Bruce Grego, a South Lake Tahoe councilman, said withdrawing from the bi-state compact “is the only way the people of the basin can send a message to the state of California and League to save Lake Tahoe and all the organizations that have dominated the basin for 40 years.
“I hope we can find ways to allow families to add an extra bedroom to their home or a deck or a hot house for the cost of improvements and no more, without fear and without paying tribute to TRPA,” he said.
South Lake Tahoe City Councilman Bruce Grego took advantage of a recent change in city practices to lambaste the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency this week.
In the letter to Nevada's Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Subcommittee, written on city letterhead, Grego said TRPA regulations are “excessive and duplicated,” based on “opinion and philosophy” and “have left my city with the designs of the late 1960s.”
He also says TRPA has “occupied” the basin for 42 years and said its regulations were the “primary cause of why the Angora fire was able to spread so rapidly throughout our community.”
Grego then requested the subcommittee withhold funding from the planning agency until the TRPA's governing board is exclusively composed of locally elected members.
“The majority of the board is not accountable to anyone,” Grego said. “They are philosophers that rule over us with little regard to the socio-economic impacts they cause upon our community.”
Since expressing my objection to the marijuana “dispensaries” in our community, I have been receiving a number of “pot shots” from some members of the public.
Yes, I am concerned about the development of the dispensaries and cultivation of marijuana in our community. To understand my position, we need to refine the terms used by those in-support. Following WWII, those governments that we viewed as undemocratic attempted to defeat those who demanded freedom for all peoples by renaming their countries “People's Republic of This” or the “Democratic Republic of That.” Similarly, the proponents have sought to defeat the opposition by changing words, such as “drugs” to “medicine,” “drug distribution center” to “dispensaries,” “drug users” to “patients,” and by exploiting those who have critical medical conditions as “poster children” for their movement.
I oppose the proliferation of drugs in our community. I will oppose anyone who seeks to use Proposition 215 to further drug abuse in our community, but I do not oppose use of marijuana for those with severe and significant health problems in which marijuana is used to control pain. One of the problems that have added complexity to this issue is that certain members of the medical community are issuing marijuana cards like Halloween candy. Let's face it, those in support favor the use of this drug for all purposes. It is not a question of wellness, but of getting “high,” making money and attempting to legitimize and provide easy access to this drug among our youths and young adults for the purpose of making more money. If marijuana did not make you “high,” or if there were no money to be made, does anyone think there would be any interest in promoting this drug?
I have also stated that the threat of expanded drug use in our community is a greater threat than the Angora fire. It is. The Angora fire primarily destroyed property. Drug abuse destroys people and families. No contest.
I was elected to provide leadership, make decisions, and protect this community. Drug cultivation in our community continues to expand. I have heard estimates that the drug distribution centers have 20,000 drug users that are members of their three collectives, that there are 300 residences in our community being used for cultivation, that drug distribution centers have expanded throughout our commercial area, and at least one candidate for City Council is calling to make South Lake Tahoe a world-class drug destination resort!
Should I be concerned? Or is this the second industry that we have been all hoping for? While local government is limited by its resources to address this challenge, we nevertheless need to have a candid and full debate of the total impacts of this “industry” upon our community, and to take action to defend our community before those-in-support change its character by default.
By the way, September is national drug abuse prevention month. — Bruce Grego is a South Lake Tahoe Council Member.
Waterfront improvements, including a LEED-certified bathroom and concession stand, broke ground at El Dorado Beach on Wednesday.
The improvements are the first phase of the Lakeview Commons project, a multi-agency effort to improve El Dorado Beach and the area across Highway 50 including Campground by the Lake and the El Dorado County Library. The project was previously referred to as the 56-acre project.
In addition to the bathroom and concession stand, the first phase of the California Tahoe Conservancy-funded project includes construction of stairs, a non-motorized boathouse, new barbecue areas, seating areas and an access ramp for the disabled.
Repair of an erosion-damaged retaining wall is also included in the project and will be a priority when the contractor begins work on the project within the next 10 days, said John Greenhut, South Lake Tahoe's Public Works Director.
“We feel this project really accomplishes major goals set forth by the community,” said designer Manuela King during a Wednesday ceremony at the project site.
The recreation area will be closed during construction, which is scheduled for completion in July 2011, Greenhut said.
Officials will evaluate progress on the project in October to determine whether the area will remain closed during the winter, Greenhut said. If the project area is opened during the winter, it will be closed at the start of the 2011 grading season until the first phase is complete.
The project, which has been in development for three years, got on the ground “really quick” by Lake Tahoe Basin standards, Greenhut said, noting the agencies in the region are good at planning, but not necessarily getting projects built.
The California Tahoe Conservancy has funded the project to the tune of $7.5 million, which includes planning and contingency costs. Construction costs for the first phase of the project are estimated at $4.5 million.
Phase two of the project includes the construction of a cantilevered walkway along the eastern part of the beach. Funding has yet to be secured for that phase.
Major changes envisioned for the area on the south side of Highway 50 remain in the conceptual phase, Greenhut said.
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