In response to Learning In Real Time

TTUSD Reaching Out

We have been thankful for the resources TTUSD has provided parents on the subject of tweens/teens and social media. And we’ve been successful at keeping our 14-year-old off it. Adults can barely manage social media properly, let alone kids who are still developing.

~ Lauren Tapia, Truckee, via Facebook

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In response to Adversarial Front Line Caused by Forest Service Ineptitude, an October My Shot

From a Former Forester

Excellent article, thank you. Years ago, I was a private timberland manager and forester. I have personally fought forest fires including crown fires. In those days, there were manned lookouts on top of mountains. If they saw smoke, they dialed it in, radioed another lookout, and called it in. A small team went out immediately and put the fire out before it got large. No more lookouts. In their place we have infrared, etc., which is  supposedly better. Years ago, a huge fire was 30,000 acres, and it was unusual. Now a million acres is becoming the norm. Now, instead of putting the fire out, they let it burn and wait to see what happens. I have friends who have lost their ranches, 100-year-old homesteads, all their cattle and animals — everything — due to this ineptitude. This has nothing to do with the hard-working firefighters. This is top management who are highly paid that are not doing their job. Years ago the USFS was neutered by the enviros and stopped all forest management.

As a result, our National Forests are full of dead and dying trees and huge fuel loads … waiting to go up in smoke. Another result of this USFS ineptitude are huge insurance increases and loss of insurance for many homeowners. Please write your congressperson. We need to get the USFS to do their jobs. They no longer manage our forest or protect our great renewable resource.

~ Frank Solinsky, Olympic Valley, via letter

In response to Tahoe Is Broken, a November My Shot by Cheri Sugal

Short-Term Rental Issues

Everything that Cheri Sugal says about STRs in the Tahoe Basin applies to STRs in Truckee: STRs driving out long-term renters and primary-resident owners, absentee landlords, inadequate enforcement of occupancy, parking, garbage, and noise issues. Sugal’s solution, sharply limiting the number of nights an STR can be rented  in order to discourage absentee ownership, is excellent. A higher limit could be allowed for second units in owners’ primary residences, in order to allow more people to afford our increasingly expensive houses.

By greatly reducing the economic incentive to turn homes into full-time STRs, additional housing will become available for long-term renters and local owners. Doing so will reduce the nuisance issues of full-time STRs and shift much of the burden of enforcement from overburdened town staff onto the owners themselves. As initially conceived, STRs were intended to be a way for owners to defray some of the costs of expensive houses in vacation areas, not to create a plague of poorly managed mini-hotels. Truckee, like Placer County, is currently under a moratorium of new STRs and a committee is meeting to consider revisions to Truckee’s current STR ordinance.

Unfortunately the STR, realty, and construction community is overrepresented on the committee. There is one housing advocate and one member-at-large, as well as two town council people. The committee is working under the aegis of town staff rather than under the council in order to avoid the need to comply with the Brown Act, and to date the work of the committee has been kept under wraps, with none of the usual workshops and open meetings.  The town staff seem to view STRs primarily as cash cows and appear reluctant to enforce the existing ordinance, let alone impose additional restrictions. The current ordinance specifically states that the town has no “duty to enforce” it.

~ Jack Kashtan,  Truckee, via letter

Voice of Support on STR Critique

I totally support Sugal’s sentiments and common sense solutions to STR problems.

~ Min Yi, Truckee, via letter

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