by Terry D. Clodt
Special to The R-C

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December 24, 2012
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Former resident surprised at Lake's condition

Editor's Note: This is an open letter to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

I was a long-time resident (1959-1972) before the City of South Lake Tahoe was formed in 1965. I have worked on the Nevada side of Stateline from 1959 to 1992. I am also a graduate of South Tahoe High.

I recently had the opportunity to visit the City of South Lake Tahoe to meet many individuals whom I have known for years. I stayed at one of the local motels.

When I came down Kingsbury Grade at the signal of Highway 50 and made my left turn I looked at all the casinos and could not believe that they were what I call "earthy colors." In all reality they all look like they were camouflaged.

When I finished with my business, we decided to drive around many of the streets in the city to the Y area. I could not believe the two homes I lived in were in such need of repairs and no one even added any footage to the homes. The same old trees were there and homes looked like they were in the ghetto. The streets were bad.

As I traveled on the Nevada side, I noticed that the Kingsbury Middle School was closed. I also was able to see Round Hill and was surprised to see empty businesses.

I stopped at the local McDonalds in the city of South Lake Tahoe and had to park my vehicle because there was no drive-through. When I asked why they had no drive-through, they told me that someone did not want parking vehicles running while waiting to pick up food. This answer did not surprise me.

I have been told that so many homes on the California side are being rented for weekends and weekly. What does this do to the motel business?

As of Oct. 11, 2012, the gaming win dropped to near their lowest levels since August 2011. The casinos were down 19.45 percent from August 2011.

Now this is not new for the casinos. They have been having problems yearly. I have seen people in the casinos enjoying themselves and having fun. Since your board has been established, we are seeing gaming going down in revenues.

As per your information, the Compact, as revised in 1980, gave TRPA authority to adopt environmental quality standards, called thresholds, and to enforce ordinances designed to achieve the thresholds. The TRPA Governing Board adopted the thresholds in 1982.

The Governing Board adopted a long-range regional plan in April of 1984. The same day, two parties filed suit in federal court claiming they were not convinced the plan would adequately protect the Lake Tahoe environment. The judge effectively ordered a moratorium on new building at Lake Tahoe. The Executive Director of TRPA then called together a consensus group to hammer out another regional plan. After three years of negotiations, the lawsuit was settled and the TRPA Governing Board adopted the 1987 Regional Plan in effect today

TRPA was the first bi-state regional environmental planning agency in the country. The survival of TRPA, despite the controversy over the last 20 years, is a tribute to the men and women who had the vision and the courage to try something that had never been tried before. Preservation of the environment is a cause that is now widely supported by both residents and visitors to the Lake Tahoe Region.

This statement is so ridiculous that you, as an agency, has gone way beyond your authority. Your statement that you are backed by residents of California and Nevada is not true in today's society. The economy of California and Nevada is not good. There are too many duplicated services and the economy is at the lowest level that I have ever seen.

Your board has invented one of the biggest no-growth policies that any city or state has ever seen. There is proof on this statement by the closing the Middle School in Douglas County and business on the Stateline side.

Lake Tahoe Unified School District, in the year of 1996/1997 had enrollment of 5978 students. The year 2011/2012 is 3858. During the years of 1996/1997 to 2011/2012 the decrease of students is 2120. It will be only a matter of time before they will be closing a school.

This is just another example which indicates you have a no-growth policy. All the rules and regulations that you have put on the property owners are outrageous. This also applies to the many businesses that left the area and the rules and regulations you are putting on them. The League to Save Lake Tahoe which uses the TRPA board for their personal agenda

Presently the TRPA has approximately 63 employees plus which must be a high cost in the budget. In reviewing the amount of people that are being paid to make decisions of property owners in both states is just unbelievable. How many of these individuals own a home in Nevada or California in the Lake Tahoe area?

Planning, also called urban planning or city and regional planning, is a dynamic profession that works to improve the welfare of people and their communities by creating more convenient, equitable, healthful, efficient, and attractive places for present and future generations.

Planning enables civic leaders, businesses, and citizens to play a meaningful role in creating communities that enrich people's lives.

One thing I'm not sure about is elected vs. appointed positions. In some instances, like tax collector, it makes sense to have a job description that meets the needs of the position and then find the best person to fill those needs. On the other hand, I like an elected board, leaving each county in each state to be governed by the people. Good planning and development are so crucial that I wish the residents had more input into who is going to determine their quality of life. Campaigning allows us to get a better perspective on who the people are and where they are coming from. If nothing else, an elected board would need to be responsive to the residents because residents are also voters, and once elected, a person has to remain faithful to the platform that got them there or face the music down the road.

The growth model must fail at some point. There will always be some limiting factor that will inhibit growth, it may be energy or water or land, but there will eventually be a choke point. We need to start now in taking steps now to plan for such a day or we can continue to pursue pointless growth until we hit the brick wall of shortage.

The examples of declining students in both California and Nevada is a good example as well as the way the homes are looking on the California side of Stateline. The biggest problem is affordable housing.

Thomas Jefferson said "When the representative body have lost the confidence of their constituents, when they have notoriously made sale of their most valuable rights, when they have assumed to themselves powers which the people never put into their hands, then, indeed, their continuing in office becomes dangerous to the State, and calls for an exercise of the power of dissolution."

Now is the time for the TRPA Board to be dissolved and all planning and grant money be turned over to the local governments to run their counties and cities. All the money used by the TRPA needs to go back to local government which will stop duplicated services. We are talking about millions of dollars and grant money. This will help the economy in all areas in each state.

Terry D. Clodt is a former resident of Lake Tahoe on both the California and Nevada sides.

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The Record Courier Updated Dec 24, 2012 04:54PM Published Dec 24, 2012 04:41PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.