Letters to the editor for Feb. 11
As a former 25-plus-year resident of the South Shore, I have followed the recent flurry (pardon the pun) of “snow berm” letters with interest and amusement, enjoying the comments of past and present city employees Tom Fay and John Greenhut, as well as those from just “ordinary folks.”
There are some truths and some falsehoods in all the letters. Yes, the snowplow driver can leave no berm (I’ve seen it done perfectly as I stood freezing at the end of my driveway, covered in snow, shovel in hand); yes, the placement of the residence, the amount and texture of the snow, do make a difference (when I lived on a corner, I didn’t see my mailbox for an entire winter); and no, not all snowplow drivers are callous jerks.
I would like to suggest, however, that it’s more about the money than about the berms. What the city leaders have continually chosen to spend the South Shore’s tax dollars on shows beyond a doubt what their priorities are. If there were more snowplows, and newer ones that worked consistently; if there were more snowplow drivers so that even in a big storm they weren’t totally exhausted and could slow down a bit and take more care not to “berm residents in”; if the streets were in better repair so potholes didn’t eat up the plows; if less money had been spent ensuring that the feet of tourists stay warm and cozy as they walk across the heated sidewalks in the redevelopment area; if, above all, the city really listened to its residents and put their concerns first.
But sadly, the “berm problem” that hits the letters to the editor page every winter is a direct result of where Tahoe’s leaders have been dumping the money, not where snowplow drivers have been dumping the berms.
Warren Kessler’s letter to the editor (Jan. 30) was interesting. My suggestion to him is to contact the public works director and see if he could ride with a grader operator and see how the operation of the cutoff gate works.
If Mr. Kessler would like to have berms removed, he should lobby the public to raise the snow-removal property tax from the current $50 to $500 so that the city can buy seven new loaders and 14 more employees to operate them on two 12-hour shifts. I don’t think that will happen.
Please spend a 12-hour shift with an operator and tell me what an easy job it is. It’s easy to sit in your house and complain. It’s very easy to see that Mr. Kessler is a minority in his thinking.
Kudos to Misty Reed for her letter on the great job the plow operators are doing.
Former street superintendent, city of South Lake Tahoe
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