Sass Talk: Practice patience and enjoy summer at South Lake Tahoe |

Sass Talk: Practice patience and enjoy summer at South Lake Tahoe

July kicks off the busiest time of the year for our city. School is out, the temps are soaring in the valleys and visitors from all over the world are coming to South Lake Tahoe to enjoy the great outdoors.

For many of our businesses this is the best time of the year. For locals who like to play on the mountain trails and along the beach, but eventually need to get to work, this is the hardest time of the year.

In our current iPhone society where everyone can get immediate answers and their expectations are met almost instantly, patience is getting harder to find. How does a society that thrives on instant answers and instant results cope with “I can’t get what I need right NOW?” I want to be at work NOW. I want to play NOW. How do we deal with suddenly sitting in traffic feeling totally frustrated because everyone has learned the back routes that prior to mapping apps were local secrets?

It starts with accepting that summers here in South Lake are different than they were. The shortcuts are mostly gone and driving times are longer. Road construction is part of Tahoe life in the warmer months. So some suggestions: 1) Allow more time; in some cases, a lot more time. 2) Try a bike. Not every ride needs to be a sweat drenched personal challenge getting you to work feeling like you need a shower. 3) Take the bus. Bring a book or some tunes and leave the weaving in and out of traffic to someone else. It’s a lot less stressful. 4) If your destination is only a few miles, walk. I know it’s hard to part with our cars but with parking and commute times posing a challenge, I encourage you to consider these options.

Hiking suggestions

For our visitors, we have hiking and biking trails accessible from most anywhere in our city. That’s one reason why we locals love Tahoe. Almost instant access. So, here are a few ideas:

If you are staying in the Stateline area, go to Van Sickle Park and access the trails taking you up the mountain where you will have epic views of Tahoe, see a waterfall and can hike all the way up to the Tahoe Rim Trail. I encourage you to visit our local outdoor outfitters and get sunglasses, a hat, a small backpack, hiking shoes and a water bottle if you don’t already have them.

If you are near Pioneer Trail, get on the Powerline Trail and if you are feeling like an all day adventure hike up Cold Creek Trail to High Meadows where you will find some snow to play in and be alongside a rushing mountain stream.

If down by the Y area, try the Rubicon Trail which goes down the length of Emerald Bay and the along the west side of the lake. Drop into Sports LTD or Powderhouse to get gear. Check with the Forest Service kiosks, the front desk of your hotel or use Google for more details.

Marijuana and VHRs

City Council is about to tackle two of the more high profile issues in our town. At the July 11 meeting we will discuss next steps in the cannabis discussion (I laid out my thoughts last month) and what to do next with VHRs. With regards to VHRs, the general perception is that enforcement is the key to everything. It’s hard to argue that, but it’s unrealistic to think we could ever hire enough code enforcement officers to be everywhere we need them to be.

We still need people to call in with their complaints. I encourage you to call VHR Enforcement. The contact number is 530-542-6100. I have heard comments that no one responds and I assure you that the city manager and the police chief are well aware of this too. It’s a hot topic in the city offices, but not calling is not the answer. If you feel a VHR is violating our city ordinances, please pick up the phone. Let’s continue to work together on this.

On July 11 the city will have a workshop on VHRs. I encourage you to attend or submit your ideas in writing, and I also encourage you to read our recent socioeconomic study. It’s a big report but the executive summary and suggestions at the end are quick reads. (Read the report at

Personally, I’m not interested in a six-month process to refine the code. The two sides of the equation are philosophically in disagreement and it’s been exhausting trying to get to a compromise. I have a plan I will share, but will first keep an open mind and hope that some additional long term fixes come as a result of the workshop and council comments. I implore attendees to come with solutions rather than with only complaints. I assure you, council knows the issues and has heard what needs to be fixed. Help us, help you. I know we can find an equitable solution.

The council recently approved the sales tax measure to fix our roads and you will get to vote on it in November. Your entire City Council supports the measure and I encourage you to really check out the language and the safeguards built into the ballot measure to ensure the funds can legally only go to roads. Folks, we really need this to pass because there is no long-term funding in the budget to fix our streets without it.


Kudos to the Park family and all of Edgewood for completing the new lodge and revamping of the golf course. More importantly, thank you for all of the funds and efforts you put into restoration of the natural stream environment. As was said at the opening, this was really a water project that happened to have a lodge as part of it. The lake will be healthier for all the work you completed.

Have a great Fourth of July. I hope you’ll get to see the greatest fireworks show west of the Mississippi and more importantly, I hope you get outside and enjoy what Tahoe has to offer. If you do, I promise it will put a smile on your face.

Have fun, be safe.

South Lake Tahoe Mayor Austin Sass can be reached at and on Facebook by searching Sasstalk.

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