The city of South Lake Tahoe airport is starting to brew some controversy as the 20-year settlement agreement comes to an end. While I don't know if commercial service is feasible or not, I do believe that the airport is a good thing. In many communities, commercial or general aviation is seen as a plus. The airport does contribute to the local economy and does provide a level of safety that is sorely needed and, given the economic situation of the South Shore, every asset available needs to be used to improve the economy. Imagine if we had listened to the elite environmental community and did not have the airport available for the Angora Fire; what the devastation, as bad as it was, could have been. The issue of decibels is slowly fading as new technology is making airplanes quieter. I believe the 80-decibel level advocated by the TRPA has no basis in fact and was developed by employees with a personal bias against the airport - the 80-decibel number was picked because no technology at the time could reach it. The other issue that needs to be resolved is who actually has jurisdiction of the airport. In my opinion it would be in the city's interest to work to have the TRPA and the Federal Aviation Association settle the issue in court.
Celebrity golf was here last week completing its 23rd year and attracting more than 40,000 attendees. Given our celebrity-driven culture, this event may be more timely than ever. The event does a good job of showcasing the area as well - there are lots of locals who check the event out. One of the best changes in the event has been the financial donation to the local community; last year it was more than $100,000 that was distributed to local charities. While that donation is welcome, it would be great if we could see more as we have plenty of needs.
It's interesting to see users of public lands begin to push back against federal and state agencies and the mainstream environmental groups trying to impose their vision of public lands on everyone else. The Pacific Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit on behalf of six organizations against the Forest Service's 2005 Tahoe National Forest Motorized Travel Management Project. Locally, mountain bikers, snowmobilers, etc., are out in force regarding the proposed draft forest service plan to ensure their access. This is as it should be.
Marijuana dispensaries are still in the news. Ugh.
California's proposed tax increase. As you have probably read by now, the state of California's budget is so bad that the governor is calling for a temporary tax increase. But the way he is positioning to the voters is interesting and disingenuous. (What's new with a politician that needs more money?) Gov. Jerry Brown has focused his efforts and message on raising taxes on the rich (income over $250,000) which has a populist appeal. But what you don't here is that he is also proposing a half-cent sales tax - that part you don't hear him talk about much. In recent polls, the measure has 56 percent support, but it's a long way to November. We shall see.
Is a driving tax in your future? The Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments is studying the potential of a Vehicle Miles Traveled tax that would be assessed when you drive within the nine-county Bay Area. You would have to have a GPS device fitted into your car that would determine how many miles you drive daily and you would be taxed based on that amount. Think about this all over California, with different rates, the "Big Brother" implications, etc. A nightmare for sure.
If you haven't yet try the farmers markets, they put out some great fresh regional produce. The South Shore now has three markets Tuesdays and Fridays. There really is a difference between a tomato you can get there and one from the grocery store.
Bring your barbecue and cooler to Lakeview Commons in the evening. It's the best on-the-water dining spot on the South Shore.
"Citius, Altius, Fortius." These three Latin words mean "Swifter, Higher, Stronger." They also mean the Summer Olympics are here. Get ready to enjoy some of the most incredible sports events and stories with the greatest athletes in the world. Sometime during the events we will learn about the tremendous character and courage of some of these athletes, inspiring for all. I'll be on Olympic overload.
- Carl Ribaudo is a contributing columnist to the Tahoe Daily Tribune. He is also a consultant, speaker and writer who lives in South Shore. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.