Letters to the editor for Oct. 27
October 26, 2008
I’d like to thank you for the accurate story about the new shorezone rules for Lake Tahoe (Oct. 23), while at the same time pointing out the headlines from the front page as misleading and alarmist. The headlines gave the wrong impression about the number of new piers, buoys and slips that will be allowed under Tahoe’s new ordinances.
In fact, the shorezone plan allows for a maximum of 128 new private piers (with a cap of five per year), 10 new public piers, 1,862 new buoys (nearly 200 of which would be public) and 235 new public slips to be phased over more than two decades.
New buoys will be allowed only after existing buoys are permitted, unauthorized buoys removed, and a new Blue Boating Program implemented.
The numbers reflected in your headlines relayed the total number of piers, buoys and slips – including those already existing – at full buildout. Most of the piers and buoys included in the headline numbers already exist on Lake Tahoe, and the new ordinances will help us better manage them.
As you know, updated science precludes us from continuing the current development ban in fish habitat. These new ordinances allow for limited additional development that leverages a host of environmental benefits for the lake and those who use it. The new Blue Boating Program will help go above and beyond what we’ve already done to protect the lake.
Thank you for your coverage and the opportunity to comment.
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Executive director, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency
In response to the recent letter from Tom Dirkes of Stateline (Oct. 21), I encourage him to get the facts about the Tahoe Douglas Fire District question on the Nov. 4 ballot in the Tahoe Township. Mr. Dirkes can visit http://assessor.co.douglas.nv.us/database/2008/parcel/index.asp, confirm his property’s assessed valuation and calculate his investment. For Mr. Dirkes, it would be a maximum of $106.57 per year, not the $400 he stated in his letter. This link is also provided on our Web site at http://www.votefiresafe.org .
On our site, Mr. Dirkes can find the wildfire hazard rating for his neighborhood, and see the fuels reduction work identified as necessary in the adopted Community Wildfire Protection Plan. He can also see the list of benefits to be provided to each Township resident and property owner for their modest investment – free curbside chipping services, free defensible-space evaluations, including the issuance of tree-removal permits for defensible-space purposes, collection points for combustible materials (pine needles and slash), and the availability of the highly trained Zephyr Fire Hand Crew to double the number of first responders should a wildfire break out.
Federal funding comes to Lake Tahoe for more than fuels reduction. We are grateful for the federal and state funding we have, but these funds will decrease over time and aren’t sufficient to cover the cost of all the work we must do throughout the basin. Blaming others for the problem won’t make our neighborhoods more fire safe. In the case of Mr. Dirkes, we think the maximum $106.57 he will pay for the benefits he receives is prudent and well-justified. We encourage all Tahoe Township residents to get the facts and vote to support the Tahoe Douglas Fire Question.
Citizens for a Fire Safe Community
I would like to respond to the letter from the PTA presidents (Oct. 21) by stating there is a difference between facts and campaign propaganda. To support the fact that enrollment has not stabilized and continues to decline, I defer to the Tribune article by Sara Thompson on Sept. 18.
The article states: “It appears that the decline in school enrollment hasn’t stopped yet for either school district on the South Shore. … At the LTUSD board meeting Sept. 9, LTUSD Financial Officer Debra Yates presented information on declining enrollment during her unaudited 2007-08 budget report. Since the 2000-01 school year, the district has lost 1,630 students, Yates said. And so far, enrollment hasn’t stabilized. At the meeting, LTUSD Superintendent Jim Tarwater said it probably will be another three years until enrollment fully stabilizes.”
Below are the enrollment figures stated in her article (from unaudited actual financial information, 2007-08):
— Estimated 2008-09: 4,079
— 2007-08: 4,182
— 2006-07: 4,291
— 2005-06: 4,520
— 2004-05: 4,771
— 2003-04: 5,083
— 2002-03: 5,238
— 2001-02: 5,489
— 2000-01: 5,712
To his credit, Mr. Tarwater called me directly to inform me of this year’s number as being 4,100. This figure shows the loss of another 82 students, marking the ninth year of decline with no sign of stabilization.
The redundant programs I speak of at the high school are the fact that we already participate in the State of California Regional Occupation Programs for automotive and construction. These comprehensive programs prepare our students for careers in these fields. If Measure G passes, are we going to cease participation in these programs and thereby give up the state funding, or is the Transportation and Construction Academy going to be a duplicate program?
If the middle school were to be eliminated and if the district were to sell the middle school and Al Tahoe school properties, the district would have plenty of money to upgrade remaining schools. There is always another way to find school funding. Please join me in voting “no” on Measure G.
South Lake Tahoe
I want to shed light on the decision made by the Lake Tahoe Unified School District Board to place Measure G on the November ballot. This measure is designed to meet critical student safety needs, including structural, energy, heating and systems upgrades, and improve technology infrastructure necessary to education.
With the economy struggling, this may sound like a terrible time to pass such a measure, but the 35 years of bond payment will cover both good times and bad times in the economic cycle. This project, with two-thirds funded by the owners of vacation homes and time shares, will benefit our permanent resident community. For the next few years while the labor market is struggling, the work at the schools will bring much-needed construction jobs into the South Shore. Also, the sagging housing market has driven labor costs downward.
Knowing that a major building project was imminent, the district diligently pursued and secured grants worth $15.4 million in matching funds to help with the cost. We do not want to pass up the opportunity that the matching funds give our community.
Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with a teacher who told me that she couldn’t even imagine teaching the new rigorous standards without a smart board. The sad fact is that many of our classrooms are not equipped with the technology that our students need. Measure G will address this issue. Measure G will also repair damage incurred from decades of snow load, improve fire safety, and update the career tech programs so that our 18-year-olds will leave the high school with the skills they need to enter the work force.
If you believe that our children and community deserve quality school facilities, then you will know how to vote on Measure G on Nov. 4.
South Lake Tahoe
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