My View: Notes from the Front Row
September 25, 2013
Balanced Budget: It was great to see the city of South Lake Tahoe produce a balanced budget for 2013-14. I liked the budget for a simple reason — the city used realistic and conservative assumptions. It was not that many years ago the city put out a budget that showed increases in revenues even as the stock market and economy were in free fall. This year they put out a conservative budget and if there are surpluses at the mid-year the community can discuss how they would like to spend it or give it back to taxpayers.
Community first: One of the emerging movements in communities is the notion of community first. As the economy and tax revenues improve, many communities are calling for those new funds to go to community projects first before hiring new employees and giving raises to existing employees. It appears the city of South Lake Tahoe is right in step with this movement. The city manager has done an excellent job of outlining the typical boom bust cycle of hiring and giving benefits the city has done in the past and she has done a great job breaking that cycle.
The hits just keep on coming: Just when you thought the environmental industry was finished dumping on the Sierra Club for opposing the TRPA Regional Plan update, here comes ultra-environmental lawyer Clem Shute taking his shot. In an opinion piece release by Shute, he was critical of the Sierra Club for their "full opposition unless they get everything they want." I never thought I would see the day when the Sierra Club is recognized for policies that would be harmful to the lake. I guess that happens when you are driven by ideology and ignore science and the need for change.
Follow-up: After last month's column in which I was critical of the Tahoe Conservancy's approach to managing the Sunset Stables property, I received a call from their Executive Director Patrick Wright indicating that while the U.S. Forest Service was using the land as a staging site for the current projects for the next several years, his staff would take another look at how to better use the land. Good deal.
The Big Picture
There is much exasperation over the Republicans' attempt to once again try and shut down Obamacare. I believe it's their 41st attempt. I see two problems for the Republicans: this attempt has no chance of happening yet we are being put through yet another tit for tat political spat. Also, what is the alternative? I, like many Americans, have a pre-existing condition. What is the Republican alternative? I certainly would consider it if I knew what it was.
If you have not yet done so, flying out of the airport in Reno has been much improved. The airport recently completed a much-needed remodel and I have found the new design much better with an improved security section, upgraded food options and a new community art exhibit area. So far I have viewed the exhibit on wild Nevada horses and most recently Burning Man. While traveling can be a pain, the airport has seen a definite improvement.
It's a Wrap
While the community is looking better with the advent of new projects, it's worth noting that most of the improvements are public sector projects. The problem is we will never have a truly healthy economy unless we get private sector investment to augment public sector spending. While we may have nicer sidewalks and streetscapes, we still have a very worn out community layout and buildings. Until we see investment by the private sector, our economy will be challenged.
— 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.