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Letters to the editor

As I’ve been reading the debate about the cutting of trees at the airport, there seems to be a lot of public interest about if this was done legally, and who’s responsible, etc.

In my opinion, this was done solely for the operational safety for aircraft using KTVL (the airport) and the citizens that live near the airport. To put it simply, when a tree grows such that its height is in the normal flight path of an aircraft, terrible things can happen if the tree meets the aircraft. The FAA and DOT have very specific criteria about obstructions, and it’s in the interest of public safety, both residents and pilots.

To use a different analogy, if you were driving up to Emerald Bay in your vehicle on Highway 89, and rounded a corner where an 80-year old jeffrey pine tree had leaned over the highway due to high winds, would you cut the tree, or require CALTRANS to build the highway around it? Three hundred eighty-seven trees? Anyone want to guess what percentage of the forest was “clear cut”?

Gerry Hattendorf

South Lake Tahoe

‘Holier than thou’ attitude by the city

Regarding the trees cut down around the Tahoe airport, it seams to me like the people running the City of Lake Tahoe have a “holier than thou” attitude. Anyone else would have to pull a permit and get approval before cutting down even one tree. Does the city not even care about the environment, or is the bottom line their main concern? This is just another step toward destroying the natural splendor of this magnificent area. The airport brings more and more people into the area and is a toy for the “well to do.” God help Tahoe if the airport ever gets a commercial permit. I think we should take a look at the people who are running the city. Based on this selfish act, they are clearly not doing what is best for Tahoe. Tahoe is the “Jewel of the Sierra.” We are its stewards and we must protect it. To put it in perspective, the Tahoe airport is like having an airport in Yosemite. Imagine paving over Tuolumne Meadows or Yosemite Valley and cutting down the surrounding forest. What is the difference? Maybe we should take a hard look at eliminating the Tahoe airport altogether (and some of the people running the city).

Bill Lamerdin

San Mateo, Calif.

Try to understand airport’s positives

My wife and I have owned a second home in the Keys since 1994, upgrading four years ago to a very nice place with a dock out front. Our primary residence is in Rancho Santa Fe and the appeal of South Lake Tahoe is quite simple: It is beautiful year-round and we utilize it all seasons with a season pass at Heavenly and can fly here in two hours from Carlsbad – and we can hangar our airplanes minutes from home.

We have always supported “Keep Tahoe Blue” and the “League to Save Lake Tahoe,” but will cease this support in view of their negative stands on the airport. We rent two hangars at the airport, buy fuel from Traagen and assume that the airport is maintained in accordance with FAA and Caltrans regulations and has the staff to do that maintenance whatever it may be. Regrettably, the tower closed down which complicates the instrument approaches a little in weather, and now the lights are out, but it is still doable, just taking a little longer if there is more than one aircraft on approach.

The airport makes it easy to get here, creates jobs, now houses a city hall and you can even find a parking space there. In a town with increasing vacant commercial properties and with many locals either moving or shopping off the hill, talk of abandoning the airport makes little sense to me when both tourists and residents use it to get here. Airplanes make noise but so do motorcycles, vehicles and boats, which also pollute. There are those of us who enjoy flying and don’t own a jet with hired pilots and when the weather is good, there is no more beautiful place to fly. There is a restaurant there where you can take your kids and watch the airplanes, perhaps inspiring a future pilot.

Should the airport close, we would most likely sell. Remove the airport, and the aircraft owners will most likely take their business elsewhere. The loss of any income is something South Lake Tahoe cannot handle with yet another “For Lease” sign.

Tim and Christi Saltonstall

Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

Aren’t we guests in the animals’ habitat?

I’m writing in response to Bobbi Cole’s letter of June 26 entitled, “Time to take care of coyote problem.” I have another solution: How about we take care of the human problem, or at least educate/remind residents they chose to live here in a natural coyote and bear habitat.

Ms. Cole spoke about there no longer being a balance between the coyote and human population, mainly because she is noticing coyotes near her home by the meadow. Well, if an “outdoor” cat is outside and gets eaten, then it’s the owner’s fault. I too have a cat but don’t let him out much because I rightfully acknowledge the dangers that exist, and have always existed here in the mountains. I also have spent years in the desert where rattle snakes and scorpions have entered my home. Would it be the rattle snake, scorpion, or coyote’s fault if my child or pet was hurt in my home? No, it would fully be my fault, because I didn’t adequately secure my house/fence.

The bottom line is the animals were here first, we really are their guests. El Dorado County Supervisor Norma Santiago, was right when she said, “We have a responsibility … We can coexist. We have a responsibility to this environment,” in reference to the “bear problem” in Christmas Valley. I couldn’t agree more. Instead of trying to figure out a solution to the “coyote problem,” I have another thought. I only rent the place where I live – perhaps when some people buy property they think due to the hundreds of thousand, to millions, they spent that they rightfully can drive the animals they don’t like away. (No one is complaining about the loss of natural “balance” between humans and chipmunks.) Well, people need to realize that, yes, in the human world we can “own” land and property, however, beyond that we are all only renting.

Matt Wedin

South Lake Tahoe


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