solution has been proposed. In their decision, the majority of supervisors ignored the environmental laws California has set up to protect important places like Tahoe. This sets a terrible precedent.

California environmental law is meant to ensure adequate analysis of the negative impacts of proposed development, and requires solutions be implemented to address the impacts that cannot be avoided. No solutions were advanced to address the project’s estimated increases in traffic at Tahoe.

Traffic is one of the most significant sources of pollution threatening the Lake’s clarity. This decision brings us too close to the threshold for car trips in the Tahoe Basin, a figure expressed in vehicle miles traveled. Cumulatively, traffic from the proposals at Martis and Squaw would bring Tahoe within 3 percent of Tahoe’s threshold for vehicle miles traveled.

Future projects located inside the Lake Tahoe Basin may now not be approved because of our nearness to the threshold. This is unfortunate, as Tahoe’s Regional Plan Update would require such in-Basin projects to deliver environmental benefits to Lake Tahoe. Will it become a new norm for area jurisdictions to ignore threats to Tahoe, and pile up development just outside the Lake Tahoe Basin? Organizations such as ours will continue to advocate for Lake-friendly redevelopment and a stronger set of protections for Lake Tahoe.

Darcie Goodman Collins, Ph.D.

League to Save Lake Tahoe Executive Director