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Is North Tahoe woke now?

Lake Tahoe - a beautiful place for a day trip, a weekend, or a second home. It has scenic beauty, history and recreation galore. And it is overrun by tourists. When you live in such a garden spot you learn to balance your own needs for scenic beauty and recreation with the raw reality that tourism is the lifeblood of the local economy. Back in November 1965 the voters of several Southshore communities voted (winning with 77% of the vote) to form the City of South Lake Tahoe, thereby achieving a means to organize and control development and keep some of the revenues from leaving the area. One shudders to think how Southshore might have evolved without that injection of local control.

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Placer County cars in Tahoe City

Meanwhile, the good people on the Northshore weren't feeling quite so impacted. There were only a few small casinos on their part of the Nevada side and the ski resorts - Homewood, Alpine, Squaw and Northstar - were reasonably good neighbors. In recent years, though, things changed on the Northshore. Big corporations took over the large ski resorts. Squaw pressured Placer County for massive urbanization of the resort's parking lot and, after it bought Alpine, it pressured the feds for permission to connect the two resorts with a giant tram on the edge of a wilderness area. Squaw Valley residents tried to form their own city but Placer LAFCO ignored the data and told them to take a hike. Northstar expanded its base village and built a luxury hotel. Developers got Placer County to approve major new luxury subdivisions. Then Air B&Bs and VRBOs became a thing. The price of housing skyrocketed, but the roads were never expanded. Covid was kind of the last straw for the locals. As Bay Area techies discovered the freedom of remote work, Placer County turned a blind eye on the massive influx of day-trippers and vacation renters. Locals found their normal trips to Truckee and back took hours out of their day. The natives, you might say, have become restless. They are beginning to look at the success incorporation has brought to South Lake Tahoe (El Dorado County) and Truckee (Nevada County) and wonder if they can get similar results in their part of eastern Placer.

"Next time I drive by a police car in town it would be nice to actually know the name of the local policeman rather than merely being serviced by them."
Tahoe City resident Chris Gallager

Have a look at "Why Now is the Time to Incorporate North Lake Tahoe", published on the web 6 days ago and on Facebook yesterday. You will see their issues aren't really that much different from ours - their infrastructure is neglected, their land use projects are harmful to the quality of life and usually disrespectful of local small businesses, and people that don't listen to them make decisions about their community from afar. Just like here, there is an absence of democracy and local control that is making a mess of the area. Though it's too early to know if the flames will catch on, the fire has been lit. We wish them well.

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