Building our local economy while respecting our natural environment
January 15, 2010
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – We live in a magnificently beautiful natural environment that provides fantastic year-round recreational and environmental benefits to us all. There are many wonderful people here from all different backgrounds and places who call the South Shore home. We want all residents and their families to be successful and happy here too.
Parents want their children to grow up, be healthy, find a good job, and live a satisfying and rewarding life. Most parents, as well, want their grown children to prosper and live in town if the latter wish to do so. We have excellent schools and a fine community college that offer training and opportunity for our young people. Our schools and college are key community sustainability resources that we need to value and respect and are needed to train our work force for existing and future job opportunities.
What happens though when children get their professional education and/or training for a trade and find that there are no jobs in town for them? They are trained, want to work, and are skilled, but the local economy simply does not have sufficient jobs to keep them here. Our children have a choice to either find what they can find locally or move away to another place to match their skill with available jobs elsewhere. I think most of us find this “flight off the hill” to be a sad commentary and it is sad.
Maybe you have heard it said by well meaning people, “Well, this lack of jobs and job choices in the South Shore are simply the price one pays for living in Lake Tahoe.” I suggest that living in the South Shore and having the quantity and quality of jobs people want and are trained for are not mutually exclusive goals. We can and should have both. We can through our collective energies as a community, local governments, regional regulators, vigorous private sector (small and big business) and individuals create environmentally friendly job growth and generation, while respecting and supporting the important recreational attraction of Lake Tahoe. We can and will have good jobs that are available for our children to live and raise their families in the South Shore generation after generation.
Building our local economy while respecting our natural environment must be achieved. We must focus our energies and talents on making it so. We must focus our energies and attention in government at all levels in the region on encouraging and supporting our existing business community while encouraging and seeking new business opportunities that are needed and people want. Change is inevitable. Let’s make it the kind of change we want to see for our 24,000 residents. We need a governmental regulatory climate that welcomes, respects, rewards and encourages investment in business and our community. It is time for us all to recommit to the notion of putting the needs of the entire community first as we move forward into the New Year.
I have faith and confidence that we can do so and that we will be successful.
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– David Jinkens is the City Manager for the city of South Lake Tahoe.