It great to hear the City of South Lake Tahoe finally talking about growing the economy. The discussion should have started 10 years ago, but better late than never. To the city's credit, it has identified recreation as a place to grow the local economy and now it is looking to make the policy changes that are needed to support those efforts. The recession and competition have devastated the local economy with, up until this point, the city and local agencies paying only lip service. The impact of a poor local economy goes far beyond local tax revenues. What about the impact to women, minorities and young adults? When the economy slows or underperforms because of excessive regulation, it is these groups that primarily suffer the most.
It feels different in town this summer with the success of Lakeview Commons and our farmers market. It's starting to feel like what other communities have and do on a regular basis. The city should have long ago facilitated these kinds of events and activities for the local community. But now that they're here, I hope we see more of them.
I recently saw a sticker on a car with the following: "Keep West Shore the Best Shore." There is an element on the West Shore that has their noses so stuck up in the air it's unbelievable. It's unfortunate this elitist view has so long dominated here at the lake - no matter if it's the League to Save Lake Tahoe's Oscar de Renta fashion show fundraiser or an elitist sticker; it reflects an elitist mindset that is so detached from the challenges at hand.
Local elections are coming up. It appears that there are five people running for election. It would be great if we had some real debates, not the one-minute polite responses we often see from candidates, but a format that would really allow candidates to get into it. Also it would be great if people would actually get out and vote. There is so much criticism of the City Council, but election after election very few who can vote in the election often do.
It appears that the TRPA Regional Plan Update is moving forward; significant challenges remain and final agreement may still find its way through the courts. What is clear is that Nevada's threat to withdraw from the TRPA Compact through SB 271 caught the attention of California and has created an urgency that frankly would not exist without it. That same urgency needs to continue as the process moves forward. There is no reason that this community cannot have a built infrastructure that works and people are proud of and be able to protect lake clarity at the same time.
Who would have ever thought the California Legislature would consider updates to the California Environmental Quality Act? But that is, in fact, what is happening. Enacted more than 40 years ago, the law had good intentions but, since then, it has been misused - whether it's unions threatening to tie up a good project unless concessions are made; businesses using the law to thwart competitive businesses; or the myriads of lawyers and that oppose a project simply to extract money for their threatened lawsuit to go away. This modernization is long overdue.
Maybe, just maybe, some changes in the presidential election as we head into the home stretch? As the election moves past Labor Day let's hope the American people can get the discussion we need on the big issues that impact our country. I don't care about the president's birth certificate or about Romney's taxes, but what and I many Americans do care about are issues like the economy, healthcare, education and job training and more. Enough of the attacks by both sides, get to the issues.
If you are cruising down Highway 395 this fall, one of the most popular places to stop is Shotz Bakery in Bishop and, while many people stop for the wonderful bread, be sure to try the turkey soup. It's incredible. I often get some to go and pull off the road and enjoy it with one of the wonderful views the Eastern Sierra has to offer.
This opinion piece is dedicated to my mother, Sondra Lee Perlmutter, who passed away Friday, Aug. 17. After battling challenging health issues for the last number of years, my mother rests in the shade of the Santa Susanna Mountains in Southern California. Rest in peace, mom.
- 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 email@example.com.