Guest column: Outgoing Tribune editor offers parting thoughts (opinion)
Some recovering addicts will tell you that one of the keys to sobriety is keeping busy. The idea is to occupy your mind with non addiction-related thoughts.
It also, as I can confirm, is helpful for delaying separation anxiety, which is broadly defined as fear caused by separation from another person or thing. The “thing” in this instance is Lake Tahoe.
We’ve been separated since Aug. 2 when my wife and I loaded up our cars and hit the road for Lincoln, Nebraska (yeah, I know, not exactly where I thought I’d wind up after a solid five years of living in the mountains … although I’ve been pleasantly surprised).
The short version is my aforementioned wife — the former girlfriend who put her own career on hold when we moved to Tahoe and took a job at Sprouts when she couldn’t find a PR gig — is now going for her Ph.D. It’s actually an even bigger deal than that, but I’ll spare the details (don’t want it to go to her head).
Over the past month I’ve stayed busy re-acclimating to flat land and humidity while continuing to work from the Tribune’s newly created and soon-to-be-shuttered Heartland Bureau. Consequently, my separation-induced depression has stayed quiet.
But I suspect that might change after today — my last day with the Tribune. You can only edit a community newspaper for so long when you’re more than 1,000 miles away from said community.
Fortunately for you, a familiar name is stepping into those editor shoes and he’ll have no problem filling them.
Bill Rozak, the Tribune’s sports and recreation editor for the past two years, is the new editor of the Tribune. I won’t drone on about how great Bill is. Only phonies need a hype-man, and Bill is no phony.
But having stuck with me through endless yard sales as I learned to ski this past winter, I can confirm he possesses otherworldly patience.
I’ll stop stealing the thunder and let Bill tell you more about himself as well as some other developments happening at the Trib. Spoiler you can read about one of those changes on Page 12.
Having spent the last couple of days reflecting on the last three years, as one does in these situations, there have been quite a few changes.
The Tribune went from three print editions per week to one (a deceptive fact since that one edition is as many pages as the three old editions combined).
Businesses opened and closed. Buildings were razed and new ones were built (I never did get to satisfy my Five Guys craving).
Beers were brewed and then consumed (Tahoe Mountain Brews has the best beer at the lake).
I got hooked on skiing (an especially cruel addiction given my new home).
Trails were traveled. Peaks were explored (Tallac is one of those hikes you only need to do once).
I got married in a ceremony so perfect that I’m still waiting for something to go wrong (shout-out to the Fireside Lodge and Sonney’s BBQ).
I could go on and on.
However, one thing didn’t change: Tahoe.
After arriving in Tahoe, I started meeting with various people in the community to learn more about it. I asked: What are the issues?
They responded with some combination of:
To be fair, these are massive issues that no community could solve in just under three years. But we have had a lot more than three years to alleviate these ills.
Every so often I would flip through old editions in our archive room, usually in pursuit of a specific article. I rarely found the sought after article, but I would almost always spot a headline or two seemingly ripped from last week’s paper.
Contentious conundrums over the decades included affordable housing, economic diversification, development … see where I’m going here?
Our elected officials change, residents change, businesses change, even the climate changes. But the problems remain the same.
Of course, you’d be forgiven for forgetting this fact. The modern flow of information and communication is machine-like when it comes to generating hyperbole. Each criminal act causes us to bemoan how heinous the world has become. And every instance of political gridlock evokes a yearning for the “good old days.”
Of course this is utterly stupid. Violent crime remains near all time lows in the U.S. And ineffective government is as old as … government.
Our reference points are incompatible with the availability of information, which only exacerbates our natural tendency to view the past with rose-colored glasses.
If you’re going to view the current state of affairs as “bad” then know it has been bad for some time.
For what it’s worth (not much, I know), I wouldn’t use “bad.” In fact, I think things are as good as they’ve been in years.
As an honest observer free of any loyalties, the city of South Lake Tahoe is in good shape. The non-elected leadership, at least thus far, has been effective and acted in good faith. The City Council is occupied by five individuals who have diverse viewpoints and still manage to treat each other with respect and conduct the people’s business.
Of course, it’s a little different on the Nevada side of South Shore … but I’ll stop there before I get body slammed by a county commissioner.
Even in Incline Village, which regularly hosts some of the most raucous and spiteful exchanges I’ve seen in my years of covering local governments, the Incline Village General Improvement District Board of Trustees appears to have returned to a baseline level of congenial behavior.
To be sure, there is a helluva lot more work to do. But progress rarely sprints. Baby sprints.
I only hope this positive trajectory continues so that when I’m able to retire 72 years from now and return to Tahoe to live out my days, I won’t have to read about affordable housing, economic diversification, development and visitor volume.
Because unlike friendships, kayak trips and powder days, those topics don’t contribute to my separation anxiety. In fact, they make it a little easier to say goodbye.
Ryan Hoffman is the outgoing editor of the Tahoe Daily Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.