My View: Notes from the Front Row (Opinion) |

My View: Notes from the Front Row (Opinion)

Carl Ribaudo / Tribune columnist
Carl Ribaudo

Local Musings

The sad saga of the Sunset Stables land continues.

Years ago, Sunset Stables, located on State Route 89 as you come into the South Lake Tahoe, was a nice recreational amenity for residents and visitors.

The land was ultimately sold to the Tahoe Conservancy. Instead of maintaining the land as recreational in some form since that time, that poor plot of land has had a miserable fate. Under the ownership of the Conservancy that land was transformed into an industrial building site and is soon to become a fire station for Cal Fire. I don’t think this is what the taxpayers envisioned for this piece of recreation land when the Conservancy bought it.

It will be interesting to see the level of scrutiny this project gets at TRPA. What negotiating and requirements the agency will impose on Cal Fire, if any at all. You can bet if it were a private sector development going in the scrutiny would be significant. We will see.

From my view, the TRPA should not approve the permit. That land should remain recreational.

• What’s with the weather? Where did winter go?

Every year we seem to ask, is this just happening this year or is this the new normal? Given the irregularity of the past decade one wonders just what is going on with the weather and what if any impact will the lack of snow have on the local tourist economy.

• There is no question one of the impacts of visitors here is their bad behavior by littering.

I have watched for years as we see the pictures of cigarette butts and trash piled up.

Local anger is palpable as we see these acts daily.

From my view there are only two ways to address the issue. First, we must keep telling the message to visitors to clean up their mess. But we also must do a better job of collecting trash and putting out trash cans.

The efforts of the Tahoe Fund and others are to be commended but more needs to be done. It used to be you could find a trash can most anywhere, in front of local businesses, but dealing with trash is a cost center now and more and more businesses have pulled down their cans. Public places are another place that just needs more cans and capacity.

As more people come streaming into town, we should be adding more trash receptacles instead it appears we have fewer. We have become good at finding millions for environmental improvements but can’t seem to unlock a solution for cigarette butts.

The Big Picture

As a life-long baseball fan I am outraged at the Houston Astros cheating scandal. Look, stealing signs on the baseball field is as old as the game. A batter’s quick look back at the catch or a first base coach peering in to see how many fingers the catch is flashing is part of the game.

But the use of electronic means to steal signs like the Astros did is something completely different. Think of how this system has distorted the game, careers and fortunes have been altered as a result. Major League Baseball has so far, in my opinion, needs to do much more.

The only honorable thing to do is to vacate the championship, leave it blank and let that empty space in the record books speak for itself.


I have long had an interest in the Civil War especially its economic dimensions and the moral implications. From the pre-civil war economic system of the south built on slavery to the actual economics of slavery a couple of things that have caught my interest. Check out the book “The Half has Never Been Told” by Edward Baptiste.

A detailed economic analysis of the horrors of slavery.

I have read reems of economic analysis in my day but this boggles the mind. Another more recent offering is the movie “Harriet” about Harriet Tubman the most prolific conductor along the underground railroad. Tubman was responsible for smuggling out over seventy slaves and in doing so struck at the heart of the South’s economic system.

It’s a Wrap

In the last six months I have had the opportunity to work in half a dozen tourism destinations and one thing I have noticed is we are not alone in the challenges that face us.

Expensive real estate, lack of affordable housing, vacation rentals, crowding and congestion, these issues are all over the place. The difference is the communities that are looking for solutions compared with those that are still grappling with the status quo. Smart adaptation always wins, the status quo always loses.

Carl Ribaudo is a columnist, consultant, speaker, and writer who lives in South Lake Tahoe. He can be reached at

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