LETTER TO THE EDITOR: No pain, no environmental gain
June 3, 2010
Have you ever had a conversation with someone (spouse or significant other do not count) whom you respect, only to have it turn into an argument? This is especially frustrating when you are pretty much in agreement on the big picture, but fail to fully appreciate the other person’s perspective and/or approach. This is the thought that crossed my mind as I read recent Opinion Page articles from Joanne Marchetta, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency executive director, and Rochelle Nason, executive director of The League to Save Lake Tahoe.
Talk about paradigm shifts, Tahoe businesses have had to change to survive. The Great Recession has taken a higher toll in the Tahoe Basin, where seasonality, coupled with higher costs, make operating a business difficult under the best of circumstances. A 17 percent unemployment rate is more than unfortunate. However, I would suggest that when you take into account the under-employed and those holding on with part-time jobs, the real rate is north of 20 percent and totally unacceptable. Unemployment at twice the national average is truly painful for our local community, and change must happen to reverse this trend. Does anyone disagree with this?
Change under the best of circumstances is not easy. It’s a pain! What the TRPA is suggesting is a cultural transition, from the top down, that if successful will have an extremely profound and positive impact on the Tahoe Basin’s environment and communities. Speaking of change, what it took to save Lake Tahoe in decades past has had the side effect of stagnating the Tahoe Basin’s built infrastructure. Should the aging built environment not be redeveloped, substantial environmental gain will not happen in our children’s lifetime.
Joanne suggested the need for more quality projects if we are to realize environmental gains. No doubt that some off-the-hill developers will still try to pursue their God-given right to overbuild and go broke. However, as the TRPA reinvents itself for the sake of the environment and the viability of our communities, I for one am confident that necessary safeguards will remain in place.
South Lake Tahoe