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Readers Write

So whats wrong with gating a community? Nobody wants just anyone driving around their neighborhood and peering in their windows. Not just any dog can poop on my lawn; just my good neighbors dog. We all know that tourists are here to tour, but Not in My Backyard. Yes, we need gated communities. In fact, we need a gate across every entrance into Truckee to make the whole town exclusive. This is far too nice a place to let in the rabble. Disneyland has gates; so should we! Lets see: Reroute the traffic on 80 and 89 through special roundabouts (locals have their own special lane) so that every touristy car goes through a gate (as on the Golden Gate Bridge) pays an entrance fee, and enters our gated paradise. Then pay to park in our gated parking lots. Restaurants and shops would have gates, with big burly bouncers outside, No rabble allowed. Gated motels and bars and, of course, gated swimming pools and beaches. Truckee claims to be the Gateway to the Sierra, so lets live up to our name and have gates everywhere.Ken RitchieTruckee

Volunteering is a great tradition in Truckee, which is why I was concerned when I received a letter (as Im sure most readers did) dated May 25, 2005 from my elected official in Sacramento, Assemblyman Rick Keene, with the alarming message Volunteers need not apply. The purpose of his letter was to report that a state agency had undermined the use of volunteers and referenced a [presumed recent] article in the Sacramento Bee with the fact that nonprofit groups were being fined for using volunteers. As a volunteer, a nonprofit group board member, and lawyer, I was concerned. So I did research and found out Keene was off base. Heres my letter to Keene:Dear Assemblyman Keene:I would assume that before you incur the expense of sending a letter to thousands of homes, you verify that the information is timely, relevant, important and accurate. As a responsible Republican, you would not want to waste any taxpayer money. Therefore, when I received the recent letter to your constituents addressing the use of volunteers on publicly funded projects entitled Volunteers need not apply! I was concerned. Your letter relates various horror stories (according to a Sacramento Bee reporter) about various non-profit groups who were fined for using volunteers on projects that were receiving public funds. The clear implication of this letter was that this was a recent article, these were recent cases, and this was a pressing issue. In fact, your letter states that you sent this letter to keep [me] informed about legislative issues at the State Capitol.Nothing could be further from the truth. The series of articles referred to in your letter was from April 2004. Legislation (AB 2690) was introduced in early 2004 to correct the problem so that volunteers and non-profits would not be penalized. The Assembly approved it on August 12, 2004 (Yes, Mr. Keene, you personally voted in favor of it) and Governor Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law on August 27, 2004 and made it retroactive to January 2002. Certainly our state faces concerns greater than a regurgitation of old news. California faces budget shortfalls, educational crises, and economic uncertainty. As our elected official, your obligation is to address these matters and keep us informed, not to mislead and alarm us. Nancy WoolfTruckee

Great news was announced in the May edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine, the premier publication of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. AOPA has over 404,000 members across our nation, and the organization promotes the economy, safety, utility, and popularity of flight in general aviation aircraft.General aviation aircraft include all aircraft which are not military or commercial (scheduled airlines). Our Truckee Tahoe airport is a general aviation airport.The great news is that general aviation (GA) has never been safer, and accident statistics for 2004 prove it. Last year saw the fewest GA accidents since record keeping began in 1938 and the lowest number of fatal accidents since 1945, according to preliminary data from the NTSB.The total number of GA accidents dropped 8.4 percent compared to 2003, while the number of fatal accidents declined 11.4 percent. The numbers also improved for instructional flying, with total accidents down 11.7 percent and fatal instructional accidents down 50 percent. (There are very few fatal instructional accidents in any year. Last year there were 17 nationwide.)These preliminary numbers show that safety improvement continues in general aviation, said Bruce Landsberg, executive director of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. Since 1970, the accident rate has decreased almost threefold.This information was confirmed in the June issue of AOPA Pilot Magazine. Additionally, the 2004 NTSB statistics show that GA accidents caused no fatalities to people on the ground.How this affects our Town of Truckee is that the airplanes and pilots that use the Truckee Tahoe Airport are not as dangerous as has been publicized, and in fact are getting safer. There seem to be some people concerned regarding aircraft falling from the sky and harming people. Those people may sleep a little easier knowing that GA accidents are on the decline. Its always feels good to know that general aviations national organization, AOPA, strives to make aviation safer, not only for pilots, but also for people on the ground.Tom MeadowsAOPA Airport Support Network volunteer for Truckee Tahoe Airport


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