Our View: We don’t need no stinkin’ badges | SierraSun.com

Our View: We don’t need no stinkin’ badges

The word “local” gets thrown around a bit up here in the mountains. It’s either used as a badge of honor that people use to show how long they’ve endured big winters, booms, busts and hordes of tourists, yet remain a part of the community.

Or it’s used to denigrate. We all remember the “low-life locals” letter last year that, well, made the local badge that much more shiny.

Defining exactly what makes someone a “local” would undoubtedly vary from person to person. Do you have to be born at 6,000 feet and within 20 miles of Tahoe to be a local? Is five years residency sufficient? Twenty-plus years? What if someone has owned a second home in the area for 40 years?

But does the length of time a person lives somewhere automatically make them a local? That’s an intriguing question, particularly when it comes to the notion of community. There wouldn’t be any locals if there weren’t communities. If there was no center, no place ” no community ” to build one’s life around, there would be no “there” to wear the badge.

What are we getting at? Well, Saturday, actually. That’s when two communities ” each with their self-proclaimed, card-carrying locals ” are holding cleanup days. The Town of Truckee and the North Tahoe Business Association and the North Tahoe Public Utility District have organized the cleanup days so people, meaning those who live here ” locals, can make their communities even nicer, and at the same time meet their neighbors ” other locals.

People can crow all they want about how long they’ve lived someplace. But in our estimation a local is someone at the heart of their community, someone with passion for his or her “location,” no matter how long he or she has lived here. A local has a connection to this place beyond how many record snowstorms that person has endured or how much equity the house has earned over the last 15 years. It’s about being involved.

And that’s what the cleanup days in Truckee and the North Shore are really meant to accomplish. So take an hour Saturday in your respective community and get involved. And since we’re all locals here, you won’t even have to wear your badge.

Check out Friday’s Sierra Sun for complete details.

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