If you had asked me five years ago what keeps a town like South Lake Tahoe running, I probably would have blinked several times, and then wondered why you asked me that in the first place. As I’ve come to find out, it is amazing what and how much goes on behind the scenes in a town like this. As the network administrator for the city of South Lake Tahoe, behind-the-scenes stuff is kind of my thing. I keep all the technology we rely on day to day talking and functional. The systems that I work with involve layers upon layers of functionality, each piece relying on the underlying infrastructure. But enough about what I do; I want to talk about what I’m part of — a larger network.
City government functions similar to the network I manage — an overarching purpose that is reliant on a lot of smaller processes. In theory, all these pieces work together to create and accomplish something bigger. I’m well aware that the city is not the most popular organization in town. I mean, we’re the guys who take your money for permits, business licenses, etc. We sometimes leave a nice berm in your driveway on a Monday morning — seriously though, our guys try really hard not to do that. Oh, and there’s a certain hole in the ground that gets brought up occasionally.
I can honestly say that I work with some of the most dedicated and professional people I have ever known. They are dedicated because this is their community, too. Police and fire work around the clock to keep the town safe, snow removal operations run 24/7 to keep the streets clear. Our building inspectors ensure the structures and homes are safe. Did you know we have an entire position dedicated to making sure the water that runs off our streets arrives at the lake cleanly? I could go on for quite a while.
Our goal is to serve this town’s needs as effectively as possible. To improve our economy, to keep our infrastructure stable, to provide what Tahoe is all about: recreation. Yes, there is bureaucracy, but that does not need to be a negative. There are certainly issues that need to be addressed, which is why I am calling on the younger generations to step up. The future of South Lake Tahoe is in the hands of those of us who are inheriting it. Get involved. Reach out to your elected officials, and make sure they hear what those of you on the ground have to say. Is there an issue facing our community you feel the city should be better addressing? Attend a City Council meeting and make your voice heard. Look into perhaps attending the next round of the city’s Citizen’s Academy, where you can learn more of the nuts and bolts of how the government operates.
I joined the Tahoe Regional Young Professionals for the same reason that I chose to work for the city: the desire to see South Lake Tahoe thrive.
— Sebastian Knapp is a network systems administrator for the city of South Lake Tahoe.