Ribaudo column: A mess on Lake Tahoe South Shore (opinion)
Where does one begin to comment on what is going on in South Shore? Things that bother me about the City Council’s recent actions: First the hiring of an investigator to assess the former city manager. By taking that action in private session, the council’s purpose was to evade transparency.
I would like to know for the public record which council member brought the idea forward, and why. Where is the proposal submitted by the investigator and where the hell is the final report?
City councils always tends to hide behind closed door sessions about personnel matters to a much greater degree than necessary. Government, in general, is biased to confidentiality unless they have a real commitment to transparency.
The City Manager was an at-will employee and can be terminated for no reason, and that would have been fine. So why all the contortions with a private investigator and then to keep it from the public? It would have been better if the council just said it wanted to move in a different direction.
The problem is they get their advice from a city attorney who reports to them and often wants to protect them from issues they shouldn’t. The whole issue should have been a matter of public record.
Many people have focused on City Councilmember Brooke Laine going public with potential Brown Act violations of the City Council. As a general rule, I have no problem with elected officials bringing issues directly to the public. In this case, it forced the hand of the mayor to have the District Attorney to review the situation.
As a result of reading of Ms. Laine’s action, I too contacted the District Attorney’s Office. I didn’t have the confidence the City Council could sort it out and needed an outside agency to investigate and assure the public. This action is a good thing.
I have no problem with the police chief having is personal or departmental views. I like to get his views, I just don’t think a letter asking the District Attorney for an investigation was the proper place.
Why does this kind of mess always seem to trip us up? The vacation rentals, cannabis, city manager, SnowGlobe, city attorney, are these issues too big for this City Council? Are they not equipped to deal with them? Are personal politics get in the way of finding solutions?
Admittedly it’s a lot harder to solve problems when you have a split in the community, and perhaps the City Council is a reflection of this. Is it us the community that can’t find a middle ground instead of polarizing positions? Where does all this go, folks?
What a mess, maybe this is the new normal, and we need just to get used to it. I am not so sure. I have never seen this level of South Shore dysfunction. On so many issues over the years from affordable housing to vacation rental to SnowGlobe and more, we have kicked the can down the road instead of dealing with issues as they have come up.
Kicking the can down the road has led to years of frustration, all of which eventually comes to a head and impacts everything around it. Perhaps moving forward we would be better off with a vigorous debate on many issues at the time of the issue instead of shallow and temporary agreement. What we have isn’t working and the issues we face are big.
Former TRPA Executive Director Bill Morgan recently passed away, an individual who I admired. Read his book, it’s worth it.
It’s a wrap
This is dedicated to my father who passed away several weeks ago. He was a great dad, and he is missed already.
Carl Ribaudo is a columnist, consultant, speaker, and writer who lives in South Lake Tahoe. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.