Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Column 70 - "Pay to Play" or The Cost of Doing Business?

Pay to Play or The Cost of Doing Business?

There has been a good deal of discussion about a number of community issues lately – to wit, the Place Based Planning effort, and particularly the request from TRPA for IVGID’s financial participation, the acquisition by IVGID of land adjacent to the Incline Lake property, putatively to be acquired by the Forest Service under SNPLMA, and (though not as recently) the sale of the Denio property on Route 28 to the Forest Service, also under SNPLMA. We can expect more of the same when round seven of the SNPLMA money comes up.

Any public discourse of this type is, I think, healthy for the community Still there is one aspect of it I find troublesome, and that is the strain of argument that seems to suggest that Incline Village/Crystal Bay can and should act independent of TRPA, Washoe County, and everyone else. I would characterize this line of thinking as naïve, at best.

Since the 1950’s every field of science – physical science, biological science, and social science – has moved toward acceptance of Systems Theory as a unifying principle that extends across all the fields. Simply put, Systems Theory stresses the interdependence of life. Anything that occurs in one sphere can and probably will have wide-ranging effects, and to the extent that we ignore this fact we will be blind-sided by unexpected results of what we do, effects that are sometimes at a far remove from our actions. Conversely, when we take a systems view and look at the dependencies that are affected by our actions, we will be more likely to effect positive outcomes.

The system that is the Tahoe Basin is made up a variety of subsystems – for example we have the high-end residential community where we live, the honky-tonk tourist atmosphere of the South Shore, the wooded and relatively sparsely populated areas of the East and West Shore and the more reserved tourist communities of the North Shore, as well as reserved forest lands. What happens in any of these areas affects all of them, and if you don’t think so, plan to go to dinner at Squaw during the winter or on the West Shore in summer and see if the traffic in those areas doesn’t have an effect on your plans. The Martis fire did not come over the mountain largely due to coordinated efforts at fuels management, and if it had, no one fire district would have fought it alone.

This being the case, to look at the request from TRPA for financial participation in the Place-Based Planning effort or at IVGID’s participating in the Incline Lake development by buying a five-acre parcel adjacent to it as “pay to play” is, I think, short-sighted. We really have a very poor choice in this – the Pathways 2007 effort is needed and proceeding. It is an effort at integrated (system-wide) planning for the Basin, and its results will affect our lives very directly. The Forest Service is likely to purchase the Incline Lake property, and we will be affected by what they do.

Rather I suggest we look at it as an imperative for the future of Incline Village. We must have a voice in the process, and if what it takes to gain that voice is financial participation, well is that so different from anything else in life? I own stock in several companies – my purchase of that stock gives me a voice I would not otherwise have in those companies. I must pay taxes as a condition of my citizenship and residence in the US, in Nevada, in Washoe County, and I must pay fees as a condition of my living in Incline, and these payments give me a voice in how those entities are governed. If Incline is to have an effective voice at the table, it is unreasonable to think that that voice will not have a financial obligation attached.

The alternative is to let Washoe County, TRPA, the State, and the Federal Government impact the quality of our lives and not to have any direct say in what happens. I for one don’t care to risk that.

As for $27 million for the Denio property, well that’s just silly.

1 comment:


Incline Lake, the gateway to paradise!

Incline Lake is one of the most pristine, untouched, truly spectacular private areas of the Sierra and is soon to become available for public use.

The property will contribute greatly to Northern Nevada's quality of life. By adding this property to the list of public lands, hikers, skiers and others will have additional terrain to recreate, see and smell nature and preserve this property for all to use.