My view: Notes from the front row
January 25, 2017
It was great to see such a powerful expression of First Amendment rights on Saturday. We may be a divided nation but we are alive and well. It was also wonderful to see over 500 people out marching here in South Shore. It's rare that many people turn out here in South Shore.
My question is where does it go? Where does all that positive vibe and energy go? My concern is that no real change will happen — it will have just been a trendy event. Wouldn't it be great if we could turn all that good energy to "Make Tahoe Better?" I hope we do.
There has been lots of action and discussion on housing lately, the most recent being Supervisor Sue Novasel forming a committee to hopefully develop some solutions. We don't necessarily have a shortage of housing units, but our housing supply has not been optimized. Here is my take: I can see four primary forces at work that have impacted the housing market.
First, TRPA regulations with regard to Tourist Accommodation Units (TAUs) have twisted incentives so badly that lodging properties have become housing and houses have become lodging properties.
Second, there has been significant demand for vacation homes. Some of this demand is being driven by those who can afford a vacation home, in many cases paying cash. Others are being driven by a shortage of affordable housing in urban centers, which has driven some buyers who can afford housing elsewhere, including South Shore.
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Third, the advent of technologies like Airbnb, which have enabled homes to become lodging properties.
Fourth, there is no one really in charge of finding a solution. We have all these government agencies but no one in charge, and in the process they fail the community. The issue is incredibly complex and we often view it from a single perspective when a more holistic approach is needed. Where is government leadership? Of these forces of change we only really have the capability to deal with TRPA regulations and that might take years.
The Big Picture
Two Californias. Yes, there are two Californias and many think its north and south, but it's really east and west. The urban coast is a blue state and the eastern part of the state is red. If you're looking to understand how Donald Trump got elected you have to understand the disconnect in the country. You only need to look at the urban coastal San Francisco County, which voted 84 percent for Hillary Clinton, while rural Modoc County voted 70 percent for Donald Trump.
The economy and culture are so different — it tells a big story between urban and rural parts of this country. Want to understand why Donald Trump was elected? Take a drive through Modoc County and stop in Alturas or Cedarville and you might begin to understand. FYI, El Dorado County voted 51 percent for Donald Trump.
Go play in the snow. No matter if you love the resorts, cross country, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, sledding or building a snowman, get out and play in the snow. It's why many of us live here.
It's a Wrap
The weather we have had over the last three weeks has been something, and while there is always grousing about snow removal I must say now living in the city limits the plow drivers in my neighborhood have done a really nice job.
As the new year gets going and with the wind at our back, I am reminded we have so many challenges here in South Shore. Housing, mental health and addiction issues to name a few. The community will have to lead and push government agencies for the results we seek.
Carl Ribaudo is a columnist, consultant, speaker and writer who lives in South Lake Tahoe. He can be reached at email@example.com