Ribaudo column: Toward a new conversation on Lake Tahoe South Shore
Toward a new conversation
As the new year starts the South Shore is faced with both opportunities as well as significant challenges. The tourism industry has seen strong visitation and good revenues. In years past this would have been enough. When I first moved here, it just seemed a bit easier to get a start, easier to make Tahoe work. One could hang out a couple of years and move on, or if you were enterprising enough you could find a way to live here year-round and make it work.
But the world changed. It became a global economy, and not everyone was ready. California saw its population increase to 40 million people. With that growth came changes: We lack adequate housing and roads, crowding and traffic is everywhere, and everything just cost a whole lot more.
Technology also changed our world more than we could ever imagine, as Silicon Valley developed an app for every possible need. Who would have dreamed that you could use a simple mapping app to figure out every back road out of town? Who could have conceived of software that would take second homes and turn them into thriving rental properties that make their owners more money than they could image.
Who would have thought those changes “out there” would have ever reached down to the shores of Lake Tahoe? Despite our believing and wanting South Shore to remain as near the same as it was when we each moved here, I am reminded it can’t every time I pay $12 for breakfast at Red Hut — a breakfast that used to cost $5 years ago.
Like the rest of the country we are faced with these challenges and how we handle them will define us as a community whether we like it or not. Some of the issues like LimeBike or SnowGlobe are not as big, others are much more significant and thus more complicated including vacation rentals, crowding, lack of housing and the high price of housing. (These challenges don’t even include the heroin problem and mental health.)
The debates and the arguments of each of these have gotten to the point where we are defining this place not by the recreation, entertainment and the most beautiful lake in the world, but instead the toxic level of our fighting. To many, we are becoming a hateful community and if you don’t believe me just check out the commentary on any of these issues on social media channels. It’s not pretty. I admit I can give as good I take on social media but it’s no longer about attacking the logic of an argument its moved to personal destruction.
We are part of a connected world and we will always be confronted with change. Make no mistake we either manage change with a constructive approach or these changes will manage and overwhelm us as they already have. We must solve real problems.
It is time to change the way we deal with issues. We must move away from who yells the loudest to a new model that is focused on getting to the best-compromised solution. Yes, compromise. In a community, no one gets all they want, thus we must focus on the best-compromise solution. The do-it-my-way-or-the-highway approach will not work.
Every one of the issues we face can be dealt with in a constructive way that brings a better resolution for the community. That’s right, the community. Not this group or that group or this side of town or that, not old-timers or newbies to South Shore, the community as a whole.
It was the Nobel prize-winning economist John Nash who had it best: “The best for the GROUP is when everyone in the group does what’s best for himself And the Group.” We would all be better off to consider that wisdom.
Carl Ribaudo is a columnist, consultant, speaker, and writer who lives in South Lake Tahoe. He can be reached at email@example.com.