Ribaudo column: The cost of saying ‘no’ in South Lake Tahoe
March 1, 2018
The high cost of saying "no." Over the past several years, city residents said "no," or in some cases would have liked to say "no," to a number of efforts including parking meters and Measure C, a sales tax proposal that would have raised revenues for road repair.
There are efforts to eliminate vacation rentals and SnowGlobe. While it's certainly within the rights of residents to do so, I am not sure everyone understands the financial implications of these decisions.
According to city reports, the parking meters would have generated $360,000 annually, Measure C $2.5 million, if Snowglobe goes away that's another $60,000, and if a ballot measure to ban vacation rentals is successful (and it's not guaranteed) that would be an additional $2.5 million.
All totaled that's $5.4 million dollars of potentially lost tax revenue, annually. Over five years the lost tax dollars would be close to $30 million. The interesting thing is visitors would have paid for most of it.
In some cases, some residents have a genuine passion for these issues; I understand the noise of SnowGlobe and the problems with vacation rentals. In other cases, some people just like to say "no" and feel personally empowered by opposing change.
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The problem is all these efforts independent of each other fail to look at the big picture and how these efforts impact all of us.
For example, the opponents of Measure C were adamant that the city should find funds for road repair within the city budget, no matter that visitors cause the most wear and tear.
But how can that happen if vacation rentals go away? Or we have to spend money on maintenance out of that same budget that would have been paid for by parking meters. The $30 million lost is a lot of tax dollars over the next five years. Add to this situation the impending impact of CalPERS on the city budget and the numbers get downright awful.
We have to understand the cumulative impact of saying "no," we have to figure out ways to compromise. If we don't, the next thing we will be fighting about is what services to cut.
The big picture
Change is the opportunity or enemy of every organization. If you resist change and miss the moment, it can have significant repercussions. Sometimes organizations stick to their guns while the ground beneath them is shifting. It seems the NRA might be missing the moment.
The high school kids present a challenge the NRA has not seen before. After watching the town hall meeting and reading many articles since, it appears these young adults are not rattled, not by the NRA, not by a governor, a president nor a variety of other politicians.
They just don't seem to be bothered or intimidated, and that makes them dangerous and uncontrollable to the NRA — just the kind of situation that brings the moment. In only two weeks the discussion has shifted to new limitations on gun ownership. Impressive indeed.
Add to it the NRA has lost a number of blue-chip sponsors. Watching change happen around an organization that refuses to acknowledge it is something we all can learn from. The status quo never remains.
It looks like we are going to finally get some snow. Don't miss the rest of the winter season, no matter what activity you love.
It's a wrap
This is dedicated to 17 dead high school kids in Florida. It so sad that a country that has ended a world war and sent someone to the moon cannot, or rather will not take steps to fix this problem. No matter what side of the issue you are on, you cannot tolerate this situation.
Carl Ribaudo is a columnist, consultant, speaker, and writer who lives in South Lake Tahoe. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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