• In the recent November election, South Shore voters pivoted. After several tax increase attempts, 60% of city of South Lake Tahoe voters approved the Measure S sales tax increase. If you would have asked me before the election, I was sure it would fail. Passing a tax measure in this community has been a rough go of it. What was different this time? Perhaps it was the COVID-19 pandemic, or maybe it was the realization that CALPERS was eating away at the city budget combined with the loss of transient occupancy tax collection from a loss of vacation rentals that would impact the ability to provide city services. Maybe some voters realized it was a smart investment, having visitors pay half the taxes. Who would have thought?
• Voters also sent two progressive candidates to the city council, Cristi Creegan and John Friedrich. In all, there were 10 candidates on the ballot. It appears the other candidates split the pool of votes opening the door to these two progressive candidates who combined achieved 38% of the total votes cast while the remaining eight split the rest of the votes.
• It was disappointing to see the negative campaigning by some running for the council. We expect that kind of circus at the national level, but locally it just does not work. It is hard to paint residents you see around town at events or the grocery store in such a negative light. Kudos to those who did run a positive campaign.
• What does this recent election mean going forward for the city? Is the political culture of residents changing? One only need notice the number of Biden/Harris signs throughout town to realize this is not the political climate of past years. With people moving in from throughout Northern California due to COVID-19, is this election a harbinger of a new city direction or a blip on the radar?
• The politics of South Shore have been toxic for years. Like most places there has been a conservative group of residents who are financially secure and have been resistant to change despite the real need to adapt to a very different world of social, economic, technological and political changes that impact South Shore. At the same time, a growing number of progressive residents seem to embrace change and are solution focused be it with housing, the local economy, environmental stewardship, and a host of other issues. At some point, there is going to be a reckoning of the vision for the future. Time will tell.
The Big Picture
• On a national level the American people have clearly stated that they prefer to vote in a variety of different ways. In a world that enables you to shop 24 hours a day, from buying a toothbrush to buying a car, the notion of voting on one day in November is antiquated. States that continue to make it harder to vote and throw up roadblocks are on the wrong side of history; one only has to look at the long lines to see citizens meet that challenge, even during a pandemic.
People want to drop off a ballot, vote from their cars, mail it in, drop it off early, any yes vote on Election Day. How much you want to bet that the Republicans do not diss the mail-in ballot in future elections.
• The biggest threat to this country is not Russia and China. We are at war with ourselves, an undeclared civil war between red and blue, Fox and CNN, that will weaken this country and leave us vulnerable to our real enemies. This country is just about ungovernable. In the end, we may well defeat ourselves.
There is nothing like a good bagel and a cup of coffee in the morning and South Shore has a couple of palaces that do a great job. Do not miss Dragonfly Bagel Co. and Tahoe Bagel Company. Great stuff, check them out.
It is a Wrap
The election is over and we need to move on at all levels, federal, state, and local. Maybe this Thanksgiving, we can all step back, take a deep breath, and remember, at least for a moment, despite what politicians would have us believe, we are all on the same side.
Carl Ribaudo is a columnist, consultant, speaker, and writer who lives in South Lake Tahoe. You can reach him at email@example.com