Guest column: Alcohol a weapon of abuse, not just a drug | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Guest column: Alcohol a weapon of abuse, not just a drug

In society, we are inundated with advertisements and daily messages infused into our culture that justify alcohol as acceptable and normal. This substance is glorified as a method to enhance dining experiences, celebrations, entertainment, sporting events and holidays. Alcohol itself is not the problem.

A drink to accompany a meal or celebratory time is a much different choice than to completely dissociate from reality and manipulate others to achieve a "good time."

Children grow up seeing alcohol use as part of being an adult. Alcohol abuse destroys families and contributes to teens having extreme issues building meaningful relationships and having social emotional stability.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), more than 10 percent of U.S. children live with a parent who has alcohol abuse problems. This contributes to excess rates of binge drinking in teens and young adults through the misconception that alcohol is how to handle a Friday night out or a crisis situation.

We are seeing increased rates of alcohol use among teens, which when infused into their habits increases the risk of addiction, harmful decisions and legal consequences. Unfortunately, youth who drink are 7.5 times more likely to use other illegal drugs. We must combat rising rates of drug use and elevate the normalcy of supportive and safe relationships.

February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. One important fact that demands attention is that alcohol is the No. 1 date rape drug. Many do not associate alcohol in the same category as "roofies" and other rohypnol related drugs. However, the truth is that using alcohol to influence sexual interactions is the most common cause of sexual assault and date rape.

Together, Live Violence Free and the South Tahoe Drug Free Coalition are speaking up to raise awareness in our community that alcohol is a prominent factor in incidents of teen dating abuse and non-consensual sexual activity. Just as the term "domestic violence" set a public precedent of the large need to support those abused by intimate partners, the term "date rape" should also serve as lexicon to drive support toward those victimized by sexual assault.

We should not limit the concept of rape to dramatic movie-like assaults of violence perpetrated by a stranger hiding in the bushes. We need to recognize that two-thirds of all sexual assaults are perpetrated by a close acquaintance or partner.

The harmful role of alcohol in these occurrences is often not associated due to the public's acceptance of the substance as less dangerous than other illegal drugs.

California law states that no person can legally consent to sexual activity while under the influence of alcohol. As a result, when alcohol is used as a tactic to progress any relationship to the next level in a sexual manner, it becomes a situation of date rape. A fun night with a boy/girlfriend can easily turn into a traumatizing event.

It is up to us as adults to educate our teens, and remember that alcohol is not exempt from the high-risk threats of all drugs. Often we lose sight that alcohol is a drug in the first place, similar to that of caffeine or coffee. Too much coffee causes the body to express symptoms such as becoming jittery, dizzy, anxious or an increased heart rate. Too much alcohol impacts the brain's memory and ability to make logical decisions.

If we want our teens to form meaningful relationships based on trust, respect and equality, they must be able to make smart decisions. The extreme social pressures to conform, be accepted and deal with life without pain or struggle is compounding the issue of teen substance abuse.

Alcohol is the leading cause of date rape and we must draw this connection. We must have conversations with our youth about boundaries, consent and safe sexual activity beyond birth control and pregnancy. We must make clear that consent is not optional and alcohol removes any and all consent.

Teens are at-risk of many different forms of abuse in their relationships. Beyond common forms of physical and emotional mistreatment, there lies a threat when alcohol is involved. This month, help us increase awareness and be a mentor. Have the conversation with a son/daughter/teenager to teach them that their choices and consent matter.

It is time we broaden our scope of respect and be real about establishing "real-ationships" of integrity and trust.

Hannah Greenstreet is a community advocate at Live Violence Free and the student advocate at South Tahoe Middle School. She works directly with young people and community-based organizations to address necessary at-risk interventions to help youth be more personally, academically and socially successful. She can be reached at hgreenstreet@liveviolencefree.org.

Ask Tahoe Tessie: When should I put chains on my tires?

Dear Tessie,

I recently moved here from a place that does not get as much snow. I don't want to buy snow tires (too expensive), but I'm unsure when I should have my chains on and when I should take them off. Any advice?

Sincerely,

New Guy in Town

Listen here, new guy. Perception goes a long way in Tahoe — I should know, I've lived here for 1,000 years — and you're never going to be perceived as a local if you're tooling around town with chains on. Want to know how I know that? Because today on your way to Safeway you were passed by no less than eight people who all had their windows rolled down yelling, "Take your chains off, tourist!"

Now, first thing you need to do is sell your car and use that money to purchase an all-wheel-drive vehicle. However, you'll quickly find out that in Tahoe the price of a 1980's Subaru with 300,000 miles on it and rust holes the size of basketballs is about the same as a lake-front mansion.

So first things first, save some money by traveling to Texas where Subarus are about as useful as a one-legged man in a butt-kicking competition. Buy that Subaru for pennies on the Tahoe dollar and drive it back up. Now you're thinking to yourself, "Awesome, now I have a car!" Wrong. Sell that puppy for a sweet profit and go back to Texas and do it again. Congratulations! Now you're a used car salesman smuggling Subarus across state lines like Burt Reynolds in "Smokey and the Bandit."

Now while you're at it go shop at Grocery Outlet like a real local, even if it means substituting BBQ Beans on your homemade burrito because they just sold out of that bulk shipment of refried beans they got last week.

Dear Tessie,

I was recently challenged to hop into the lake (fully immersed). I'm scared hypothermia or death could be the result. What should I do?

Sincerely,

The Shrivel is Real

Though my gut reaction is to say, "MAN UP" I know that not everyone has what it takes to survive in Big Blue (and given the amount of complaining I see on Facebook about the snow storms, it seems like half the population of South Lake Tahoe can't handle living around it either). I digress.

After crushing a thirty-rack of PBR and a handle of Fireball with your bros, hopping out of the hot tub and into the lake might sound like a great idea. And it is — for most of us — but for you, probably not, especially since you're already being a huge pansy about it.

(Oh, and also because I don't want your family to slap me with a lawsuit when this goes awry.)

Water temps are in the 50s right now and the last thing I want to do is have to swim by you as you're going into "cold water shock" — trust me, it's a thing. Just ask those dudes at the Coast Guard who keep trying to track me down.

Do yourself a favor. Tell your buddies to back off, grab another cold one, and stay out of my water this winter (unless you've got your life together enough to own a wetsuit.) Tessie out.

Tahoe Tessie is a humorous take on the standard advice column. It is produced by the Tribune staff, and it is not meant to be taken literally. Have a question you want to ask Tessie? Send it to tahoetessie@tahoedailytribune.com.

Tahoe Brew: Winning friends and influencing people with beer

According to the Bible, one of Jesus' first miracles was to turn water into wine. According to me, it must have really been beer.

In the story, this was at the prompting of his mother, and was during a very social event: a wedding. The Bible also makes sure to mention that the wine Jesus made was the best that was served during the entire event, and, in case you wondered, wedding feasts in those days could involve entire villages and last for days.

Jesus must have had quite the reputation after that party. I mean, given the choice, what would you rather be able to do: walk on water, or start a party with a few Sparkletts bottles?

Despite science explaining some of the mystery of fermentation, alcohol still is intertwined with social events in our society. Evolving from the Latin tabernae in the Roman-British kingdoms of the first through fifth centuries BCE where travelers would stop to obtain refreshments and get the lay of the land, the pubs, alehouses and taprooms of today still serve up two great tastes that taste great together: beer and conversation.

I decided to investigate one example of the social catalyst that beer can be. For that, I looked to Eliot Landrum, and South Lake Tahoe Craft Beer Meetup, an informal organization that he created to enjoy the quality beer bars, and quality people who make Tahoe their home. While he wasn't busy preparing for the latest flood, Eliot was kind enough to answer some questions about himself and the events that he organizes. What follows is my interview.

Nathan Bergner: What brought you to Tahoe, and where are you from (if not here)? Besides beer, what other hobbies do you have?

Eliot Landrum: I moved from Dallas, Texas, a little over two years ago. I work remotely and wanted to live in a mountain town with skiing, and Tahoe met a lot of my wishes. At the time, I worked for a manufacturing automation company in St. Louis, but now I work for a startup in Reno. I've always loved road biking, but since I've moved here, I have really enjoyed mountain biking. Last summer I also got really good at hanging out at the beach!

NB: How do you define craft beer? How is it different from other beer?

EL: The Brewers Association has an official designation for what makes a craft brewer that focuses on brewery size, independence, and traditional beer ingredients. I agree with their definition and like that they continue to update it to keep the spirit of an independent, small brewer. With a lot of mergers and acquisitions from the big mass producers, it's getting harder for the average beer drinker to know what is actually a craft beer anymore (which is an intentional market move by the big conglomerates to push independent brewers off the tap handles). The official definition can be found here: http://www.brewersassociation.org/statistics/craft-brewer-defined/.

NB: What got you interested in craft beer? What is your go to "gateway" beer for the uninitiated?

EL: I've always really liked that craft beer drinkers were typically focused on enjoying a flavorful, well-made beverage instead of simply getting drunk. I also love that there's so much history and passion behind the creation of this drink, yet at the same time, craft brewers are stretching the limits and experimenting with it all the time. Watching so many entrepreneurs succeed with craft beer is exciting as well.

For people who haven't had a lot of craft beers, I suggest a session IPA as a good starter craft beer. Session IPAs have good flavor, while keeping the alcohol content (ABV) and bitterness low. Stone's Go to IPA and Firestone Easy Jack are two that I like. For people who like ciders, I like to challenge them a bit and see if they might like a sour beer like New Belgium's annual La Folie release or one from Anderson Valley's gose series.

NB: What is your favorite place in Tahoe to drink a beer? Why?

EL: Alibi Ale Works in Incline is my favorite spot by far. Kevin and Rich, the owners, have turned an old auto parts store into a beautiful, communal space with a modern Nordic feel. They've always got a big list of new beers rotating around, and everyone there is focused on the beer and conversations and games with their friends — not TVs.

NB: What is your favorite Tahoe crafted beer for winter time?

EL: Winter time always calls for porters and stouts, and Sidellis does a really nice porter called Petey's Porter. Whenever they have Sticky Fingers Imperial Stout on, I make sure to grab a pour of that one too.

NB: What beer related thing are you most looking forward to in Tahoe this year?

EL: There's a lot of great things happening this year! It's so exciting to see more people invest in the Tahoe craft beer scene after many years of stagnation. I'm really looking forward to spending a lot of time at South Lake Brewing Company that is coming in past the Y. They're really hitting a lot of things right, and I'm excited for their opening. Alibi Ale is opening up a new space in Truckee with food, a stage for live music, and even more room for them to experiment with brews. I've been surprised at the lack of decent tap houses in the area, so I'm excited to be seeing Lake Tahoe AleWorX (SLT) and Brewforia (Incline) opening within the next few months.

NB: What is South Lake Tahoe Craft Beer Meetup? Who started it? When? Why?

EL: The South Lake Tahoe Craft Beer Meetup is a way for people to connect over a pint of good beer! I started the Meetup not long after I moved here because I found it hard to meet people. I figured it'd be fun just to see if anyone wants to hang out and have a beer. The first few Meetups were a bit nerve-racking because I would sit with a little sign having a beer by myself until someone came out. It didn't take long, though, to gather a crew of regulars, and now we have over 350 members and every Meetup has about 30-40 people showing up.

This last December, we partnered with The Coachman Hotel to have a second anniversary party for the Meetup. We packed the place out, drank 30 gallons of beer, raffled off 32 sweet prizes from local businesses, and raised $2,400 for Bread & Broth, a local nonprofit soup kitchen. It was incredible to see local businesses and our Meetup come together to raise tangible support for such a good cause.

NB: How often are Meetups?

EL: Depending on my schedule, I try to do them about every other week. I usually schedule them on weekdays when bars and restaurants have less people.

NB: How many people attend the Meetups? Is it strictly locals? What type of people usually attend?

EL: Every time we have a Meetup there are people new to town that are looking for community. We have singles and couples come, and occasionally some families. The age range is all over the map, with people from 22 to 60. I love how good beer can bring people together from so many backgrounds!

NB: What events do you have scheduled for this month?

EL: This month is a little bit unusual as I wanted to branch out of our normal a bit. We'll be hitting up Basecamp Beer Garden for their Wednesday trivia, and we're also doing a "Paint & Sip" party at the studio at the Ski Run Marina. We usually have Meetups at Chimayo, Sidellis, and The Coachman Hotel.

NB: How do people sign up for the Meetups or get involved?

EL: The best way is to join us is on http://www.meetup.com/SLT-Craft-Beer/. Meetup.com is great about emailing you when a new event is posted and reminding you when it is coming up. We also have a Facebook group where I cross-post the events as well: http://www.facebook.com/groups/SLTCraftBeer/. Whichever way is easiest. We are 100 percent free to join and attend. Just tip the bartenders well!

NB: Is there a beer education component of the Meetups or is it just social?

EL: We occasionally do bottle shares at The Tahoe Mountain Lab where I'll focus on a style or type of beer. Those are pretty fun, but a little more time intensive for me to organize. For our regular events, it's really about the social aspect and connecting people. I'm always amazed at the conversations that get started at each Meetup — people plan hiking trips, backcountry skiing, kayaking, or just some runs at Heavenly.

Thank you, Eliot, for continuing the storied tradition of craft beer in our sometimes closed town. And for all you readers out there, the next time you want to go drink a craft beer and talk to some interesting people, give South Tahoe Craft Beer Meetup a chance. They might not be able to do it instantaneously, but I bet you'll find someone there who can turn water into beer.

Nathan Bergner is a South Lake Tahoe resident, local business owner and fan of beer.

Jim Porter: Noncompetition clauses illegal in California (opinion)

If your business makes employees, franchisees or anyone else sign a noncompetition clause — preventing them from competing with your business after they leave — you better read this Law Review.

Noncompetition clauses are fairly common, but be forewarned as this Court of Appeal wrote, "Covenants not to compete are, with limited exceptions, illegal under California law."

U-HAUL

U-Haul signed a dealer contract with Leigh Robinson in Fairfield, California, where Robinson agreed he would rent U-Haul vehicles and equipment at his facility and the parties would share the rental income. U-Haul agreed to advertise Robinson's U-Haul rental location in the Yellow Pages. You remember them, right?

Here is where the problem starts. U-Haul's standard dealer contract includes a "Noncompetition Covenant" prohibiting Robinson from competing with U-Haul by working with competitors while the Yellow Page ad remained in print.

For five years the business arrangement worked splendidly, but ended when Robinson sent a letter to U-Haul terminating their dealer contract. A few days later he opened a Budget Rental Truck dealership at his location. U-Haul wrote a letter threatening to enforce the noncompetition language and prevent Robinson from competing, then sued Robinson for violating the covenant.

CONTRACT TO MISLEAD PEOPLE

Two lawsuits and counter lawsuits later, the trial court ruled, coming down hard on U-Haul:

"First off, the clause is void and unenforceable as a matter of law. Business and Professions Code Section 16600 … predated these events herein by many, many years. Their only reason to put a void contract clause in a contract is to mislead people … you do that so that you can cause somebody to think that that clause is, in fact, valid when it isn't. So it is void and unenforceable as a matter of law."

Take away point: If you are using noncompetition clauses in your contracts, make sure they are enforceable or you risk getting sued.

U-HAUL SUED FOR ITS NONCOMPETITION CLAUSE

Robinson, perhaps emboldened by the trial court ruling, sued U-Haul and presented evidence of four other lawsuits that had been filed in California by U-Haul against its former dealers attempting to enforce the (illegal) noncompetition covenant.

In the end, U-Haul's noncompetition covenant was ruled unenforceable. U-Haul was ordered to pay $834,000 for Robinson's attorney's fees under what is known as the private attorney general doctrine.

A court may award attorney's fees to a successful party who enforces an important right "affecting the public interest," not just their own case.

The Court of Appeal found Robinson had enforced "an important right affecting the public interest, insofar as it furthered the strong California public policy in favor of free markets and against restraint of trade … a significant benefit … on the general public."

NONCOMPETE SOMETIMES LEGAL

The most common circumstances when a noncompetition clause can be legal include: On the sale of a business or on the dissolution of a partnership or limited liability company.

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

Guest column: South Lake Tahoe Warm Room an example of community collaboration

Less than two years ago, I had an amazing opportunity to learn about an idea in our community. This nascent concept was to ensure human dignity for our vulnerable neighbors with insufficient housing.

This conversation soon grew and reached over a hundred individuals on our South Shore community as the Tahoe Coalition for the Homeless (TCH) and its Warm Room project were born. Then, the newly formed board understood what I learned about in that first conversation: With partners and with energy we could make a difference in our community.

This first goal of ensuring human dignity soon grew beyond this first-level, yet imperative, objective to include providing safety and services and even to work toward longer term and lasting solutions. As the coalition formed and brought together people from different walks of life, there was a growing sense of community. It has been through relationships formed between different faith groups, among people from different professional and occupational circles and by linking the private concerned citizens together with the public entities at the city and the county that success has been achieved.

As a member of the advisory council of the Tahoe Coalition for the Homeless, I was invited to a conversation with Councilmember Wendy David, Police Chief Brian Uhler and TCH board member Nicole Zaborsky. Learning even more about the relationships that have been created along the way, I heard first-hand about the shared outcomes the city holds together with the coalition.

It is because of this commonality that partnership is not only possible, but continues to be effective. Hearing both Chief Uhler and Councilmember David express a clear concern for everyone's human dignity, that the coalition, together with the city, the county and the police department (and others) can work to ensure better safety and access to services was up-lifting.

This shared vision of a community working together to provide for people who are homeless, in need of quality services and most of all a sense of connection, continues to make the Warm Room project a great success. There is no doubt that challenges exist on a daily basis. Yet, through the partnerships, the shared outcomes and a bit of hope, so much is still possible.

I am grateful to continue to be a part of the TCH's work and the Warm Room project. I also want to offer thanks to Chief Uhler and the City Council for their constant support. The South Lake Tahoe Police Department's partnership has been made possible by the many key players at the department. From the officers to the office staff, from the dispatchers to those keeping records and all serving and ensuring the public safety in our community, we are grateful for their shared commitment.

As a rabbi in this community, I am reminded of the prophetic call from the Book of Isaiah (58:7), that we are charged to bring shelter to the cast down poor. As we embrace this year, 2017, and the second year of the Warm Room project, it is my sincere hope that through this work our entire community is strengthened in part by knowing the innumerable ways we can all work together. Working as public servants, as private citizens, as local businesses and beyond, toward our shared outcomes impacts our entire community positively. Just as that conversation less than two years ago became a reality, we all know that it only takes this the first step!

As a member of the advisory council, I would like to also extend the invitation to the whole community at our open house event honoring Councilmember David on Wednesday, Feb. 22, from 4 to 6 p.m. The entire community is invited to join us at our Warm Room, located at 2179 Lake Tahoe Blvd. Together we can all make a difference in helping members of our community who need our support and continue building meaningful and lasting partnerships. More information is available at tahoehomeless.org/ and by contacting tahoewarmroom@gmail.com.

Evon Yakar has served as a rabbi at Temple Bat Yam: The South Lake Tahoe and Carson Valley Jewish Community since 2011.

Guest column: Fond memories of the Tahoe Queen

I'll always remember that exciting day in May in the late 1980s.

It was Memorial Day, and I was aboard the press boat that was accompanying the Tahoe Queen and Dixie II paddlewheel tour boats speeding across Lake Tahoe on their annual Great Lake Tahoe Sternwheeler race.

I forget which vessel won that contest nearly 28 years ago. One year, the winner would be the Dixie. The Tahoe Queen would be victorious the next. It was great fun watching the two grand dames of the lake rush across the blue waters of Lake Tahoe as the more than 300 passengers aboard each boat, together with hundreds more lining the shore, cried out encouragements for their favorite entries.

When the race ended and our press boat docked at Zephyr Cove on the lake's Nevada side, I drove back to Fallon to have my color film developed at Safeway. There were no digital cameras in those days. Two or three of my photos plus my story about the race appeared on the feature page of the Lahontan Valley News & Fallon Eagle-Standard the next day. We were a daily newspaper back then.

Alas, that yearly Tahoe Queen-Dixie Memorial Day race will be held no more.

Six months ago – on Aug. 16, 2016 – the 144-foot Tahoe Queen caught fire at about 8 a.m. while undergoing renovations at its berth at Zephyr Cove.

The boat, which had cruised Lake Tahoe for 33 years, was immediately consumed in flames. Eric Guevin, fire marshal of the Tahoe-Douglas Fire Protection District, said the first responders, from his department and the U.S. Coast Guard Station on the lake's west side, were faced with "a lot of heavy fire and smoke. The boat was like a steel oven."

It took firefighters nearly an hour to control and extinguish the fire, which heavily damaged two of the boat's three decks. A member of the team renovating the vessel suffered a sprained back when he jumped from the top deck to escape the flames.

Another worker suffered smoke inhalation. Both were treated at the scene and refused further care, reported the Associated Press. Flames could be seen from U.S. 50 along the forested shoreline and smoke was visible for miles away from the lake.

"From the cabins and windows, there were flames shooting out," said a trail guide at the nearby Zephyr Cove stables who was quoted in the Tahoe Daily Tribune.

The cause of the fire is believed to have come from workers using welding torches. The Coast Guard is expected to positively identify the cause later this year.

Both the Tahoe Queen and Dixie have had unique and somewhat similar histories.

The Tahoe Queen, built at a shipyard in La Crosse, Wisc., was hauled across the country in 16 truck loads to Lake Tahoe, where it was reassembled and launched from the Tahoe Keys Marina in 1983. It served continually as a tour boat on the lake until the devastating fire six months ago.

The Dixie, which was three feet shorter than the 144-foot Tahoe Queen, was built in 1927 at a Mississippi River shipyard and initially carried cargo on that river and the Red River in Texas. In the late 1940s, she was carved up into 15 sections which were sent by rail to Reno and then trucked to Lake Tahoe, where they were reassembled and the boat was placed into service as a cruise vessel.

In late 1949, the Dixie mysteriously sank, but was raised and then spent five years as a floating office and warehouse for a real estate business. In the early 1950s, new owners overhauled the Dixie and once again it became a tour boat, which it remains today.

But what has happened to the Tahoe Queen since its disastrous fire in mid-August of 2016?

Last September, about a month after the fire, Ludie and I, while spending several days at South Lake Tahoe, drove over to Zephyr Cove to cruise the lake aboard the Dixie.

Tied up at the pier next to the Dixie was the Tahoe Queen! What a sad, pathetic and terrible sight it was. The cabins and decks were blackened and damaged by the fire and a half-dozen workmen were attempting to clean up the ravaged boat.

But they weren't making much headway. When I asked one of the men what was going on, he replied, "All I know is that the owners want to fix up the boat and return it to the cruise run on the lake."

But that was not to happen.

Early last month, the Tahoe Queen's owners declared the boat was not salvageable and it soon would be broken up into scrap.

"Unfortunately, the Tahoe Queen was damaged beyond repair, and we have decided to remove the vessel from the water so it can be safely dismantled," said David Freireich of Aramark, the company that owned and operated the Tahoe Queen.

He added that Aramark "intends to eventually replace the Tahoe Queen with another boat. A timetable has not yet been established for doing so," he told the Tahoe Daily Tribune.

Two other boats still remain in Aramark's Lake Tahoe Cruises fleet … the Dixie and the 82-foot luxury yacht Tahoe Paradise, both of which are homeported at the Zephyr Cove Marina.

Before we embarked on our recent lake cruise aboard the Dixie, Ludie and I viewed the scarred Tahoe Queen when it was tied up to a pier.

I took photos of the burned-out boat, and they are undoubtedly some of the the last pictures taken of the vessel before its dismantling and scrapping.

David C. Henley is publisher emeritus of the Lahontan Valley News and Fallon Eagle-Standard. The LVN is a sister newspaper of the Tahoe Daily Tribune, serving the Nevada cities of Fallon and Fernley.

Jim Porter: 10-day waiting period for gun purchases upheld (opinion)

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

That's the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

10-Day Waiting Period

That harmless little sentence seems pretty clear, right? Or not.

California has a 10-day waiting period for would-be gun purchasers. The 10 days gives the State time to check into the background of the buyer and gives the buyer a cooling off period that may prevent impulsive violence or suicide.

Second Gun Purchase

The 10-day waiting period has been upheld by the courts.

The question in our case, Silvester v. Kamala D. Harris (former California Attorney General), is whether California violated the Constitution by requiring a person who has previously purchased a firearm or who already has a permit to carry a concealed weapon (CWP), is still required to wait the full 10 days if they clear the background check in less than 10 days.

In other words, why should someone who already owns a gun or has a CWP have to wait 10 days?

Challenge All Gun Laws

The federal trial judge agreed with the pro-gun Plaintiffs saying the 10-day wait period was a violation of the Plaintiffs' Second Amendment Rights.

The Plaintiffs concede that even for a second gun purchase or even if the would-be buyer has a CWP, they must wait for approval by the California Bureau of Firearms (BOF) for their background check, but if that's completed in less than 10 days, they want their gun. No more waiting around.

As the Court of Appeals wrote, "Plaintiffs do not seek instant gratification of their desire to purchase a weapon, but they do seek gratification as soon as they have passed the BOF background check."

The point here is not so much that Plaintiff Jeff Silvester wanted that gun as soon as he could get his hands on it, but he and other gun advocates want to challenge gun laws at every opportunity.

Supreme Court Heller Decision

In the Heller decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the right of self defense in the home is central to the purpose of the Second Amendment, but cautioned that Second Amendment rights are "not unlimited."

"Laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms…could be valid."

California's Waiting Period Laws

California has had a waiting period law for firearm purchases continuously since 1923. The purpose is to allow time for law enforcement to complete a background check and also to provide a "cooling off" period. The 1923 law barred delivery of a pistol on the day of purchase. That was extended to five days in 1965, then to 15 days in 1975.

In 1991, California expanded the waiting period to cover all firearms. With a switch to an electronic data base system, California reduced the waiting period from 15 days to 10 days in 1996.

Cooling Off Period

The federal Court of Appeals determined that the 10 day waiting period does not place a substantial burden on a Second Amendment right to purchase a firearm. The waiting period meets the objective of promoting safety and reducing gun violence.

"The waiting period provides not only for a background check, but also for a cooling-off period to deter violence resulting from impulsive purchasers of firearms." I'm not sure that rationale applies to someone who already owns a gun.

King Trump

This case is surely heading to the U.S. Supreme Court who by all accounts will soon have a conservative new justice appointed by King Trump. Fair chance California's second gun purchase waiting period will not be upheld.

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 http://www.portersimon.com.

It’s not all negative with VHRs

Editor's note: These remarks were originally shared as testimony at a public meeting. The following guest column was submitted in the form of an open letter to South Lake Tahoe elected city officials and city staff.

My name is Jerry Williams. I am a 36-year local resident, husband, father, grandfather, Realtor and property manager in South Lake Tahoe. I wanted to take a moment to address the prevailing, negative and detrimental sentiments that currently surround Vacation Home Rentals (VHRs) in our community.

We, who live here, reside among homes that are VHRs, and that has been a reality long before the city officially incorporated some 51 years ago.

In the recent past, VHRs have become the most polarizing issue in our community. My goal in writing this letter is to request and encourage that City Council and staff share with the public the many benefits VHRs provide to this community.

The No. 1 industry in South Lake Tahoe today is tourism. VHRs provide accommodations for visitors. The popularity and demand for VHRs and home sharing is being fueled by consumers looking for a vacation experience they can't get at a hotel.

According to the city, VHRs bring in one-third of the total TOT (Temporary Occupancy Tax) — minus Redevelopment Agency TOT — and TID (Tourist Income District) income. The 2015-16 total unaudited TOT — minus RDA TOT — was $9.7 million. TID revenue was nearly $2.7 million for the same time frame.

With roughly 1,150 VHRs (outside of tourist corridors), VHR permit fees generated $540,248 in 2015-16. Add in application and inspection fees at $545 and $133, that's another $285,244 deposited into city coffers for fiscal year 2015-16.

Where does all of this money go? Much of it is funneled into the city's general fund, which provides for our city's infrastructure an includes vital services such as: police and fire protection; street maintenance; including snow removal; parks and recreation; and general administration.

The city multiplier suggests that all of those TOT dollars translate to $20 million going into the local economy, once ancillary businesses are paid (management, maintenance, cleaning, etc); they pay their employees' wages, employees spend money on groceries and gas — and it goes on and on.

Local businesses benefit with more visitors spending money.

EMPLOYMENT

There are jobs, jobs and more jobs directly and indirectly tied to VHRs and the visitors they bring. Direct employment includes:

Housekeeping

Laundry and linen services

Maintenance and handy people

Snow removal services

Reservations

Office administrative staff

IT people and marketing specialist

Licensed contractors

Plumbing and heating

Electricians

Landscapers

Paving and excavators

Indirect impact on jobs and local employers

These employees and business owners are directly impacted by the money spent by VHR guests:

Restaurants and bars — managers, servers, bartenders, dishwashers …

Rental companies — sales people, attendants for boats, wave runners, kayaks, paddle boards, skis/boards, boots, poles, bicycles and more

Retail stores and shops, large and small,

Grocery stores — management, checkers, stockers, customer service

These local employees then spend money at virtually every business in town; such as hardware stores, auto parts stores, grocery stores, local shops, mini marts, gas stations, bars and restaurants, and that list goes on and on. These local residents — whether they own or rent their home — pay taxes, they have children in our schools, they visit doctors, dentists and emergency clinics, etc.

In February 2016, the council adopted a new Recreation Master Plan. Bravo to the council for something that is much anticipated and will be an absolutely fantastic addition to our community.

In November 2016, Measure P was passed. This was a 2-percent increase in TOT that is to be utilized specifically for this new recreation complex. This is potentially millions each year that will go toward building and maintaining the complex — more jobs and more revenue. And VHRs, contributing one-third of the TOT, are a huge contributor to this wonderful benefit for residents and visitors alike.

VHRs are not without their own set of concerns and issues, to be sure. I fully support efforts to address problems, increase enforcement, and continue to work toward finding solutions so that the city is empowered and able to effectively resolve our local residents' issues and concerns. However, concerns seem to be really the only component of VHRs that is ever highlighted or discussed.

In conclusion, this is a request to council and staff: When VHRs are a topic of discussion — on the agenda, when staff reports are compiled, posted on websites and presented at council meetings — the beneficial, positive and vital impact and role that VHRs play in our community should be highlighted and emphasized, so that we all get a more balanced view.

Jerry Williams is the property management committee chair with the South Tahoe Association of Realtors.

Letter: Dig out your fire hydrants at Lake Tahoe

Many of us would like to thank the plow drivers for clearing our streets during the period of heavy snow. The side berms were very tall and it made digging out the fire hydrants difficult. It got me to wonder if any owners of VHRs or tourists or rental companies dug out the hydrant near their rental property?

Jerry Goodman

South Lake Tahoe, California

Letter: Controversies surrounding dry needling

Dear Tahoe Tribune,

We are writing in response to Autumn Whitney's Jan. 18 article about the growth of the new physical therapy business KinesioActiv in Zephyr Cove. Among the services offered there is dry needling. We thought it fair to let your readers know about the controversies that surround dry needling.

There are currently no specifications as to training or proficiency standards issued by the Nevada State Board of Physical Therapy for a physical therapist to perform dry needling. It is not in any way currently regulated or overseen by the board. It is up to individual practitioners to decide if they are sufficiently trained.

Physical therapy degree training programs do not teach dry needling. The training most physical therapists receive is as little as a weekend seminar in order to receive a "certificate" in dry needling from the training company, Kinetacore.

I'll repeat: A certificate in dry needling is gotten for 10 hours of online instruction and 19 hours at a seminar.

As the article indicated, dry needling is much like acupuncture because practitioners use acupuncture needles inserted into acupuncture points. However, they have changed the nomenclature of this practice and turned "acupuncture" into "dry needling," "acupuncture points" into "trigger points," and they say that it is a different procedure because the concept is based on Western medicine instead of Eastern medicine.

In reality, it is in its practice identical to orthopedic acupuncture. What is very different is that an acupuncture doctor in this state is required to attend a four-year graduate school program after obtaining a bachelor's degree, pass two very stringent licensing examinations, and maintain licensure with yearly proof of continuing education attendance. To claim to do "dry needling," a physical therapist is supposed to take a weekend course, but there is no current enforcement of even that.

Just a few miles away in California, it is illegal for a physical therapist to perform dry needling, as there they recognize that it is in every way orthopedic acupuncture, and the standards there (like here in Nevada) to perform therapeutic needling safely and effectively are established in state law. In California those state laws protecting public safety can't be evaded by a simple changing of what we call the procedure.

We would argue that if physical therapists are using the same tools in the same manner for the same purpose, but merely changing the name from acupuncture to dry needling and claiming a different explanation of why it works (which, by the way, is one of the same explanations as is taught in acupuncture colleges across the nation), they should be held to the same rigorous standards and oversight.

Currently in Nevada they are not. And members of the public who will be making healthcare decisions for themselves have a right to know.

Dr. Sharon Roth, OMD, L.Ac.

Dr. Katania Taylor, OMD