Opinion: Notes from the front row | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Opinion: Notes from the front row

Carl Ribaudo
Special to the Tribune

It looks like “the hole” is going to get started as the city council approved a part of phase 1 of the project. The hole had become a community whipping boy for failure of both the developer and local government. My take is a bit different. First, the community anger is deep-seeded in the decades of failed local government policy and inaction to make a better community. The city of South Lake Tahoe, El Dorado County, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Lahontan, Forest Service, Douglas County have all been paralyzed for years with the status quo. The hole gave the local community a tangible place to focus its anger, a metaphor for failure. Second, I am not sure what was proposed to be built (condos with a convention center) would have been the right development given the recession market and may have stood empty had it even built. At least now a developer can better fit the development to the marketplace.

It looks like the TRPA will prevail with the Regional Plan Update. They had been sued by the Sierra Club to stop its implementation but last week a judge tossed much of this lawsuit. The process has passed environmental groups by. The notion of suing to get your way worked in the past but it won’t work as well moving forward. Why? Because everyone has figured that strategy out and game planned against it and make sure proposals meet environmental standards.

Forty years ago when these legal strategies were needed to stop bridges over Emerald Bay, these groups were on the cutting edge but not now. Everyone gets the importance of stewardship and the environment; the debate is no longer to protect the environment, it is one of values, how the South Shore should look, how tall a building should be, what a tourist accommodation units should consist of. But these issues are not environmental issues, they are community issues, which begs the question of the relevancy of the old line environmental groups and their old-school approaches.

The big picture

I do not like the government looking at my phone records, looking at my email records, putting drones in the sky looking at me and placing cameras to look at me, everywhere. But what really makes me nervous are the capabilities the federal government is building. Can you imagine where this technology will be and what the government will be able to do in five years? Don’t get me wrong, I am not a “black helicopters are coming” kind of guy, but I also do not like government saying trust us. Really? I think I’d rather trust the words of Ben Franklin: “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”

Why is it that when you purchase an off-road vehicle to ride on public lands in California you have to purchase a green sticker ($52 for two years) but when you buy a pair of hiking boots or a kayak or mountain bike to use on public lands you don’t? I don’t see a problem with the fee, but shouldn’t everyone pay?

I am not a fan of Paula Deen. I don’t watch her show, but I find it ironic that when she uses the N word she offends people and loses her TV show, but when Kanye uses the N word it’s art. Either the N word is offensive or it’s not.


Don’t miss the summer sunset. I know living her you can get used to it but grab a chair head to the beach and enjoy.

It’s a Wrap

I thoroughly enjoyed the NBA finals this year and made a point to watch every game (something I usually reserve only for the World Series). The Spurs, who have quietly become one of the most successful organizations in sports, vs. the brash Miami Heat played a great series. What I really appreciate is the evolution of LeBron James an incredible talent but did not just rely on talent alone, but hard work to improve his game. The improvement of his perimeter shooting, something he was not that good at, was key to winning the championship. Hard work, something we can all learn from.

— Carl Ribaudo is a contributing columnist to the Tahoe Daily Tribune. He is also a consultant, speaker and writer who lives in South Shore. He can be reached at carl@smgonline.net.

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