Don’t let the Tahoe Conservancy dump Douglas County’s problems on the ‘Y’ (Opinion) | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Don’t let the Tahoe Conservancy dump Douglas County’s problems on the ‘Y’ (Opinion)

John Messina / Guest column

The Tahoe Conservancy is once again abusing it power.

In this case they want to dump over 700 more welfare recipients on the South Lake Tahoe “Y” area significantly increasing the number there because of problems created by Douglas County.

The title of the meeting they held tells the whole story “Housing Solutions at the Y.”

They want to solve the housing problem by dumping even more welfare housing on those already swamped with it who live in the Y area.

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The Y is being targeted by the city, TRPA and other agencies as the dumping ground for all the undesirable welfare housing.

This is not right nor fair to the homeowners and certainly not ethical.

The Tahoe Conservancy has worked behind closed doors to set up this sneak attack on our neighborhood.

They obviously planned to catch the homeowners unprepared by springing it on us during the time when most people are busy preparing for the holidays and thinking of gifts and dinners, not unethical politics.

They knew they were destroying the neighborhood by swamping us with welfare recipients and would meet resistance, as it should.

They are saying “Happy Holidays” we are going to ruin your neighborhood.

Excessive welfare housing density unquestionably hurts the community by labeling the entire area as undesirable and depresses home values and increasing crime.

This area has more than enough, it is time to start looking elsewhere to solve welfare housing problems.

Already in that neighborhood there are five HUD welfare housing projects within one mile of the proposed development sites, and there are three more nearby totaling over 600 units, housing about 1,500 welfare recipients.

This does not include additional private low rent housing units in the area.

The proposed additional 284 welfare housing units will further detract from our area and add 700 more welfare recipients and 700 more vehicles on the street trying to accessing major roadways.

The housing needs of Douglas County should be fulfilled in Nevada, perhaps Round Hill or Zephyr Cove, not dumped on California taxpayers and the Y residents.

South Lake Tahoe already has more welfare housing than is recommended by the state of California.

The real problem is there is practically none on the Nevada side of Stateline in Douglas County.

There are 41,709 housing units in South Lake Tahoe, but only 13,423 on the Nevada side of Stateline and none of those in Nevada are available to provide affordably housing for workers.

There are 538 welfare housing units on the California side and only 94 welfare units on the Nevada side of Stateline and Douglas County has given permission for the owners to convert those to private condominiums as they become vacant, which will eliminate them.

The Nevada units have been occupied for many years by the same tenants and they are not currently available as rentals.

Most of those complaining about housing issues in South Lake Tahoe are actually Douglas County temporary employees that work in Nevada at Heavenly Mountain Resort and the casinos.

They need welfare housing because Nevada allows employers to pay as little as $8.25 per hour, with most not even getting full time employment (so the tourist industry does not have to pay them benefits).

The Nevada employers don’t pay their workers a living wage then pocket the saving and stick California’s welfare system for housing, medical care and other necessities for their employees.

Nevada needs to take care of the problems it is creating, not dump them on the taxpayers of South Lake Tahoe, El Dorado County and Californians.

We not only are getting stuck with subsidizing the profits of the greedy Nevada tourist industries who are dumping the cost of housing their workers on us, we are also getting stuck with the welfare payments, Medicaid, Calfresh (food stamps) and other costs for those same Nevada employees who are able to establish residency in El Dorado County by taking advantage of our welfare housing.

That is how the Nevada tourist industry is getting away with paying substandard wages to it’s employees while making millions in profits.

To make matters worse, welfare housing also drains funds from other needs because it forces cities to raise taxes on hard working middle class citizens to compensate for the tax money being diverted.

Things like waiving permit fees, free RUUs (development rights running around $30,000 per unit or $8,520,000 for this project alone.

And to top it off, they never have to pay property tax on the development — forcing other taxpayers to make up for the loss in taxes that would otherwise be generated by the property.

The Conservancy is not even offering to provide “In Lieu of Funds” to compensate for the tax losses.

The Conservancy abused its authority in acquiring these properties in the first place.

They were not acquired to “Restore and enhance the extraordinary natural and recreational resources,” it is part of their scheme to monopolize all retail, commercial and residential property they can acquire for the purpose of dictating future development of every kind. The Conservancy should stick to “environmental” issues not development or “social engineering.”

I believe it would be best for everyone if all the properties held by the Conservancy not related to restoration of the environment be auctioned off to the public to allow free enterprise to utilize them to create industries and businesses that are not dependent on the miserly tourist industry.

What the Tahoe Basin needs is industries that provide jobs with decent living wages, something the tourist industry does not do (unless you are one of the tyrants).

Obviously, the Conservancy is only interested in fattening the pockets of the wealthy tourist industry interests.

Don’t let them destroy our neighborhood at the Y.

Say “No” to more welfare housing.

John Messina is a South Lake Tahoe resident.


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