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Readers Write

To residents of Truckee-Tahoe: I recently received an e-mail from a college student from Peru. He’s looking for housing for the winter. He and two friends will be working at Tahoe Donner Ski Area for about four months.

So, here we go again. Each year we see incentive programs from various ski resorts to trade housing for lift tickets. Or we just see kids from around the world pouring into the area hitchhiking around, many with no permanent place to go. They live 20 to a cabin out of necessity, not out of choice.

All businesses in our community in the winter depend on this influx of temporary labor. We’ll see kids from different countries working in clothing and grocery stores and restaurants, not just ski areas. It doesn’t matter if they’re from Peru or Sacramento, as a community we need this labor pool to conduct winter business.

But for the workers and local businesses to be successful each winter, these out-of-area workers need a place to live. Look at that spare bedroom or the family room above the garage as a way to participate in the solution to this short-term housing problem.

Two years ago I rented a room in my house to two women from Brazil. One was a lawyer and the other was an architectural engineering graduate student at the University of Sao Paulo. Both wanted to polish their English to benefit their careers.

Last winter I rented a room to a young man studying golf course turf science.

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At first they look like kids hitchhiking, but what a surprise, all were clean, respectful and punctual with rent. I thoroughly enjoyed their company and all eagerly shared their countries and culture. And the food was tremendous! A most rewarding experience.

This can be a win-win for all involved. I’ll stick my neck out and ask that anyone willing to accommodate a worker or two, to contact me at The Workforce Housing Association of Truckee-Tahoe. I’ll keep a list of interested households. I’ll do what I can to match workers with accommodations. We can discuss details when we talk. Call 587-7567 or e-mail tom@whatt.org. Lets have a good winter.

I was born in Truckee. I was raised in Truckee. What has happened to the town that takes care of its own? I have just finished reading the article on the Town of Truckee layoffs. “Housing slump prompts Town of Truckee layoffs” Sierra Sun Oct. 21) This is now really personal as it affects my dad, Buzz Johnson.

He does not want to retire. In fact it will present a great hardship in him if he does. Too old for a new job, too young for Social Security and health care. He is in that nowhere land. Lets face it, by deleting his position the town is forcing a 61-year-old man out to pasture. You have taken away his worth, destroyed the way he feels about himself, made him feel worthless and old. Who will hire a 61-year-old male?

Sure, “Town,” I know you have offered him great offer. What a joke. He can retire or he can take $13,000 cut in pay and bump another inspector for the privilege of remaining with the town and to continue to work. Do you know Buzz Johnson? Not well I guess. This is a man who never creates waves; who is always there to help out; volunteered for the police, comes out in emergencies; is kind; considerate and professional with all of the inspections and the people he deals with. He has helped too many people to count. He is a loyal employee; only calls off ill if there is an emergency; a man who has given a good chunk of his life to the town.

This is how he is rewarded? Town of Truckee, what has happened to you? I am not proud of what you have become; just another big corporation tossing the older guy away and letting him scramble to be the provider. How about cutting at the top? Loyalty doesn’t count. Shame on you!