Opinion: Suggestions for how to fix South Lake Tahoe

By Steve Kubby

South Lake Tahoe should be one of the greatest destinations in the world. Aside from the stunning beauty of the lake, we are blessed with amazing writers, athletes and artists in this community. Meanwhile, Heavenly Mountain Resort is quickly becoming one of the best ski resorts in the world and their claim to the best tree skiing on planet Earth is no exaggeration.

Unfortunately, our fair city looks less like a world class destination and more like a ghost town these days. Even the bank can’t afford decent landscaping. Hard times have hit South Lake Tahoe and much of it, like the huge 12-acre crater near Stateline, can be traced to the sins of local government and redevelopment.

Steve Kubby

The city of South Lake Tahoe was incorporated in 1965 by combining the previously unincorporated communities of Al Tahoe, Bijou, Bijou Park, Stateline, Tahoe Valley, and Tallac Village. The stated purpose for creating the city was to provide its own snow removal, road repairs and policing, since it was felt that El Dorado County was not providing adequate services. Within a year, the city council had already abandoned their original mission and granted $40,000 to their supporters on the local tourist bureau.

Since then, the city council has all but abandoned the roads and focused the bulk of its time and money on redevelopment schemes that assume the need for a centrally planned economy and a regulatory environment that is one of the worst in the country. Just this year, the city council will spend $1.8 million on redevelopment, while spending a pathetic $100,000 on road repair. Since beginning redevelopment 15 years ago, the city has stopped nearly all funding for road repairs, accumulating over $100 million in damage to the existing city roadways, according to its own estimates.

Fixing South Lake Tahoe isn’t that complicate, if we can just go back to those original three priorities of snow removal, road repairs and policing.

But first, the voters need to make some decisions:

— Do you really want to live in a city where traffic and parking enforcement has been stepped up in order to pay the salaries of the enforcers?

— Do you want snow removal done by outsiders who have submitted the lowest bids and will replace our local dedicated and experienced crews?

— Is it fair that everyone who rents has to pay the TOT and $200 million in bonded debt, money that was used to benefit Marriott and Vail?

— Do you want a city council that believes in police powers to seize property and incur massive debts without a general vote?

If your answer to these questions is no, then here is what we must do to end this failure in local government:

— Forget about redevelopment and focus on basic services.

— Hire an outside accounting firm to perform a forensic audit of the city’s finances.

— Stop aggravating tourist with aggressive enforcement of traffic and parking ordinances.

— Stop squandering money on studies, consultants and tourist promotions.

— Stop retiring city officials at 100 percent of their salary.

— Stop hiring new city officials with astronomically high salaries and benefits.

— Stop electing city council members who don’t believe in free markets, personal freedom or private property.

Of course, there are those who will tell you that everything is under control and not to listen to those who have sounded the alarm. They will tell you to ignore the findings of the El Dorado Grand Jury of wrongdoing and malfeasance by the city council. Instead, they will steadfastly claim that redevelopment has been a great success and that the free market can’t be trusted to provide affordable housing and controlled growth. However, why is it that no other city in the Basin has undertaken redevelopment?

Certainly, the North Shore looks a whole lot better than the South Shore, so those who advocate for redevelopment have a lot of explaining to do.

In the meantime, an honest appraisal of the financial crisis facing the city has yet to be made by city officials. Until that happens and the city admits it is broke, nothing is going to get fixed. Like an alcoholic who is in denial, the city council needs to admit to past failures, its current debt and the enormous unfunded liabilities it has incurred. Only when we have faced the true magnitude of the unfunded road and retirement liabilities, will we be ready to slash all the fat and get back to basic services.

Steve Kubby is a resident of South Lake Tahoe.

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Comments (20)
  1. sam venhuizen says - Posted: December 6, 2011

    Screw Lake Tahoe and its corrupt government. This includes the D.A., Public Defenders and Judges. Then you have the corrupt police force who use threats against people to get forced confessions. Tahoe is getting what it deserves, a slow death. Who wants to go to a community of corruption when there are places more beautiful and less scandalous. I hope you sink until you do what I politely asked for. Give me the documents and other information I asked for and admit the truth.

  2. Concerned says - Posted: December 6, 2011

    Dissolve city now, turn over essential services to County who have less generous benefit packages. City benefit packages are not sustainable. The City knows it and the employees know it. We citizens sacrifice descent roads and parks for their over the top benefits. 3% at 50 with 100% medical paid-wow?

  3. Bob says - Posted: December 6, 2011

    Not sure who Sam is but good luck buddy. I agree we need a forensic audit-one that goes back into the past to review where all of the money is going. I also don’t trust the numbers the city is putting out there to the public as far as income expectations. With the advent of the internet you’d think all of these numbers would be out there for anyone to review. It would be alot cheaper if these numbers were transparent. Sort of like the Linux operating system for all to fix and/or contribute to the system.

  4. SmedleyButler says - Posted: December 6, 2011

    Hey Steve, the voters agreed with some of your ideas during the last Council election cycle but also heard your other libertarian nonsense.Paraphrasing a quote from writer John Rogers… There are several novels inquisitive teenagers often read that can change their lives. Two of them are “The Lord of the Rings” and “Atlas Shrugged”. One is a childish fantasy that often brings about a lifelong obsession with it’s unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled sociopathic adulthood, unable to deal with reality. The other, of course, involves orcs.

  5. Alex Campbell says - Posted: December 6, 2011

    Steve The FIX has been in for years !! Nothing is going to change, Cole will be in for 10 more years. Davis looking for work,gets elected.
    The county retreads,Sweeney and Nutting will no doubt find another Briggs type bridge to nowhere.

  6. sandsconnect says - Posted: December 6, 2011

    Disolve the City

    Get rid of 80% of the police force, nobody feels any safer with thier harassment.

    Bring in someone from the outside to run the CVB who has real destination managment experience, large scale. This person can book large groups in our hotels through thier extensive network of contacts, layout a plan to improve our city’s visual appeal and bring in hosp/tourismj businesses that will flourish.

    Too many old locals here with old ideas that have failed us before.

  7. Bruce Cohen says - Posted: December 6, 2011

    Smedley is at least funny, though wrong.

    Atlas Shrugged and Lord of the Rings are both movies about Man’s struggle towards righteousness and away from evil.

    Both Smed and Rodgers just don’t get it.

    The individual, their spirit, and society must be free.

    Lake Tahoe, to an ‘outsider’, such as myself, seems to be a broken City Government.

    Broken, and corrupt.

    Do we have another City of Bell here?
    Where Elected, Appointed and Hired people are all feathering their own nests with benefits and wages far, far about those of ‘civilians’ in the real world? Seems like it.

    Does Lake Tahoe have a morally corrupt plan of kicking the financial can down the road, so current beneficiarys can get theirs and to heck with either the City, the Citizens, guests or the future.

    I’m just guessing from the outside, that Mister Smedley A) Is afraid to use his (her?) real name for a reason and B) is personally benefit from the institutionalized City corruption.

    Stealing from taxpayers at the point of a gun and then wasting it on ‘redevelopement’ is always a combination of patronage, arrogance and corruption.

    Yeah, I guess I just wrote a book about Orcs, now didn’t I?

    And who might the Orcs be in the story? Some anonymous, corrupt, big government, big tax and spend folks on the SLT City Council and Staff.

    Hey Smed: Next election, we will call the corrupt and wasteful side Orcs.

    NO MORE ORCS: Throw out SLT Council and Staff!

  8. AFH says - Posted: December 6, 2011

    Smedley, the writer John Waters is best known for his screenwriting on “Transformers” and “Jackie Chan Adventures”. I think understanding who your literary heroes are explains a LOT about where you are coming from. I might suggest that you refrain from big-boy conversations, and let the adults worry about topics like governance.

    You see, the stakes are high. Part of what you may have missed when you failed to complete either Atlas Shrugged or The Hobbit, was the social morals illustrated in each: That there is a concept of right and wrong; that leading men with emotional manipulation and hate mentality are corrupting to the very fabric of society; that those who “do”, are far more important to all of us, than those who merely flap their useless gums regurgitating humor written by hacks to misdirect gullible teenagers.

    The issues that face SLT are serious. That the city council is so “stuck in stupid” that they cannot adjust even for the times is disturbing. The days of redevelopment funds is over. It was an artifact of the real estate bubble.

    The bubble is burst. The free money is gone. Redevolping right now is insane. The entire model right now is BUILD AND REPAIR INFRASTRUCTURE to encourage economic growth. Redevelopment and expansion is for the the economy is rocking and rolling. Mr. Kubby is right in pointing out that roads are the most important thing to be working on.

    I suggest you listen to him on it and turn off the Saturday morning cartoons. They suck for teaching moral philosophy, and are worse for teaching the skills needed for good community management.

  9. SmedleyButler says - Posted: December 6, 2011

    AFH, I have a “big-boy” B.A. degree in English Literature and my literary heroes are varied but do not include someone named John Waters you mention in your condescending diatribe. I suggest you get a clue about what you’re talking about before “flapping your useless gums”.

  10. Whitt33 says - Posted: December 6, 2011

    The city appealed to the Department of Finance the $1.8M “voluntary” payment required by ABx 27 to keep it redevelopment agency and the payment has been reduced to a little under $1.2 million. This money will come from the backs of the working class poorin our community. It will be funded by the Redevelopment Agencies Low Moderate Income Housing Fund. That $1.2 million was to help fund the Aspens low income housing project that was slated to break ground in August 2012. That project has been likely eliminated or at best delayed because the city council will use this money if it decides to keep its redevelopment agency. It will not come from the General Fund. The LMIHF is required by Redevelopment Law to be spent on affordable housing only.

    Governor Brown and the States legislatures’ have allowed the payments to the State to be taken from this fund. Not one dime of this money will be redirected or be taken from road repair or basic services.

    Mr. O’ Rourke just stated at a recent city council meeting that “redevelopment money has created a surplus that has helped support the General Fund. Those transfers from the RDA to the General Fund include the year 2006: $315,000, 2007: $338,000, 2008: $457,000, 2009: $834,000, 2010: 1,022,000 and the 2011 budgeted amount is $1,300,000, bringing the total to $4,266,000 transferred into the General Fund. This amount does not include the annual $500,000 payback of the loan from the city to the RDA.

    The benefit of the Heavenly Village project is not just for the Marriot or Vail. The adjusted tax increment from the increase in property values from the Heavenly Village shopping center, the Marriot, and Embassy Suites etc., pay for those debts. Also properties around these projects have been rewarded with additional sales and increased property values which in turn generates additional revenue for the city. Properties like the Crescent V shopping center and the Ski Run Marina. That money wouldn’t be there if the area was left as it was 20 years ago. Neither would the tourist be there that have raised the sales taxes by millions of dollars that are collected by the city that go to basic services.

    Nobody around the convention center had their property “seized”. All were paid market value (probably more) and happily ran to the bank. The idea that people are loosing their property in Lake Tahoe to greedy developers supported by a corrupt city council and redevelopment agency is ridiculous. Eminent Domain is not in the Y redevelopment area and has been severely restricted.

    No criminal charges were ever filed against anyone from the Grand Jury report. The City Council has gone to great lengths to be more transparent and accountable to the public for every dime that is spent. The loan from the city to the redevelopment agency has been paid off in half and continues to be paid back by the redevelopment agency. We are lucky to have the Heavenly Village project area. Without it, the cities revenues would be millions of dollars lower than what it is today. We wouldn’t have the basic services we have now.

    Affordable Housing goals are to provide quality housing at substantially reduced rents, to people with low incomes that cannot afford to pay market rents. The cost of these projects would not be supported by the low rents received. Even non profit groups like St Joseph Community Trust that rely on land donated by philanthropist cannot build these projects without funding from the Low Moderate Income Housing Fund provided by redevelopment agencies, Tax Credits, Bonds and Federal and State Grants. They do not pencil out without these fund and “free market” developers and non profit developers are not going to loose money to build them. To suggest otherwise shows a lack of understanding on how affordable housing gets built. No affordable housing project would exist in the basin without money from redevelopment agencies Low Moderate Income Housing Fund. Please name one project in the country that was built by “free market” investors or developers.

    The Tahoe Basin has many redevelopment projects around the basin that have improved their communities and their environment. Other cities are much more aggressive than South Lake Tahoe with their redevelopment.

    Frishman Hollow An affordable 32 unit multi-family community
    Henessy Flats is an affordable 92 unit multi-family community
    Canyon Springs
    A proposed subdivision of six parcels totaling 283.76 acres into 177 single-family parcels, eight parcels for affordable housing and approximately 171 acres of open space.
    Pollard Station – A Senior Neighborhood
    Pollard Station is proposed to be an age-restricted senior neighborhood located on the 8.05-acre Davies/Fitch in the Hilltop Master Plan area. The proposal includes a variety of housing options for seniors, typically aged 70-90 year, to serve a range of needs from fully independent seniors to those needing assistance with various activities of daily living, including specialized care for seniors with various forms of dementia. In total, the project proposes 120 separate residential units, including 78 assisted living units in the 76,689 s.f congregate care lodge and 42 two-bedroom condominium units for independent senior living.
    Gregory Creek Subdivision
    A planned development located on 32.1 acres in the western portion of the Town of Truckee.
    Coldstream Specific Plan (PC-1)
    A planned community located on Coldstream Road on the Teichert property between Donner Memorial State Park and The Boulders Condominiums. The specific plan proposes up to 70,000 s.f. of retail and commercial uses and approximately 345 residential units.
    Joerger Ranch Specific Plan (PC-3)
    A mixed use planned community located at the intersection of Highway 267, Brockway Road, and Soaring Way.
    Truckee-Donner Recreation and Parks District Cultural Arts Center
    The District is proposing to convert the Church Street Truckee-Donner Recreation and Parks District Community Center to a 252-seat performing arts theater with an art/dance classroom component.
    Glenshire Happenings
    A summary of land use permit applications and development proposals in the Glenshire area.
    Donner Pass RD / Bridge Street Streetscape Improvement Project
    Depot Conceptual Streetscape Plan
    Trout Creek Pocket Park Project
    Railyard Master Plan Project
    West River Site Project
    Donner Pass Rd Streetscape Improvement Program
    Downtown Economic Development Program
    Downtown Main Street
    Program Implementation
    Crystal Bay :
    Boulder Bay Resort.
    Boulder Bay calls for the construction of a 275-room hotel with a 10,000 square-foot casino, 59 whole-ownership units, 14 on-site affordable housing units, 10 off-site affordable housing units, a spa and other amenities, while also addressing outdated environmental concerns at the Tahoe Biltmore site.
    Tahoe Vista
    B&G Excavation Inc.
    Tahoe Vista Partners -Cerelean (Sandy Beach Partnership
    Vista Village Workforce Housing Project (aka Cedar Grove Apartments)
    Tahoe Sands Redevelopment
    National Avenue Projects (projects with National Avenue ingress/egress only)
    Tahoe North Materials Batch Plant Alternative
    North Tahoe Regional Park
    6731 Tahoe Fractional Ownership Residences
    Kings Beach
    Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement Program
    Kings Beach Town Center
    Domus Affordable Housing
    Tahoe City
    Rippey Commercial Mixed Use Building
    Truckee River Rafting
    Mountain Air Sports Rafting
    Highland Village
    Tahoe City Marina
    64 Acres
    Transit Center
    Homewood Mountain Resort
    Villas at Harborside
    Northstar Overall Mountain Master Plan
    Northstar Highlands Phase II
    The Village at Northstar
    Squaw Valley
    SENA at Squaw Valley
    Headwall/Cornice II Express
    Caldwell Rezoning Project
    Other Projects:
    Kings Beach Eastern Gateway, Land Assembly and Brownfield Cleanup
    Scattered Sites Affordable Housing Development, Kings Beach
    Kings Beach and Tahoe City Parking Lots
    Kings Beach and Tahoe City Gateway Monument Signs
    Swiss Mart Brownfield Cleanup
    Heritage Plaza Improvements, Tahoe City
    Tahoe City Marina Sewer Pump Station Improvements
    Commercial Properties Rehabilitation Assistance
    Housing Rehabilitation Assistance
    BB, LLC Mixed Use Community Enhancement Program (CEP) Kings Beach
    Tahoe City Transit Center Project
    Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement Project
    Parking Lot Property Acquisition and Construction in Commercial Districts
    Ferrari Resort Kings Beach CEP Project
    Tahoe City Wye Improvements
    Lake Forest Water District/Tahoe City PUD Project
    Tahoe Housing Rehab Assistance Program
    Tahoe Vista Recreation Area Improvements
    Commercial Loan Program

    There many more environmental projects and redevelopment projects around the basin that are not named here. Saying that no other city in the basin has redevelopment is not true.

  11. sandsconnect says - Posted: December 6, 2011

    You have a degree in English? LOL

    You should join our City Government!

  12. sandsconnect says - Posted: December 6, 2011

    Whit33 you are clearly part of city government. Please advise all the areas you listed with such great redevelopment projects already have somewhat well maintained infastructure and high dollar citizens living in these ares. They are also completely different in size and scope of S. Lake Tahoe.

    We are capable of doing better here. Mr. Cohen is right they are kicking the can down the road.

  13. Mark Hilgenberg says - Posted: December 6, 2011


    The irony is you are talking about a stunted adulthood. Last time I checked I didn’t see children settling conflict and implementing solutions by using reason, peace and voluntary persuasion.

    Typically children settle spats with tantrums and fighting. Maybe you need to rethink what being an adult is all about.

    Libertarians offer adult solutions, not childish tantrums and force like you

  14. Whitt33 says - Posted: December 6, 2011

    My name is Greg Whittaker. I am a real estate broker. I am 57. I have had family here in Lake Tahoe for over 37 years. I am not employed by the city or ever have been. I have my disappointments with the city as many others, but maybe even more. My interest in Redevelopment is from personal experience. I learned the hard way how it works. I invested a substantial amount of my savings into an affordable housing project called the Aspens here in South Lake Tahoe. I mistakenly believed that by helping people, I would be rewarded myself. I really wanted to do something in my life that I could be proud of. After 7 years of trying to bring an affordable housing project to South Lake Tahoe, I have discovered a lot about communities, people, developers, city councils, politicians, Governors, laws, redevelopment agencies and the “free market”. I was naïve to believe that everybody involved would honestly and enthusiastically work toward helping the poor. I was inexperienced in affordable housing and made a mistake in trusting people. I have been deceived, taken advantage of, ridiculed, humiliated and financially devastated in my attempt to help needy people. I have learned a lot about human nature and redevelopment in particular.

    Whether or not the city council or the Supreme Court eliminates redevelopment the damage has been done to me personally. I would like to see redevelopment exist and the Aspens built, but I hold no expectations either way. I will go on regardless and feed my family. Hunger does not care about politics.

    The damage to the city in eliminating redevelopment will last for decades. Revenue will drop. Tourism will drop as well. There will be no affordable housing. Infrastructure will decay more rapidly than now. There will be no world class resort. The environment will suffer and so will basic services. I like what I see at the Heavenly Project. I wish we had a vibrant convention center and more at the “hole”. I would like to see the airport bring in tourist on public airlines. I would like to see the “Y” developed. I love it down there. It needs to be upgraded. A lot of tourism in the summer is on that side of town. We need more jobs and to create them we need to bring in more tourism dollars. The only way to do that is to upgrade the improvements and make things newer and more attractive. We need environmental protection that will come with these redevelopment projects.

    What we really need is the love that we all have for this area to overcome our divisiveness and work together to raise this town to a world class resort and protect the local community and environment. It is a simple concept, but as I have realized, a very difficult road to travel.

  15. Parker says - Posted: December 6, 2011

    #1. Fix how we elect the City Council. With our current system of taking the top getters, all that is required to get on the Council is a core, but NOT A MAJORITY, of support. When you’ve lived in town forever. it’s easy to get a core of support.

    But if you want new fresh people & ideas, having a runoff, or instant runoff would lead to the Council members coming closer to reflecting a majority of the electorate’s views.

    #2. Stimulate the private sector, and stop looking to the govt. to grow the local economy! The biggest problem with redevelopment is that we lose our focus. It becomes all about, “What’s the City doing to create jobs?” when it should be, “How’s the City costing us jobs?”

    Slash the bus. license fee by 25%! Have faith in the citizens of our City, not in the bureaucrats, to grow our economy!

    How do we pay for the cut? Well let’s see-try to get City retirees to retire on the meager 75% of their salary let’s say, instead of the 100 and OVER%. Rescind the 30% raises top mgt. got a few years ago. See if we can get mgrs. to work for the low pay of 100k, instead of 150k and above!?

    And consolidate services with the County. There’s still clearly excess staff of all kinds on the City payroll!

    3. Stop sitting on all this reserve money and Fix Our Roads! Instead of trying to stick us with a tax increase to pay for the potholes, figure out a way to do it with our current budget. (I refer you back to #2.)

    In fact I wonder if the City is currently holding back repair so they can say, “If you want to fix the roads, we need a tax increase!” And they can then free up designated road repair money for other purposes.

    Sound too conspiratorial? Well the SacBee has written how Gov. Brown is planning a tax increase for the state. But since polls show the majority is opposed to that, it’ll be sold as, “Money for the schools!” for which a majority is in favor. However, the SacBee further wrote how that will then free up current education money for other purposes.

    4. There’s more, but I’ll leave it at those three!

  16. PubworksTV says - Posted: December 6, 2011

    You are one of the best sources of information and value on these posts. Thanks.

    Sorry to hear you lost money on the Aspens. I can understand your frustration with the undercurrents of the players involved. But that’s what happens with to much government and taxpayer money involved in stuff… crony capitalism.

    On a lighter note, this you might relate to this … I once coined the joke, “if you have 10 board members from the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce in the room how many opinions will you have?“

    Fifteen…, because 5 people are lying about there opinions. Underhanded devils.

    At least that was what I came to understand about the El Dorado County leadership.

  17. AFH says - Posted: December 6, 2011

    Whit33, Thank you for sharing what are obviously well thought out positions. I have a small bit of disagreement with you, though I understand how you come to your opinions and would like to acknowledge that common wisdom would say you are correct. But common wisdom is dead wrong this time. It has been subverted by greed and fraud, and manifested in our crashed real estate market. In this I also agree with the wise Mr. Cohen’s can kicking analogy.

    Allow me to explain: Common wisdom would have us believe that redevelopment dollars are free money that enhances our economy. It is what we are taught. But it is this backwards thinking even in terms of the economist that proposed it a century ago.

    Creating a house does NOT create a demand for that house. Redevelopment projects in a slammed economy, causes housing values to fall further and faster. More houses and less buyers equals less value per house.

    Hooked on federal money for bad ideas is no way for a community to survive. Investing in construction projects in this, the deepest real estate depression in our state’s history, borders on insanity.

    Even the original proponent of government spending to stimulate the economy, John Maynard Keynes, cautioned that the spending needed to be in very very specific ways:

    First the money must go directly into the lowest level of the economy, not the banks; not city governments; not a developer or anyone else. For the redistribution to work, it has to go directly from the coffers into the hands of the “worker”. The programs that launched all of this madness in the New Deal, created work programs and accomplished this goal in that way, putting men to work directly.

    This part of the formula was touted because it is necessary for money to go into the base level of the economy and filter up through the players. It is meant to give them money to spend it locally, enriching the merchants of the area, and they in turn enrich the distributors, and then they enrich the transporters and the manufacturers. Each in turn then needing to spend into the economy to facilitate their new business.

    The second extremely important part of the formula is that the work done with this money does contribute directly to easing the costs of doing business. For instance power plants that provide cheaper power for the economy; new roads that make deliveries faster and cheaper; communications frameworks for areas that do not have them to make the speed of transactions and negotiations more efficient; or even the direct funding of education so that there is a ready supply of skilled labor; etc.

    The reason that this is so important is that money borrowed for stimulus MUST facilitate a more efficient economy afterwards when recovery starts. These two requirements are meant to balance each other’s long term effects.

    The money being introduced into the system causes inflation once it hits the upper levels of the economy. More dollars in the system makes it so the dollars are worth less. When that money goes in at the bottom, laborers get the first cut at full value and then their local merchants. By the time it cycles around to the top, the value has dropped a bit because of the inflation of the money supply.

    This might mean that the guys at the top, the big producers get less value out of those dollars, that is correct. The balance is supposed to come from that infrastructure. The newly built faculties in the economy are supposed to make that value loss get more than compensated for in a savings: Cheaper transportation, an army of trained laborers, better communications, and so on.

    The last principle that Mr. Keynes advised was that stimulus is only ever to be used as an emergency measure, and is only useful in the worst times. That it is not a sustainable paradigm in which to drive an healthy economy.

    The problem, and Mr. Keynes did not take this into account, is this: Politician do NOT allocate funds to poor people. They allocate them to rich constituents and supporters. That what started out as a plan for recovery, turned into the worlds largest graft scheme.

    Redevelopment agencies would have made even the most liberal of economists die of apoplexy. The money does not go into the lowest levels of the economy. The money does not go to improving infrastructure. It goes directly into the hands of already wealthy people, and creates products that are a drag on a faltering economy.

    That graft has been creeping into our economy for more than several decades. Redevelopment agencies should never have existed, they are one of the biggest causes of the economic breakdown, directing dollars into building things that no one needs and now buildings and homes are vacant and rotting throughout the state.

    Lets take a moment and face a bitter truth sir. As a real estate broker you may not have been in the direct service of government, but you were one of those guys pulling big money in from what was in effect, the value of America being stolen by inflation. While the economy went more and more off balance, it was you, and your friends bringing in the dough for yourselves.

    It must have felt really good, to be able to have local government just throw money at making new developments for you to sell, and more money at people who could not afford to buy them. I am certain that you had no conscious or nefarious role in any of this. That you were innocent of knowledge that every dollar you were making in commission was being stolen from the retirement funds of old people through inflation.

    But, sir, you do definitely have a horse in this race. You are specifically motivated to want to continue the travesty of “redistributed wealth”. It has profited you greatly in the past, and the current market has got to be killing you.

    I recommend you dispossess yourself of all investment in real estate as a career option. That field is dead for a long long time to come. The only money you can hope to get will be blood money, stolen from the rest of us by force and fraud. I recommend that you invest in your community and pick up a career that is tailored to producing value where it is needed.

    For SLT to thrive it MUST be investing in ways of making itself more attractive to industry. For the area, this is a simple simple formula, there is only one industry that employs the bulk of SLT’s residents: Tourism

    SLT must do everything it can to encourage people to show up, spend money, and this has absolutely NOTHING to do with housing poor people in a town that thrives on the wealthy spending their recreation dollars there.

    One very inexpensive thing we may do this, and I bet Mr. Kubby would approve, would be to legalize marijuana in California. The area is very well suited to being an agricultural goldmine. Were we to treat marijuana like we do wine, SLT could be the next Napa.

  18. Whitt33 says - Posted: December 6, 2011

    I look at the ballparks and the shopping centers and I think to myself that these owners are making a lot of money and it seems unfair. I don’t like it. The big corporations behind the Marriot, Vail, Embassy Suites etc., are making lots of money but are employing people and generating income for the community. How do we attract tourism to this town? How do we build new infrastructure and improvements and create jobs? To get corporations and developers to build new projects and pay for the environmental improvements needed and the infrastructure required so that it is not financially prohibitive, requires offsetting these costs somehow. Conventional banks won’t make below market interest rate loans. Developers won’t give away profits much less capital.

    I am torn between seeing vibrant shopping and residential areas that are a direct result of redevelopment dollars and knowing that an owner of a ball club, hotel, or commercial project is making lots of money. However those redevelopments are stimulating the local economy by providing jobs in multiple layers at the lower end of the work force.

    Those jobs that are created at the Heavenly Village would not exist without redevelopment money helping build those projects. Environmental improvements, infrastructure and basic services would be lacking more than they are now if we were without the increased revenue that the sales tax and TOT that is generated by these projects didn’t exist. Redevelopment money got private developers to invest where they wouldn’t have without it.

    I don’t support “redistributed wealth”, but I do believe that part of the extra tax increment generated by these redevelopment projects should be spent on the community needs for affordable housing. Many people cannot afford homes and need quality rental housing at a low price. In South Lake Tahoe there is a tremendous need for low income affordable rental housing.

  19. I' m a prisoner caught in a cross fire says - Posted: December 9, 2011

    There’s some great points here but the same old donkeys running the lake are happy to keep it just the way it is.

    Anyone that’s been here 40 years has watched with interest,but the Greed and sharing still the same.

    What Kubby wrote been written many times in one way or another,the results have always been the same.
    “Money talks and bs walks”.

    There is no problem getting locals to agree that something wrong, you just can’t get anyone out the door to vote,make changes for the people,by the people.

    Why not turn it into a Yellow Stone Park,Yosemite,let Big Government pay for everything.
    The whole frigging lake one big mess of agencies,things might move faster,and big Corporation have to pay off the top people in a more transparent way.

    ps.In South Lake Tahoe there is a tremendous need for low income affordable “OWN YOUR CASTLE” Housing.

  20. I' m a prisoner caught in a cross fire says - Posted: December 9, 2011

    Meanwhile, Heavenly Mountain Resort is quickly becoming one of the best ski resorts in the world and their claim to the best tree skiing on planet Earth is no exaggeration.

    Steve, ONE BIG question?