September

My View

Notes from the Front Row™

Local Musings

The election process has changed for the good. In the good old days the process of getting elected was a matter of putting up signs, placing some ads, maybe going to a so called debate and having one minute to answer a question but that’s changing. Several weeks ago I attended a candidate debate with all seven candidates that lasted two hours. There were questions on probably twenty different topics and follow up questions that candidates could not avoid. What it does is even they paying field where a one minute answer just won’t get it done.

A second new wrinkle this election is the Tahoe Chamber making recommended picks. (For the record I was previously the chair of the chamber years ago and I was against doing this but I have changed my position. Why? Because unions support political candidates, environmental groups support candidates; newspapers make their picks why should the chamber and the business community sit it out.

The city has hired an independent CPA firm to do a thorough accounting of paid parking; I can’t wait to see what the results are.

It’s no secret that the regulatory environment of the TRPA and the policies of the city council gave negatively impacted the south shore loading industry. TRPA policies have long prevented the evolution of the lodging properties available. As tourism demand has fallen many marginally or unprofitable motels have shifted to weekly or monthly rentals this I turn lowers their cost structure relative to properties that operate as a hotel. Many just barely hang on waiting and hoping to get some kind of payday for their tourist accommodation units, another flawed policy. This has distorted the real economic value of properties.

It’s great to see the Meteor building come down.  It’s an example of paying for your mistakes. That building should have never been built right on the shore, but it was. Yes the owners enjoyed a financial benefit and those that rented space enjoyed a beautiful view but at what cost to the broader public. To correct that mistake is costing a couple of million bucks. That building is a microcosm of our broader situation. Roads where they shouldn’t be, buildings where they shouldn’t be, lack of concern for environmental impact. Overall really poor planning and development which we are now paying but it’s a couple of billion before it’s all said and done. If only this town believed in planning back in the day. Enjoy the view.

The Big Picture

I think the fact that Tesla has decided to locate in the Reno Sparks area is great news. Reno really has begun to transition its economy from gaming and tourism more and more into hi tech. Most recently Apple has decided to locate there and Stead Airport has become one of the designated experimental drone airports in the country. This would give northern Nevada a presence in two cutting edge technologies not a bad effort at all.

Recommendation

It’s almost October so don’t miss the final weeks of major league baseball and get set for a great World Series.

It’s a Wrap

What was once a fairly irregular occurrence is becoming more common. Sierra fires over the last several years have brought significant smoke which causes tourists to cancel their reservations and creates negative economic impacts in many tourism dependent regions throughout the Sierra. This impact is often not event factored into the losses. Last year’s Yosemite fire had more impact than just burned trees and lack of tourists there it had an impact across the region into the Carson Valley. This year many reservations and the Iron Man Triathlon were cancelled. Sad.

Carl Ribaudo is a contributing columnist to the Tahoe Daily Tribune. He is also a consultant, speaker and writer who lives in South Shore. He can be reached at carl@smgonline.net