This is a response to the letter by Roger Patching of the ‘Friends’ of Lake Tahoe.
Why does a political science professor claim to know more about Tahoe’s environment than actual biologists like me and the scores of scientists who work with the TRPA?
Specifically, the professor fails to address TRPA Executive Director Joanne Marchetta’s central message. This is the message of enlightened environmentalism that acknowledges the requirement to address human needs in order to attain sustainable environmental protection. For Tahoe, this translates into improving old, decrepit, environmentally compromised properties.
Environmental improvements are expensive and cannot be paid for if owners cannot undertake economically viable projects. Are the communities around Tahoe not littered with decaying commercial properties? The main reason property owners can’t make improvements has been opposition from groups like the ‘Friends.’ It’s as if we are in a leaky boat and they nonsensically scream “don’t patch those leaks, it will let water in!” Perhaps “Keep Tahoe Decrepit” should be the mantra.
There is also a human toll to this outdated modus. Without the ability to revitalize, local jobs and residents have fled. That may be fine with the fashion show set (See Sierra Sun Editorial “Keep Tahoe Hypocritical” 7/26/11). Rich lakefront owners that bankroll these organizations don’t need “low life locals.” But is this really about the environment?
No one at TRPA proposes a return to large scale development. To suggest so is dishonest. That, as I am sure the professor is aware, is a tactic known as the “Fallacy of the Straw Man.”
Please support the new environmental enlightenment embraced by the TRPA, and reject the lawsuit-driven, ostensibly well-meaning, but environmentally ignorant, obstructionism of the past. Do not sign the petitions. Do not buy the bumper stickers.