"Typical" is all I can say when I had heard that two Tahoe Regional Planning Agency board members Mara Bresnick and Byron Sher left the recent TRPA board meeting rather than listen to community input on the new regional plan update. Both are dyed in the wool old school dinosaurs when it comes to environmental protection and planning. They simply continue to cling to an old, worn-out approach to regulate and double down on a failed approach. It's as if they have never been to and seen places that are much more progressive with environmental stewardship. They should both resign their board seats, not because I disagree with their positions but because they walked out and disrespected the public and did not represent the people of California.
Some reflections on the local elections: It was not much of a surprise that Hal Cole was re-elected. Though many in the community have tied Hal to the failed Stateline project, he has a strong level of support among long time locals and he was successful in tapping into those voters. JoAnn Conner's election was a surprise, I think even to her. Like other first-time council members, she will have a steep learning curve and will have to move to a more inclusive message and position in order to be effective. Getting elected is one thing, working with other council members in order to get elements of your agenda supported is another. Good luck to both.
The next big issue regarding the council is: if Claire Fortier leaves the council, how will the remaining council members move forward with a replacement? The council can either call a special election or appoint someone. From where I sit, they have limited choices. If they call a special election, that would cost money and been seen as wasteful in a time of tight budgets. If they appoint someone, the logical choice, some might argue, would be Austin Sass, who finished third in the recent election but some council members would be loath to appoint someone they don't like. If they appoint someone other than Sass, they risk opening a political can of worms that would further reduce their credibility. Between a rock and a hard spot for sure.
Paid parking is a now going to be a part of the city of South Lake Tahoe. It's not only an economic issue to some, but also a local cultural issue as it reflects the realities of a community that is being forced to confront change. Something many communities don't like to do.
Is it time for the State of Nevada to rethink its economic development strategy? Nevada has one of the lowest tax structures in the country with no personal income tax, no franchise tax and low taxes on its dominant industry, gambling. This tax structure, which is touted to produce jobs, struggles to do so. My own research on this issue shows Nevada is consistently one of the top 5 business friendly environments in the country, but also consistently ranks near the bottom in job creation. Insiders I talk to, both Republican and Democrat, all point to Nevada's education system. Not sure what the solution is, but it might be time to rethink the strategy.
If you are a Republican it might be time to go back to the drawing board. I know much has been written already about what went wrong - wrong candidate, Tea Party influence, etc. - but at the end of the day the Republican party, despite its intentions of being a big tent, can be pretty mean in the way it handles people. It's time for a new generation of leaders to come forward, but they need to provide ideas and solutions to the pressing problems that the people of this country face and to date they have not. Things went very well for the Democrats but they, too, need to deliver. If they do, they have a chance to be in power for a while.
It's that time of the year when new movies are out and as a longtime James Bond fan, I would be remiss if I didn't recommend you go see "Skyfall." It's a bit long but it's classic Bond.
It that time of year when it's important to give to help others with less and I encourage everyone to give as much as they can. There are many great local charities that can use all the financial support we can give. Pick one you like and give.
- 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.