Opinion: Supervisors’ Martis Valley West vote deplorable, unacceptable
September 20, 2016
In our own backyard, a 760-unit development was tentatively approved by the Placer County Board of Supervisors last week, with the lone nay vote coming from District 5 Supervisor, Jennifer Montgomery.
First, I want to thank Jennifer for standing up for her constituents' concerns and not voting for development in exchange for questionable conservation promises from a corporation that has been raping Sierra Nevada forests since the 1800s — Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI).
To Representative Kirk Uhler, your attitude during deliberation was disrespectful and unacceptable, especially regarding a project outside of your own district. You practically laughed in the face of the hundreds of Tahoe locals who have spent days coming to public meetings in opposition solidarity; I'm pretty sure you actually managed to smirk during your deliberation comment.
Kirk, you spoke as if we are all naive and ignorant of the proposed 6,000 acres of conservation land, just as the rest of the supporting supervisors did. Of course, anyone would support a guaranteed 6,000 acres of conserved lands, but these lands still need to be purchased for millions of dollars by a conservation organization.
Only one of our supervisors had the courage to question a development for conservation swap with NO GUARANTEE. These promises for conservation are being made by the very company (SPI) that continues to clear cut forests throughout the headwaters of California's water supply in the midst of ongoing drought.
Should we really be exchanging such massive development based on guarantees from a company with a history of clear-cutting for profit?
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As those lands are now (the east parcel), there is no development, there is no logging — they are used for public recreation. The
Loyalton-Truckee deer herd passes through this parcel on migration routes, making development opportunities limited and logging opportunities restricted.
The developer has made people, including four Placer County Supervisors, believe that the alternative to approving development on the West parcel is development on the East parcel, but that is NOT TRUE. Our supervisors are being duped by developers.
BUT, we have another option, the option to SAY NO. The option to not develop either parcel, parcels that sit on the ridgeline between Lake Tahoe and the iconic Martis Valley. What if we decided to protect both instead of developing one? Are you listening Supervisors Uhler, Duran, Weygandt and Holmes? Why can't we protect both instead of developing one?
To the people, this Martis Valley West fight is not over. We have been given an extra three weeks because of county staff amendments to their recommendation. The Board must still vote on a final recommendation on October 11.
That means that between now and October 11, we must make our voices loud and our opposition and solidarity known by each and every Placer County Supervisor. This means that we must be willing to go to their offices and protest, sit-in, set up meetings with them, press conferences, op-eds — everything we've been doing must occur with 10 times the enthusiasm over the next month.
I have faith that if we really care enough and come together with direct action we can stop this project and show our county that WE the people make decisions for our county, not developers, not profits, not false promises from corporations, and certainly not the Supervisors from outside the Tahoe area.
If you are interested in getting involved with actions to stop this project, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or join the Facebook group Tahoe Progressives.
Nicole Lutkemuller is a Tahoe City resident.