Ribaudo column: A ‘third way’ on South Lake Tahoe VHR issue; protesting just as patriotic as standing for national anthem
September 28, 2017
The vacation rental issue seems to be nearing some point where something is going to happen; it looks like the city is going to adopt new ordinances that will limit the number of units as well as limit density (the number of rentals in neighborhoods).
The vacation rental issue has become a sticky one that has been going on for years, with the issues and real solutions being kicked down the road. That's for another time. The winners? The local community. The losers? The local community.
The local community wins because vacation rentals generate approximately $2.8 million in revenue for the general fund, which goes to support the city and its services for residents. The local community loses because vacation rentals do fundamentally alter the character of a neighborhood and the community does lose housing stock that might have been long-term rentals for residents, making rental units scarce and prices higher.
No matter which way the city goes, it looks like there is bound to be a lawsuit challenging the city action, as well as a ballot measure that would eliminate vacation rentals. These measures can both drag on for years as well as cost the local community millions in city taxes it desperately needs.
Maybe there is a third way? What if we changed the dynamics of the situation? What if the vacation rental industry holds off on any lawsuits and those who want a ballot measure to eliminate vacation rentals hold off for 18 months so we can see what happens with the city ordinances? We learn what works, what doesn't and make the right, thoughtful changes. That's right, what if we try and find a real workable solution that enables the community to win all the way around?
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The Big Picture
A point of clarification. I don't believe that failing to stand for the star-spangled banner means you are unpatriotic or don't support our military. Protest is as much a part of being patriotic as singing the anthem.
Even though the defense budget is one of the most wasteful budgets in this country, I fully support our military and the men and women in uniform. I always have. I think this is a false choice designed to divide our nation — nothing more.
Protesting in America and in sports has always been uncomfortable. When Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their clenched fists in the medal ceremony at the 1968 Mexico Olympics or when Muhammad Ali refused to go to the draft, were they any less patriotic than those who dumped tea into the Boston Harbor in 1773? In someone's eyes, yes. To me, no. They sought to have a voice to stoke discussion and to make positive change.
I don't have a dog in the hunt about Colin Kaepernick but I do know that every social change in this country starts somewhere. Maybe he started something, at least a discussion. We shall see. To those who see not standing as disrespectful, I respect your opinion but sometimes protest is messy and goes against what we believe to be proper, but in the end it is necessary. In the long run, the country will survive this; the bigger and more important question is will we as citizens survive the attempts to divide us in the short term?
If you haven't yet, check out the new Tahoe Hot Pot restaurant. It's good with lots of excellent Asian tastes.
It's a wrap
Fall has always been a time when locals get the town back after a busy summer. The trails are less crowded, you can get into a restaurant on Friday or Saturday night, and we get a bit of a breather before the snow flies. Oh yea, it's also World Series time. Get out there enjoy the season.
Carl Ribaudo is a columnist, consultant, speaker and writer who lives in South Lake Tahoe. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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