In response to Firestorms Don’t Heal Societal Divides by the Moonshine Ink Editorial Board

Room for Change

Like many people who have expressed an opinion, that doesn’t mean that they will hold that opinion for forever. With open minded people involved in thoughtful conversation, change [in] opinion can occur. We don’t [have] to jump the gun in many situations.

~ Leigh Griffin, Truckee, via letter


Whole Picture

I appreciated your editorial and its call to try to see the whole picture, not just the snippet that you don’t like.

I feel that people expect others to be as perfect, or one dimensional, or predictable as the heroes on TV and in the movies. They don’t realize that script writers worked weeks to get even a casual conversation to have significance in a movie. No way can a mere mortal do that even with 30 minutes prep for an email. Real people just aren’t like that. And then to have word choices set folks off without them reading the whole note is just sad. But it is the way we seem to be. We have short attention spans; we don’t read more than the captions at the bottom of a picture. Heck, we even expect our sports figures to be erudite right off the court! Not very realistic.

~ Monty Cleaves, Truckee, via letter

In response to Tahoe Donner General Manager Ousted for No Cause and Clearing the Air

Represent Policy Objections

I have been reading on the internet your articles about the dismissal of Robert Etnyre as general manager at Tahoe Donner. While you do a good job of representing the point of view of those who supported him and opposed his dismissal, you do not articulate well the policy objections of those who supported his replacement. Rather, the articles portray the objections to Etnyre as nasty personality spats and complaints about increased annual fees. That picture is a serious misrepresentation and over simplification. I have been a TD property owner for more than 20 years. Having retired as a philosophy professor — one of my areas of specialization is environmental ethics — I now enjoy living in TD about six months every year. Like many others, I have had ongoing and principled policy disagreements with Etnyre over a range of issues, especially about his vapid environmental values, his penchant for commercial development, and his corporate management style. By failing to seriously articulate the serious policy objections that arose from his management, your articles have done a disservice to the public, especially to those who live in Tahoe Donner. I urge you in the future to report more fully on the policy perspectives of those who envision TD and Truckee more broadly, as an enlightened mountain community in harmony with nature. Let us hope that the new board and manager can work better together with this vision in mind, unlike Etnyre who seems to have regarded his position as one of tightly managing a burgeoning commercial development.

~ John Martin, Truckee, via letter

Clean Up the Lake(s!)

I personally lived on the North Shore of Donner for a few years and it will always hold a special place in my heart. The crystal blue waters, the trees, and the magic of the surrounding purple mountains are a seemingly untouched treasure in this modern world. However, over the last few years I’ve seen a problem that was once a small annoyance and turned into a real threat to the environment of Donner Lake.

I started my nonprofit, Clean Up The Cayes, a few years back after a visit to Belize that blew me away. The tropical beauty of the area is almost completely masked by an outpour of trash that fills the beaches, streets, and waters. Coming back home, I realized the same thing was starting to take place in the Tahoe Basin and decided to do something to address it before it followed the fate of the Cayes. The blame for this issue has been put on specific people, from inconsiderate tourists to local government and everything in between, but the truth is that we all have had a hand in the problem and are going to have to band together for the solution. Yes, there are people that simply don’t care and there are officials that don’t make it a priority; however, there are also people at the same time that care a great deal and volunteer their time and advocate for change. We just need more of them. The truth is that this is not an issue that comes down to the individual level, it affects each and every one of us. I hope to encourage the community to appreciate the severity of the issue and do what needs to be done to protect this place we call home.

We are doing our part. We started a clean-up of Donner Lake two weeks ago and in the 3 miles of North Shore we’ve dived, we’ve already pulled 2,685 pounds of trash, and we aren’t finished. That trash needs to be properly disposed of and we are so grateful to the local businesses who’ve helped cover the costs of that. We are also working with environmental scientists to gather research on what we find. This will give us a great advantage in showcasing the problem and curb it from continuing to happen. It’s been a busy summer so far and an honor to take these steps toward a real solution but we still need more support to implement lasting change and continue to fight this fight.

Everyone can choose the role they play. It’s takes a series of daily conscious choices with consideration of the environment at the forefront. Go without the plastic straw, pick up that coffee cup rolling down the street, and call your local representatives! If you are in a position to donate simply visit our website and help us continue this work to keep Donner Lake and all the Tahoe basin lakes, beautiful and litter free for generations to come.

~ Colin West and Amelia Gotham, Truckee, via letter

That’s Not My Vision, Mr. Commendatore

Listening to councilmember Tony Commendatore’s comments during Tuesday’s Truckee Town Council meeting made me wonder what happened to our community. In response to complaints about short-term rentals during the COVID emergency, and suggestions to severely restrict them until this crisis is over, he responded that STR owners are small business owners, and that if they can’t rent out they would not be able to make their mortgage payments, and Truckee would end up with a foreclosure crisis.

This statement is upsetting, wrong, and makes me wonder what he wants Truckee to be. Let’s take it apart. Full-time STRs are not small businesses, they are investments. And everybody who has ever made an investment knows that you can win, but you can also lose if your gamble was bad. There is no need to go into foreclosure, you can simply sell. And I say simply sell, because everybody who has looked at the Truckee housing market in the times of COVID sees that houses sell in a few days, often above asking price. Having STR owners sell may actually free up enough inventory that the housing prices become a little soft, and this would be more than welcome news for our housing market, where local workers can’t afford to live here, and business owners can’t find employees.

And finally: What does Mr. Commendatore envision for the future of Truckee? Does he imagine Squaw Valley or Disney World lights, full of hotels and vacation rentals, and no community? It’s not my vision for us, and probably also not yours.

~ Silke Pflueger, Truckee, via letter

Stop Blaming and Take Responsibility; COVID-19 Response Takes a Village

I appreciate all the letters to the editor and opinions of concerned citizens to make Truckee a safer place. I have been in the Squaw Valley/Tahoe/Truckee area my entire life. On the positive side, the Truckee community is booming. COVID-19 threatens this community.

Locals blame the part-timers for COVID-19 transmission and the part-timers blame the locals. If community members don’t take personal responsibility, I foresee a wildfire of COVID-19, a strangled business community, and overwhelmed medical and public safety services.

My perspective is as a registered nurse with 39 years of clinical and administrative experience. I am shocked at the lack of compliance for public health measures among businesses and many others in the Town of Truckee that are designed to keep the residents safe.

Many food businesses allow employees to wear the face shields without a mask. If you are wearing a face shield without a mask, preparing or serving food, the mask is simply directing your breath downward onto the customers and the food. It also does not optimally protect the employees. It is the same when the mask does not cover the nose. Medical providers stay safe by wearing a mask and face shield to protect eyes/nose/mouth. It has been shown that each person needs to wear a mask and physical distance to reduce transmission of COVID-19.

The public health and city government officials cannot provide the enforcement to keep the community safe. We all must assume a shared responsibility to protect one another. If you do not feel vulnerable, think of your parents, grandparents, or those in the community who are high-risk; we even have a cancer treatment center in Truckee. We all need to stop blaming, take responsibility for our part in COVID-19, and respond like the wonderful village we have become.

~ Anita Korngold Backer, Truckee, via letter

In response to Why Do We Have CoronAmnesia? by the Moonshine Ink Editorial Board

Data Not Emotion

I read your editorial in your August 2020 issue and was struck by its emotional tenor. Indeed some people are fearful, and those most at risk (e.g. the elderly and those with certain preexisting illnesses) should take precautions. Although I respect your viewpoint, I suggest that if you wish to persuade people to be open to your perspective, you should cite actual studies and sources. You could even invite people to discuss and debate this issue too. Isn’t this part of a tradition in a “free” and “open” society?

Yet, comparing someone who doesn’t wear a facemask in public to a criminal who has committed a “crime against humanity” seems inappropriate. Perhaps we should take a broader view?

Indeed the mark of a civilized society is when respect and kindness are the benchmark of our human relations. Bullying and shaming are reserved for tyrants.

This reminds me of a famous quote: “You can’t say civilization isn’t advancing: in every war, they kill you in a new way.” – Will Rogers

I thank you for your concerns for our community.

~ Craig Fiels, Nevada City, via letter


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