My View: ‘City residents deserve a fully functioning council person and city council’ | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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My View: ‘City residents deserve a fully functioning council person and city council’

Carl Ribaudo
MY VIEW
Tribune Opinion Columnist

WANT TO WEIGH IN?

Do you agree with columnist Carl Ribauldo’s opinion regarding the public censure of Councilwoman JoAnn Conner? Or do you disagree? Please write a letter to the editor. Letters should be emailed to crow@tahoedailytribune and will run in the Tribune’s opinion section.

LOCAL MUSINGS

Here we are at a fork in road with regard to Councilwoman JoAnn Conner. I must state up front I do not know Conner other than to say hello; and I agree with some of her positions and disagree with others. What I find interesting is here we have a council person who is banned from talking to staff, has been censured (one of the very few in this state) and most likely will be removed from most — if not all — boards, commissions and committees in which she represents the city when these assignments are decided in December for the upcoming year.

The question for the community is not what Councilwoman Conner did or didn’t do. The question for us is quite simple — can she and the city council be effective given these limitations? It begs the question — should she resign? The test is not if she has or will suffer personally; clearly she has. The point to be considered is whether the community will suffer if she remains.

The answer is yes. City residents deserve a fully functioning council person and city council. Even if you disagree with her or a possible replacement, it’s important that a council person can fully function in doing his or her job. With these limitations, how can she? Of course it would be up to Councilwoman Conner to resign, and I really don’t know if that is something she would consider.

It’s interesting — politicians often tell us they are here for us, but in my experience that’s rare. Make no mistake, politicians are there for themselves. This event seems no different.

Concerns about Councilwoman Conner’s behavior are not new; this has been going on for the last several years. And the problem lies with the past city council for not dealing with it when the situation first arose. That council failed to fix the issue and, in not doing so, has put the city at legal risk. It took the city manager to step forward and deal with it. There are no excuses for how this could have gone on for so long. It’s embarrassing, really.

THE BIG PICTURE

I am convinced the permit process in this country is slowly crushing the spirt of communities everywhere. It doesn’t matter if it’s federal, state or in the Lake Tahoe Basin; the constant need for permits has gotten out of control. Government in the basin would be wise to figure out what really needs a permit and what the cost is they are imposing. Local agencies have lost the big picture as permits have become a revenue-generating mechanism to cover the growing cost of government, and in the process permits are becoming an obstacle to the very changes these governments would like to see. Just because you can impose a permit does not mean you need to do it. Is it really necessary for every government department to be in on a permit?

I saw a great film last week, “Knee Deep,” about a brigade of residents that helped after the floods in Boulder, Colo., several years ago. They did not get permits; they went past roped-off security areas and they did not ask permission. Using social media and a cadre of volunteers these “mudslingers” worked around agencies and permits to help dig out hundreds of people in their communities.

It’s time to knock it off with the excessive permits and fees; you’re killing the spirit that will better this community.

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IT’S A WRAP

This op-ed is dedicated to South Lake Tahoe Police Department Officer Mark Hounsell who died along with his wife, Jeanne, and a friend, Laura Fisher, in an auto accident. It’s tragic. Rest In peace. Sigh.

Carl Ribaudo is a contributing opinion columnist for the Tahoe Daily Tribune. He is also a consultant, speaker and writer who lives in South Lake Tahoe. He can be reached at carl@smgonline.net.


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