Letter to the Editor: Mandatory bear-proof not the answer
October 1, 2014
IVGID has put mandatory bear-proof containers on the backburner to allow better inspection, enforcement and increased fines to deal with the approximate 5 percent of the property owners who violate our current ordinance vs. financially penalizing the 95 percent of responsible folks.
However, I am concerned with the position of one of our trustees who is obviously not in sync with IVGID's position.
Jim Hammerel recently attended a TRPA Meeting and supported a basin-wide TRPA mandate for bear-proof trash containers (per audio recording of the meeting). Further, in an email sent to the Tahoe Daily Tribune, he stated "I personally believe a TRPA enforced basin-wide containerized trash Ordinance is under TRPA's purview, and well overdue."
Trustee Hammerel did represent himself as an individual. He has stated that he only wants TRPA to provide a "framework" for local governments around the basin to follow.
Folks, that's code word for "Ordinance." He states in another communication to me via e-mail that, "after Waste Management gets a basin-wide contract for TRPA, their stock will surely skyrocket."
Could his intentions be clearer?
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Finally, mandatory bear-proof trash containers make little sense. The primary problem is that bears are hungry and desperate for food. If they don't find food in their natural habitat, then where will they?
Bear-proof containers will only serve to make them more desperate and more aggressive (why don't the supporters ever reveal what happens when mandatory containers are implemented?). They will go into homes, garages, cars, etc. or move to the next neighborhood. If basin-wide was implemented by TRPA (heaven help us), the bears would go to Carson City or Reno or somewhere else. Alternatively, they'll stay in the forest and starve.
I'll admit I don't know the real answer to the bear food source and hunger problem. However, I don't believe a TRPA (or IVGID) led mandatory imposed trash ordinance is the answer — either logically or practically.