My Turn: Putting a stop to the rumor mill |

My Turn: Putting a stop to the rumor mill

TAHOE CITY, Calif. – Having lived most of my life in a small town, I understand the anecdotal conversations that take place. I’ve even participated in some from time to time. You know the ones that begin with “I heard…” We’ve all played the telephone game and understand that through multiple voices, the message can often get distorted, misconstrued, expanded, or exaggerated. Seldom is it the same message at the end of the line as it was at the beginning.

A recent example of this is the comments I’ve “heard” from various sources about the Tahoe City Vision Options. I may be exaggerating or distorting myself, but when I hear the following, “The Tahoe City Vision will decimate the community,” or “They’re going to build a four-story hotel on the golf course,” or “Swigards will be torn down,” I really have to wonder who is starting these rumors?

First of all, there will be no eminent domain used to do any economic redevelopment – I understand it’s not allowed in the state of California. There are no big investment developers waiting to do these projects that I know of.

And most important, if the current property owner is not willing, nothing will happen. Let me repeat, IF THE CURRENT PROPERTY OWNER DOES NOT WANT ANY CHANGE, THERE WILL BE NO CHANGE.

Anything that might happen to the built environment in Tahoe City will happen because a property owner wants to do something, the property owner or some developer has the funds and perseverance to go through all the planning and regulatory processes to propose their plans, and the market forces are such that it makes sense to move forward through this arduous process.

So, if you or anyone you know of starts a sentence with “I heard…” please try the following sniff test:

1. How close is the person to the source?

2. Does what they say make sense?

3. Is there an emotional bias that may be in operation?

4. What are the facts?

Then, do your very best to get informed by going to the source, getting the facts, and forming your own opinion. Hang up the proverbial telephone and discontinue the misinformation spread. Learning to trust and respect each other by not spreading rumors is so much more productive!

Sandy Evans Hall is CEO and executive director of the North Lake Tahoe Chamber/CVB/Resort Association

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