My view: South Shore needs public art (opinion)
Tribune Opinion Columnist
• I have had the opportunity to work and visit many destinations and communities over the years. One thing that strikes me is the focused effort on providing arts and culture.
We have so many talented artists, photographers and musicians — and so many small organizations that provide great programs — but we are missing something. It is time for the South Shore (Nevada and California) to work together to develop a formal arts and culture coalition. This organization can bring together all the different elements that exist and create a much more focused effort, attracting public and private grant funding, administering programs and creating an environment that allows artists to express themselves.
Look around — we need a public arts program. Compare other places (Santa Cruz, California, and Moab, Utah, come to mind) and look at how they have used public art. The same goes for Sun Valley and Aspen, Taos and Santa Barbara. We are not on par and we need to get there. Art and culture is what makes a place interesting.
The South Shore has defined itself as a recreation and entertainment destination, but that is not entirely what we are and it won’t be enough moving forward. Many communities have plenty of recreation, often better than what we have. It is time for the City of South Lake Tahoe and Douglas County to take steps to develop this important component of the community and find sustainable offerings. Other communities do it all the time and you can feel the difference.
• It’s great to see the town fill up with visitors, reviving the winter economy. Last Saturday night, I was amazed to see how many “No Vacancy” signs were up. There has to be a better way to manage the exit traffic on Sunday, however — it’s a mess. If you live in the county, good luck getting to your house. Visitors have found every back road there is. It would be great if the city, county, emergency services and representatives from the tourism industry got together to figure out ways to mitigate this before it happens again in the summer.
• It’s heartening to hear that the warm room, which provides those that need it a place to stay warm in cold winter nights, has been a success. Compassion is always a good thing.
• Is it me, or does Bill Crawford always oppose everything and offer no solutions?
THE BIG PICTURE
• I find it interesting that the Nevada Public Utilities Commission has effectively shut down the solar energy program in Nevada. They recently approved new rules that cap net-metering credits and impose monthly fees on solar rooftop systems, in the process reducing the financial benefit of solar and negatively affecting approximately 18,000 existing solar customers. Instead of being a leader in solar energy, Nevada once again kicked itself to the side of the road.
• There are several aspects of the national election (beyond the Trump and Bernie fever) and the relationship to South Shore that I find interesting. The first is youthful energy. There is no question that millennial voters have been excited and are turning out for their candidates. The same can be said for the South Shore. It is evident that millennials in our community are having more of an impact and will continue to do so, especially in local politics. November will be interesting. The second aspect of the national campaign season that has a parallel to South Shore is the frustration with the status quo. Many voters want to see change and governmental agencies have been slow to respond. There is an utter lack of urgency to make positive and needed changes. Once again, we are studying everything from Tahoe Regional Planning Agency commodity programs — that are now obstacles to protecting the environment — to city design standards. Really? We haven’t done this yet? Federal and local agencies need to streamline their efforts and get moving with deliverable results or they risk alienating all. Watch what happens when the economy slows (and it will) if these agencies have not made progress.
Don’t miss skiing and snowboarding. Since winter has returned, it’s been great. It reminds many of us why we came here. Go get some.
Also don’t miss spring training. Now that football season is over, we can start looking to baseball (the greatest game ever invented).
IT’S A WRAP
• I’m looking forward to some great entertainment. As a longtime Genesis fan, I am stoked to see Peter Gabriel on the South Shore. Whatever your preference, go listen to some music — it will do wonders for you.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.