Guest View: Who are the real owners of the lake? | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Guest View: Who are the real owners of the lake?

Michael Donahoe

Who owns Lake Tahoe? Is it the few hundred people who own lakefront property? Or is it the few hundred million people who are the citizens of this great country of ours?

This question will be decided this Wednesday. As of now, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency proposes to vote in favor of the few hundred lakefront owners and allow 128 more private piers and more than 1,800 more buoys to be built on Lake Tahoe.

The real owners of the lake (ordinary citizens like you and me) need to consider the implications of the Oct. 22 vote.

Want to walk along Tahoe’s beaches at sunset without running into “keep out” signs or having to crawl under or over a pier?

Forget it! Your chances diminish if this vote goes through Wednesday.

Want to swim or kayak along the shore free from motorboat fumes and gasoline slicks, and without having to maneuver around pilings and buoy chains?

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Forget it! Your chances diminish if this vote goes through Wednesday.

Want to sit on the beach and have a quiet conversation with a friend without having to shout over the noise of Jet Skis and cigarette boats?

Forget it! Your chances diminish if this vote goes through Wednesday.

On Wednesday, parts of this lake will be privatized forever and taken away from citizens like you and me, who are Lake Tahoe’s true owners.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California is a great friend of Lake Tahoe. She is looking at introducing legislation that will funnel more than $1 billion into restoring Lake Tahoe. Sen. Barbara Boxer of California is another critical advocate for Tahoe and will be key in passing this Tahoe legislation. As are Sen. Harry Reid and Sen. John Ensign of Nevada, who both have a long history of safeguarding this international treasure.

On the state level, California Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, California Attorney General Jerry Brown and Nevada Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce have in the past devoted enormous personal and staff time to protecting Lake Tahoe.

They’d all probably be interested in hearing what you think (just Google their names to get contact info) about expending all these resources on Tahoe and having them benefit so few individuals (influential though they might be), while making the enjoyment of this natural wonder more difficult for the hundreds of millions of U.S. citizens who are the true owners of the lake and whose taxes are paying to keep Tahoe blue.

Oct. 22 is coming up fast. Please contact your legislators today. And if you can, please come to the meeting Wednesday. This agenda item is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the TRPA offices on 128 Market St., off Kingsbury Grade.

– Michael Donahoe is conservation co-chair of the Tahoe Area Sierra Club.

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