Opinion: Become an engaged citizen in Lake Tahoe
Tribune Guest Columnist
Young professionals in Lake Tahoe want to make a difference.
Despite what you may have heard through rumors or anonymous online comments, local government agencies are not out to ruin the community.
Believe me, I like to complain about this town, tourists, and the lack of snow as much as the next person. But my idle complaining has never, and will never, enact real change in this town.
Just over a year ago, I moved back to Tahoe after finishing college. In this short amount of time, I find myself reassured that locals have always been and will always be the lifeblood of this town. Additionally, this community has made real progress in recent years and momentum is building. I realize that a long path lies ahead and without hard work by the members of this community, we will get nowhere.
As a community, we have the responsibility to direct our voices and passions in a positive manner. Becoming an engaged citizen is not always easy and it can sometimes feel like local agencies are not listening. However, if you speak up in a positive manner, local authorities will have to pay attention. For those not sure where or how to start, I offer the following tips.
First, educate yourself about the issues. Find an issue you are passionate about, research it, and become informed. Sign up for newsletters, attend workshops, go to meetings; the information is there for you to find. Consider both sides of the issue and form an opinion that you feel strongly about regarding the area.
Second, engage your community. Once you have found a subject you are passionate about and formed your opinion, speak up. Submit public comments, speak at council meetings, write letters, and most importantly, vote. Our government agencies and elected official want to meet the needs of the community, but they cannot do their job if no one tells them what the community wants.
Finally, impact the place you call home. Informed citizens can make major changes in this community by engaging local agencies. It may not always feel like it, but agencies do listen and you can make a real difference. However, meaningful impacts will not be made through empty complaints and whispered rumors.
Everyone has a role to play in the civic process. Pay attention to the issues, get involved, attend meetings, and have meaningful discussions. You may be surprised with the results. It takes the voices of many to enact the changes this community needs, so do your part and speak up.
Devin Middlebrook is the civic engagement committee chair for the Tahoe Regional Young Professionals. For comments, questions, or more information on how to get involved please email Devin at firstname.lastname@example.org.