My Turn: Sweigert is a fountain of fear mongering
December 21, 2011
TAHOE CITY, Calif. andamp;#8212; Once again, Bob Sweigert is a fountain of fear mongering, innuendo and misinformation, most recently regarding the Tahoe City Bypass Project. One wonders if the Sierra Sun editors are already on vacation or just trying to stir a public opinion pot.Sweigertandamp;#8217;s statement that an andamp;#8220;economic depression could result from a bypassandamp;#8221; is patently ridiculous. Likewise, declaring andamp;#8220;the workforce may not be able to afford to live hereandamp;#8221; if a bypass is built is without any basis at all in fact.I am dismayed at the way he flippantly disparages the significant efforts of the Tahoe Transportation District. They have taken extraordinary measures in reaching out, listening and responding to the Tahoe City Community since January 2011 and have had an outreach person on the ground specifically for this project. They are preparing an extensive Community Impact Assessment (CIA) as part of an environmental review/analysis process, which will analyze social and economic impacts, land use and growth, and public service impacts.Additionally, a detailed Traffic Study is being completed that will evaluate all traffic related impacts, including emergency access, traffic congestion and traffic safety. Notably, two local fire chiefs recently issued a statement promoting the value of multiple emergency evacuation routes, making the bypass construction a public safety concern.Sweigert, however, can do without all this. He pulls his own andamp;#8220;factsandamp;#8221; without worrying about verification. Why in the world would the Sierra Sun permit this drivel to continue?Incidentally, the Tahoe City Bypass Project is identified in numerous regional, federal and local plans which have been adopted by appropriate boards and elected officials. This project does not require a vote by the general public as this is not a referendum. Imagine if the Tahoe sewer exportation of the 1960s or the more recent highway erosion control projects were subject to local veto? It hardly seems appropriate.While Sweigert suggests that andamp;#8220;public input is not enough,andamp;#8221; I question whether he has educated himself enough to provide input to the public. Surely a good columnist would attend the local hearings and speak to local officials before writing a column on any subject. The Tahoe Transportation District continues to hold public hearings, and it would benefit all of us if Mr. Sweigert did his homework before he starts proselytizing.James A. Casey is a-Tahoe City resident.