My view: South Shore housing shortages persist (opinion)
Tribune Opinion Columnist
• The housing shortage has become one of the most important issues facing South Shore with not many solutions in sight. The causes of the shortage are so complex — everything from interest rates, the cost of housing in the Bay Area, environmental regulations that have impacted the ability for the market to change, the impact of the mortgage crises, the emergence of Airbnb, the lack of quality hotel rooms (which has spurred the property rental segment) and much more. I don’t think there is anyone who fully understands the issue and that’s the problem. No one has done a comprehensive analysis of the causes, as such housing issues are being looked at piecemeal. I have not seen a comprehensive analysis that addresses the community impacts and the economics of the issues because there is none. That should be worrisome to everyone because, absent of a thoughtful analysis, how do we find the right solutions? In an effort to be proactive, the city council is making ordinance changes that may or may not be the right thing to do. Local government and agencies need to meet to deal with the issue in a comprehensive way and develop a range of solutions. They have, in my opinion, so far failed to do this. This has often been the fundamental problem in finding solutions for South Shore — each agency working in their silo when the problem is across the South Shore. City council actions, while well intentioned, are like someone who lost a wallet looking for it under a street lamp because that’s where the light is. This is no way to solve a South Shore problem.
• May is Mental Health Awareness Month and this is a problem that has reached critical levels here on Tahoe’s South Shore. So far South Shore agencies have come a long way, working together to recognize the importance of this issue and develop solutions. The challenge, like everything, is funding and access. Some see mental health issues as soft, but anyone who has dealt with it themselves or with a family member knows the issues are real. We need to continue and improve our efforts. There should be no stigma attached to mental health and if you or someone is suffering, please reach out for help.
• Bruce Grego has issues with the Tahoe Transportation District. I don’t recall him having those concerns when he was on city council. Maybe I am misrememebering? The timing is interesting.
THE BIG PICTURE
• Governor Brown has finally recognized that the housing shortage in California is real (some estimates put the shortage at between 100,000 and 200,000 units) and needs to be dealt with by making it easier to build homes for low-income residents. He is proposing to streamline the permitting process for developers building affordable homes. This should have happened eons ago. The law of supply and demand is real and those who ignore it do so at their own peril. Watch what happens with $15 minimum wage. It could be interesting.
• Have you checked out the entertainment schedule for South Shore this summer? Looks like another great lineup with plenty of choices for everyone. Get your tickets.
IT’S A WRAP
• It was great to see the Amgen Tour of California here again. Those men and women athletes are inspiring. This event certainly captures the local values of the community, combining cycling against the backdrop of Lake Tahoe. Amgen events are a result of a strategy championed by the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, focused on what locals like to do and inviting visitors to come and do the same. Great job by all.
Carl Ribaudo is a columnist, consultant, speaker and writer who lives in South Lake Tahoe. He can be reached at email@example.com