My View: Notes from the Front Row (Opinion)

Carl Ribaudo
Tribune columnist

Local musings

The irony is hard to miss. Douglas County counts itself as a rock-ribbed conservative Republican county. In the 2016 election, residents overwhelmingly voted for Donald Trump by 62%. In 2020 that support increased to 64%.

Carl Ribaudo

Douglas County hosted then President Trump at a fly-in rally that violated the state’s COVID protocols. Many in the county refused to implement the legislature’s vote regarding gun checks and the governor’s mandates regarding masking. You can’t miss the Trump flags throughout the county. Make no mistake Douglas County is conservative to the core. All is well and good.

Except when it comes to taking state money. For years, despite its image of staunch anti-government individualism and brandishing its conservative credentials, the county has taken millions from the state to provide services and help balance its budget. Douglas County is called a guaranteed county which means the county receives a predetermined distribution from the State of Nevada regardless of what they generate in tax revenues. A very socialist concept, it would appear. But this has come to an end as the Nevada Tax Commission has removed Douglas County from this program. From here on out, they are on their own.

For years I have heard conservatives in Douglas County rail against big government and California. Yet they were beholden to the state for a handout all this time. I guess hypocrisy knows no bounds.

It looks like the new Hampton Inn is taking shape on South Shore. While the hotel is a welcome addition, its architectural design is average. It looks just like the one in Folsom. I am not sure what’s going on with the city planning commission, but three of the last new buildings, including BevMo, AutoZone and now Hampton Inn, have very average designs. None of these buildings capture Lake Tahoe’s uniqueness or sense of place and are what you find anywhere else in California.

I wonder what the new recreation center design will look like when complete. Given the importance of recreation to this community, the city needs to make an architectural statement that reflects the community and its values. Perhaps it’s time for the city to have an architectural design committee to advise the planning commission and the city council. Let’s hope it’s not a cookie-cutter.

If you haven’t had the chance, the favorite skateboarder in your life will enjoy the new skateboard art exhibit hosted by Arts and Culture El Dorado, now showing at their gallery in Placerville. The exhibit entitled “Bad Apples: Skateboarding and the Misfit Culture of El Dorado County” is an excellent example of art and culture going beyond the usual. The exhibit also makes a statement on how social mores change.

What we might not favor today, over time, becomes socially acceptable. There was a time when skateboarding was all but outlawed in El Dorado County. Compare that with today. The city of South Lake Tahoe has a quarter-million dollars earmarked to upgrade the skatepark. One of the points of the exhibition I walk away with is that social mores that some might not agree with today and seek to limit or ban becomes more acceptable and, in many cases, conventional over time. When one segment of the population says no, the more determined other parts of the community are to say yes.

Compromising and embracing change and creating a win-win situation is more desirable than having a win-lose situation. Maybe the acceptance of skateboarding can teach us something … For more information on the exhibit, visit

It is a wrap

I had the opportunity to take a tour of the new special event center, and it will be a gamechanger for sure. Perhaps the most significant change to the South Shore economy in a generation, this new addition will enable the South Shore to have a more resilient economy. Additionally, the event center has the potential to significantly expand arts and culture as an integral part of the community adding to the outdoor recreation and entertainment we already enjoy. The possibilities are considerable.

Carl Ribaudo is a columnist, consultant, speaker, and writer in South Lake Tahoe. you can reach him at

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