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Tahoe attends hearing en masse

Jenifer Ragland

For the past several years, Lake Tahoe residents have complained they are ignored by their valley governments, and most of them would contend that those complaints have been falling on deaf ears.

But if their feelings were ever to be heard, it was Tuesday when the Tahoe Citizens Committee went before state government leaders in what could only be described as a cry for help.

“If Tahoe County doesn’t come about, if nothing else, this will open the eyes of Douglas County to say Lake Tahoe is not the orphan child anymore,” said Marty Ruben, who was one of at least 300 lake residents packing the committee hearing room sporting bright green “Tahoe County” buttons and pennants. “We have been ignored, but today is our time to have our say.”

Guy Moss, a 40-year resident of Lake Tahoe, said he was hoping to see Tahoe County end the constant battling between the lake and the valley.

“The county has always been taking care of the valley and not taking care of the lake,” he said. “That’s the reason this whole thing started – people are tired of it.”

After the legislative select committee hearing, it is still impossible to tell whether the proposed Tahoe County will ever become a reality. Many committee members said they still have many unanswered questions and expressed their serious reservations that the entity could pencil out financially.

However, it was clear that Nevada lawmakers will not ignore the concerns of the TCC, which were illustrated in a lengthy but passionate presentation.

“This room was the most packed I’ve ever seen it, and we can’t ignore that – I’m convinced there’s a problem,” said Sen. Ernie Adler, D-Carson City.

The number of people who came to show their support of Tahoe County appeared to have overwhelmed nearly everyone present at the hearing – including Legislative police who were concerned about the standing-room-only crowd obstructing fire exits.

TCC’s supporters had one motivation – a chance to direct their own future.

“I want to make sure the money I spend gets me the service and the quality I deserve,” said Stateline resident John Eiler. “A government at Stateline would be focused on the lake, while the valley is focused on different things.”

Long-time resident Len Sniegowski put it succinctly.

“I’ve been in Tahoe since ’69 and I’m gonna die here – I want to have a say in what happens to me.”


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