If You Do Not Know Where You Are Going You Cannot Get There From Here, Part II

In a recent post on the economic difference between Eastern and Western County economic development in The Sierra Foothills Report,  Steve Frisch posted a long comment on the issues.  Over the years Steve and I have had many blog exchanges, and we rarely agreed on most issues, but we sometimes find some common ground. On one issue we agree, a community has to have some unified economic goals and strong leadership if the community is to make any significant progress forward.  As a recent article in The Union reported, Western County does not have those key unified goals and lacks strong leadership. In contrast, Truckee in the Eastern County has solved those problems. They have a comprehensive economic development plan and a process for community input. Truckee appear to be making progress, though they still have to develop a diversified year round economy.

With Steve’s permission, I am posting his comments at the Sierra Foothills Report on the issues impacting the economic development in Eastern vs Wester Nevada County for your consideration and comments.

Steven Frisch, on October 19, 2013 at 12:10 pm said:

While it may be accurate to frame these issues as Truckee ‘beating the pants off the western county’ I think it is important to note that there are some very important differences between Truckee and western Nevada County. I have no doubt that the structural economic differences between the eastern and western County have a lot to do with the cultural difference, and have a lot to do with the relative strengths and weaknesses of the two economies.

Truckee is largely a tourism based and recreation amenity economy, with the retail and hospitality sector still playing the largest role in its economic wellbeing. That has been a strength during the recent great recession because tourism and hospitality saw less of an impact and a quicker recovery than many other sectors did, particularly construction; in fact tourism and hospitality may have improved in some areas due to Californians traveling more in-state to reduce costs.

Many surveys of visitors and homeowners in the intermountain west conducted by private groups like Headwaters Economics and Collaborative Economics and agencies like the USDA indicate that ‘amenity counties’, and particularly amenity areas within counties, like Truckee, have a more stable economic base than other ‘new west’ and exurban economies, and perform better economically in the long run.

Part of the reason amenity counties perform better is that associated industries, such as construction, education and health care, in areas where people are drawn by the amenities, are less affected by dramatic shifts in property tax revenue, and indeed statistics indicate that Truckee property tax receipts fell less than across the rest of Nevada County, and began to recover quicker, at the same time that sales tax receipts recovered more quickly, meaning a town like Truckee can afford to invest in economic development.

There is another important distinction that comes to amenity areas, particularly higher elevation amenity areas; populations have a tendency to be more affluent (Truckee per capita income is almost 20% higher than the rest of the County) and younger (Truckee residents are on average 10 years younger than the rest of the County). This means that there is more disposable income; per-capita there are more business start-ups; and, there is more of a propensity to take risk.

But the very thing that has made Truckee more economically stable can also a long-term weakness; too much dependence upon a single economic sector (tourism and hospitality) can backfire if unforeseen events intervene (as we are seeing in the gateway communities to the Yosemite Valley this fall, and saw in Truckee/Tahoe with the new years floods of 1997). In the long run the most important strategy Truckee could invest in is economic diversification, which often comes only after the development of an amenity economy in the ‘new west’.

To Truckee’s credit that is exactly what they are investing in now; making investments in infrastructure, business incubation, community partnerships with entities like our Chamber of Commerce, and preserving and improving the amenity itself, the sense of a unique ‘place’ that attracts investment. While an amenity region diversifies it is equally important that it preserves the very thing that made it attractive for investment to begin with, the amenity that drives the tourism and hospitality economy. Although tourism, hospitality and associated retail are relatively low wage jobs, they are entry jobs to the region, attract the young and risk-taking, and they drive the other economic sectors.

A great example of economic diversification in Truckee would be the siting of the national corporate offices for Clear Capital, a financial services company with more than 225 local employees. In the 10 years since Clear Capital sited in Truckee instead of the Bay Area, drawn by the quality of life, their employees have become community leaders, non profit board members, new business owners as they leave Clear Capital, customers for arts and cultural amenities, and evangelist for the region. Ironically, Clear Capital is playing the role that The Grass Valley Group previously played for the western County.

In addition, I don’t think it is fair [anymore] to compare Truckee with the western County. Western Nevada counties economy is more like western El Dorado or Placer County, or Yuba County, than it is Truckee, Lake Tahoe or Mammoth Lakes.

Western Nevada County has actually become an ‘ex-urban’ region rather than an ‘amenity economy’ or even a ‘new west’ region, and is more firmly in the orbit of Sacramento and western Placer, than it is the high Sierra. I believe that this is a major reason why western Nevada County does not see more involvement from Truckee in organizations like the ERC, or even in the crafting of a County economic development strategy. There are two economies and they require two different strategies.

Exurban regions can have substantive ‘amenity economy’ characteristics, which western Nevada County does with the Yuba River, but are more defined by commute patterns with urban centers (and statistics shows a substantive number of Nevada County residents commute out of county for employment) housing ownership patterns (more primary residents, less second homes), and more retirees (and thus more transfer payments rather than earned wages).

Western Nevada County is not alone in this dynamic of shifting from the rural to the exurban. The same could be said of Yuba, Placer, El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras, and rural Fresno and Madera Counties. This is largely a dynamic driven by increasing population and increasing diversity of population in California.

And herein lies the inherent difference between Truckee and western Nevada County.

In these formerly rural places that are becoming ‘exurban’ there is often a difficult conflict between the formerly traditional economies and the new economy. The traditional economy was the ‘old west’ natural resource based economy (timber, mining, grazing, tourism). The new economy is the ‘new west’ economy (growing amenities, education, health care, financial services, transfer payments, and even renewable natural services like water, energy and increasingly food systems).

Thus in the populations that live in these areas transitioning from rural to exurban there is a profound cultural conflict between the residents who are drawn to and are advocates of the ‘old west’ economy and those who are proponents of the ‘new west’ economy. This conflict becomes a part of the narrative while the transition is occurring, spilling over into the planning, politics, institutions, and even the cultural choices people are making. The landscape becomes a central feature of the conflict, because how land is used is central to the transition; the ‘old west’ economy views the landscape as a resource to be ‘consumed’ and transferred into wealth; the ‘new west’ economy sees the landscape as a resource to be ‘preserved’ and transferred into wealth, even if wealth is defined more esoterically by the proponents of the ‘new west’. The vitriol with which these conflicts are resolved reflects the point that so much is at stake—people’s very identities are tied up in the ‘place’ they select—and it becomes a struggle between cultures.

As a 25-year resident of Nevada County I have seen this dynamic play out in both the western and the eastern County.

In the western county the battle began as new residents moved to the region, first after the Summer of Love, and then in the great exurban migration of the 70’s and 80’s, who moved into an ‘old west’ economy. It manifested itself in the conflicts over the Nevada County General Plan, where competing visions of the use of the landscape, and thus competing visions of capitalism and wealth creation, did battle through two updates. It accelerated through the effort to designate the Yuba River a Wild and Scenic River, the 2000 Board of Supervisors elections, NH2020, and the recalls and new elections that followed. It might have seemed like a more conservative Board of Supervisors after 2004 would have laid the issue to rest. But the reality is the issue will not be laid to rest until the transition from rural to exurban is complete, largely because many of the conservative Supervisors recognize, either consciously or sub-consciously, that that transition WILL occur, it is inexorable, and unstoppable. Even if dragged kicking and screaming, and whether for better or worse, Nevada County will be dragged to ‘modernity’ economically, because time is a river.

In the eastern County we saw this dynamic playing out, and recognized that we had already made our choice, at least partly because we had not been dependent upon the ‘old west’ economic model for several generations. Truckee was already firmly ‘new west’ in the 1980’s. Thus we made a conscious choice to embrace the ‘new west’ and rather than engage in the vitriolic fight that ensues when landscapes are fought over, we defected. Truckee incorporated in 1993 largely to separate itself from the control of the County government, which was not only embroiled in this struggle, but was using the eastern County as a bank to finance services in the western County. Our ‘new west’ amenity economy was already returning on investment and we did not want to suffer taxation without representation. This was exemplified by specific land use decisions the County was making, such as citing a K-Mart next to downtown Truckee, without realizing our citizens had already made their choice to embrace the ‘new west’ model.

Truckee is beating the pants off of western Nevada County because it embraced its change, went with it instead of fighting the flow of the river, and had more favorable conditions to do so than the western County did from the start (and I say this as someone who had a natural inclination to fight the change rather than harness it to improve the community).

This is a long dissertation, but having gone this far I feel compelled to finish with some advice for the western County.

The clash of cultures you are experiencing is not unique, it is happening all over the inter-mountain west; the shift from rural to exurban is not unique, it is happening all over California, Oregon and Washington; the conflict over resources is not unique, it is happening all up and down the Sierra Nevada and the Cascade, and indeed in the Rockies, and the Wasatch. Lessons can be learned from looking into the communities that have prospered while making the transition from rural to exurban, and economic strategies to harness that change for good can be adopted.

What Nevada County is lacking, and here I am agreeing with some of my arch opponents on the eventual outcome, is REAL leadership. Leadership is no longer a dominated by the ‘great man’ theory; to be effective leadership must be more collaborative. We are learning this lesson from business and the social sector every day when we see emergent industries adopt collaborative models and prosper. When more people are empowered to be involved, the conflict between ‘old west’ and the ‘new west’ can be if not resolved at least minimized. When I wrote several years ago about democratization of decision-making in rural communities this is the dynamic I was hoping we would embrace, and the opportunity to embrace it is still there. The problem, and where I agree with my critics, is that leadership has been allowed to be and rewarded for being ‘tribal’, pitting sectors, towns, and cultures against each other. But to build leadership it must actually DO things, and show success. The best thing western Nevada County could do is pick one or two short term substantive competitive advantages that the vast majority of people can agree on and that are achievable, and concentrate on achieving progress there. From the exercise of concentrating on the few and achievable, relationships will be built that can later concentrate on the thorny.

To have real success western Nevada County must leave behind its cultural conflict between the ‘old west’ and the ‘new west’ and embrace its unique identity and future.

 Please see this post for some ideas on where to start:  https://sierrafoothillcommentary.com/2013/10/17/if-you-do-not-know-where-you-are-going-you-cannot-get-there-from-here/

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About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
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25 Responses to If You Do Not Know Where You Are Going You Cannot Get There From Here, Part II

  1. Todd Juvinall says:

    I have been searching for the TNF budget and I came up empty. Anyone have the links to it?

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  2. Russ Steele says:

    Wow, just discovered if you mouse over a specific county graphic it will show the monthly details. I must learn how to use this Google tool!

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  3. Russ Steele says:

    Steve,

    Interesting graphic. Any thoughts on why the big spikes in Plumas and Sierra County. Is this the result of only logging in the summer, laying off the workers in the winter?

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    • stevefrisch says:

      It is, as you surmised, seasonal unemployment in both the timber industry and tourism.

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  4. stevefrisch says:

    OK, so getting to specific data about the economic contribution of the Tahoe National Forest may be a bit difficult, because this is not the type of economic analysis people regularly do. I will post a couple of resources over the next day and people can look at them and draw their own conclusions; some will be very large scale, so you will have to decide what part of the trends described you thin apply to the TNF and Nevada County.

    First, although old, the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit [a subset of the TNF] Social and Economic Assessment–Land and Resource Management Plan – Appendices to the Plan & EIS:

    http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5371171.pdf

    Scroll down to jobs …….

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  5. stevefrisch says:

    Russ [and other readers]: Here is the study from Headwaters Economics that includes the statement that Russ quoted above.

    http://headwaterseconomics.org/wphw/wp-content/uploads/West_Is_Best_Full_Report.pdf

    I actually can’t speak to the question of whether or not Nevada County has increased employment by 300% over other NON METRO western counties, but I think that would be really interesting data to try to put together, not just for Nevada County, but for the entire Sierra. The more I have thought about it over the last two days the more I think someone needs to crunch that data and do a comparison between the Sierra Nevada and the rest of the inter-mountian west, which much of the Sierra is actually more akin to than exurban counties. But I believe a more accurate comparison for Nevada County would be with Placer, El Dorado, Solano and Sutter as Russ posited above.

    I think the Headwaters study points to other trends over the last 20 years that are really important to Nevada County. First is the dramatic growth of service industry jobs compared to manufacturing and construction in rural regions. The study also points out that many of these service industry jobs, particularly in health care, financial services, education and technical services are actually pretty high paying comparatively. This would seem to make the case that speeding the development of higher wage service jobs is a quicker path to prosperity, and we all know that one of the most important factors there is access to high speed broadband.

    Another interesting finding is that the most prospering places are the ones that entitle new housing, and by inference, provide a mix of housing for a diversity of homeowners and tenants. This is where I part company with some of my ‘environmental’ friends–this is a split in the environmental community between old school proscriptive advocates and news school sustainability advocates that I have written extensively about–I truly believe that new housing should be a priority. New housing with a more ecological footprint is not a detriment to the environment while lifting the service sector and creating more economic activity.

    Finally, re: the finding that counties with more protected lands have created more jobs, I think the reasons are clear, protected lands attract young people, amenity refugees, retirees and businesses seeking to create a quality of life competitive advantage.

    But here I again part company with some environmentalists [albeit an ever smaller minority] and many ‘resource extraction’ advocates [who are also moderating their views]. The debate in the inter-mountain west has been largely dominated by the debate over using resources to create wealth by extracting raw materials versus the using resources as an amenity to attract wealth mind set [or don’t use resources at all because they transcend material worth].

    This is actually a false dichotomy, and an increasing majority of both ‘sides’ of the debate are coming to realize that neither ‘extreme’ is going to prevail.

    The resource extraction advocates are coming to realize that there are market forces much larger than a proscriptive regulatory environment [which according to most studies adds about 10% to the cost of production in California] at play that disadvantage resource extraction, the most obvious ones being labor cost, shipping cost, nearness to emerging markets, and exhaustion of easy to extract resources.

    For example, talk to people in the timber industry in California and you quickly discover that yes they hate regulation, but what kills them is that you can produce timber products for about half the overall cost in other parts of the world, particularly Canada. This is largely due to the point that Canadian softwood forests, due to being located in the boreal belt, still have trees to harvest with 3-4 times the average diameter at breast height, which means you get much higher yield of finished product for much less cost per unit.

    Talk to environmentalists that have fought to ‘protect the forests’, particularly those that live in the forest, and you quickly discover that yes they hate timber harvest, particularly clear cutting, but they hate uncontrolled catastrophic wildfire even more. It does not take a rocket scientist to see that the combination of fire suppression and the decline in California’s commercial timber harvest have combined to create a risk to our environment and communities [and thus any wealth creation] at an almost unprecedented level in modern history. But they also know that with the USFS estimating that thinning of about 500,000 acres per year in the Sierra Nevada are required on public lands alone, and the cost per acre being about $1500 per acre, there simply is no source of $750,000,000 per year to get the job done.

    So there is dance going on right now, between environmentalists and timber harvesters; they are trying to figure out how they can each have a role in managing our resources for other market values, like biomass to electrical generation, biofuels, wood products and domestic chemical production, along with the traditional saw logs, to do the forest stewardship and management necessary to protect the ecological services they both depend upon. Nevada County could and should be ground zero for the solution.

    The same story could be told about just about any resource [with the possible exception of natural gas], because we are no longer in a position where we believe that the landscape itself exists in the absence of human intervention. There is no landscape on earth that has not been altered by human intervention, and we are entering a new period, which some are calling the Anthropocene, where the extent of human activities on the biosphere are so great that we have no choice but to figure out how to manage them. Henry David Thoreau and Red Emmerson have to be ‘partners’ now, they have no choice.

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  6. stevefrisch says:

    HM..first you have to make sure we are clear on terms–they are talking about counties that are classified as rural by the USDA. Napa, Solano, Kings and Sacramento are not classified as rural by the USDA because they have higher population densities. The only counties in the Sierra classified as rural are Inyo, Mono, Mariposa, Tuolumne, Calaveras, Amador, Alpine, Nevada, Sierra, Plumas and Lassen. ALL of those counties have federal land ownership above 30% (Nevada County is about 29% USFS but has about 4-5% BLM, so we are close to 35%). So we would be comparing those counties to rural counties that have no or very little federal land ownership.

    I will get to the economic contribution issue later.

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  7. stevefrisch says:

    More grist for the mill….

    http://newsle.com/article/0/99397080/

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    • Russ Steele says:

      Steve,
      According to the story at the link you posted:

      A recent report by Headwaters Economics found that Western rural counties with more than 30 percent of their land safeguarded as national parks, federal wilderness or national forests collectively increased job creation by 345 percent over the past 40 years, a rate four times greater than rural counties with no federally protected lands, which increased employment by 83 percent.

      The Tahoe National Forest is 28.6% of the land area is Nevada County. Do you believe that we have collectively increased jobs by 300 plus percent over the last 40 years over counties that do not have National Forest, like Sacramento County, Solano County, Napa County or Kings County? I think they are smoking something at the Headwaters. Can you make the case for Nevada County? How can we measure the Tahoe National Forest job contribution? Do you have some credible stats?

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  8. Todd Juvinall says:

    Terry vision is one I share for the health of the community as well. Each area of the county is different and has different amenities. Just look at Riverside County. A huge one in square miles but it is somehow able to keep things going pretty well. If we can get back to the use of our natural resources as well as rezoning as Terry says to supply decent areas with a path to private sector economic success the county, both sides, can propsper.

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  9. stevefrisch says:

    I would say a commitment by the Town Council is pretty much a commitment. Sure something could happen, but this is how we set priorities.

    http://townoftruckee.com/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=9592

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  10. terry lamphier says:

    Thoughtful comments all…thanks to Russ and Steve for getting the debate going. I think there is an opportunity for a blended community that integrates tourism and local business development. There is high potential for near term new/expanded business development . Expanded high speed internet will be a big assist; the changing thinking regarding what constitutes good forestry management (that recognizes fire safety, utilization of waste products, expanded commercial logging done with good environmental science); growing realization of the importance of supporting local ag – these are a few. We have large areas going through rezoning to provide opportunities for light manufacturing. Anything to offset commuting for a living!
    As a relative newcomer (in an official capacity) to the often contentious issue of government’s relation to the private sector, I’m beginning to think that Truckee’s model is not necessarily incompatible with Western county – “To Truckee’s credit that is exactly what they are investing in now; making investments in infrastructure, business incubation, community partnerships with entities like our Chamber of Commerce, and preserving and improving the amenity itself, the sense of a unique ‘place’ that attracts investment.”
    Perhaps County Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) money could be better utilized, and I am interested in different options, but the County’s contract with the Economic Resource Council needs a chance to bear fruit.

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    • Russ Steele says:

      Terry,

      Thanks for taking time to rely. I hope your fellow Supervisors will share their views on economic development issues. We need an on going dialog, if we are ever going to produce a consensus of where we want to be as a community in ten years.

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      • stevefrisch says:

        I want to take this opportunity to thank Terry for replying as well. Personally I believe that the conversation has to be of more value to all of us than the scoring of individual points. We all have a stake in the future of our communities.

        A note, I am not necessarily saying Truckee’s model is transferrable in it content to the western County, I contend that its methodology is transferrable. The methodology was to select a set of actions that local government could take that boosts local strengths and makes them more competitive and resilient in the face of change. In the west that “what” will clearly be different.

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  11. Barry Pruett says:

    Thanks Steve. That was the exact type of information for which I was looking. You know more about this stuff than I do and appreciate your thoughtful commentary.

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  12. Todd Juvinall says:

    Here is the Truckee City budget for 2013-14. The portly one is unable to show us in this budget where the millions he says the Truckee Town Council is spending on economic development. Don’t get me wrong, I wish Truckee all the best, but when the portly one claims a fact like that I sure would like to see the proof.

    http://www.townoftruckee.com/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=5325

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  13. stevefrisch says:

    I will try to stick to the issues and not get distracted with commentary not pertinent to the original post.

    Lets deal with the marketing/promotion issue first.

    I disagree that when someone is traveling to an area the first thing they think of is the Chamber of Commerce. I do believe that when someone is relocating to a new community, looking to locate a business, or visiting and looking for a specific non-tourist related business service, the Chamber is highly likely to be the first place they search.

    Most peoples first travel search regarding a specific area is more likely to be one of the many lodging sites, like Hotels.com, Expedia, Travelocity or Priceline; next they are going to look at the specific activities they are interested in (dining, recreation, events, etc) and go to a specialized site that covers those activities. (Zagat, Urbanspoon or OpenTable for dining; NatGeo, Diddit, Naturefind or public agency sites for recreation; Lonely Planet, Trip Advisor or Yahoo Travel for general tour info; and local newspapers or web sites for cultural and special events) With all due respect to my own generation who still reads newspapers and longs for travel agents, Chambers of Commerce are no longer the ‘go-to’ source in a networked media environment.

    By their very nature Chambers of Commerce seek to represent all of the businesses in their location, both tourism and hospitality and other businesses, and focus most of their time on networking those businesses together, promoting business to business exchanges, advocating for specific pro-business policies, and providing training and education. In most cases marketing and promotion, with the exception of local events, are not their PRIMARY purpose, and because of that, marketing and promotion is often second to the overall organizational objective. Considering the staffing constraints most Chambers suffer, because no one wants to pay for staff, the person who is the generalist is often being asked to be a tourism promotion specialist. In addition, because of the nature of a Chamber of Commerce focusing on the ‘value proposition’ to their members, they have a tendency to only promote what is happening with or from their members. In a place like Nevada County, where there are 4 Chambers?, that means that often the strategy deployed is at cross purposes with other Chambers, and third party providers. This leads to a mindset of cannibalization rather than aggregation–and in tourism and hospitality promotion aggregation is everything.

    What do I mean by aggregation is everything? Think about how you travel. You likely want to do multiple things, like hike, bike or play golf; and stay at a nice place, or camp; and eat at a good restaurant, or perhaps by local food at a farmers market; see a movie, a show, or music; experience the local culture or arts; and seek authentic experiences, like local history, architecture, lore and adventure. If you travel to a specific place you are rarely cognizant of the political boundaries, you don’t know whether you are in Grass Valley, Nevada City, or even Nevada County. To you the experience is about being and doing, not who is responsible for what you are doing. You want it all, and if all of it is not in the geography the Chamber covers, you don’t care.

    This is not just me fantasizing; these finding are supported by studies by the Travel Industry Association, California Travel and Tourism Commission and US Travel Association.

    I would also posit that in the vast majority of cases Chambers of Commerce do a good job promoting special events in their specific location, and can play a pivotal role aggregating the assets of a particular place, but that most travelers, particularly travelers in the Sierra Nevada, are not going to one city or even county. If they are foreign travelers (who spend by far the most money per day) they are likely going to Yosemite, Tahoe and/or Death Valley, and stopping along the way opportunistically. If they are Californians they have a ‘place’ or multiple places they like, and that they base in, where they know how to find out what is happening, and they are looking for stuff outside their ‘sweet spot’ in the surrounding region.

    That is why I truly believe the best marketing and promotion strategy for the Sierra Nevada is to do it regionally; to let the customers decide what they want; to provide them with the best tools to design their own experience, and thus build brand loyalty to the region, counting on the fact that if you have brand loyalty eventually the individual will find their way to ALL of the cool places the Sierra Nevada has to offer, including Grass Valley, Nevada City, Truckee and Nevada County. That is why Sierra Business Council has invested so heavily in the Sierra Nevada Geotourism platform. The Geotourism platform is aggregating more than 1.2 million unique users per year; with people visiting more than 70,000 sites per month on-line; and aggregating assets at a rate of approximately 100 per month. Almost 100,000 of those visitors per year look at assets in Nevada County already.

    http://www.sierranevadageotourism.org

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  14. Barry Pruett says:

    Steve is definitely right about Clear Capital. Those guys are doing great things in Truckee. McClintock did a tour a Clear Capital a while back and was highly impressed. They are one of the largest private employers in the entire county. Looking forward to hearing more from Steve his opinion on the ERC and the Chambers here in the west.

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  15. Todd says:

    Truckee is in a area that the rich have decided they want a second home. it used to be the armpit of the county and now is the uppity area. I bid many jobs for a local business there and when most of the money coming in is from property taxes on 10,000 SF houses you get a bunch of moey in the government coffers.

    I would like to see the breakdown of the revenues for Truckee becasue it is not from manufacruring. Growth is from residential construction, something we don’t have here. We have lot splits every once in a while but no subdivisions (except a small one near LOP). Thousands of locals went somewhere else over the last 6 years and won’t come back until they are really old. We need some more Whispering Pines, a new town and another couple of ways in and out of the county. We need better internet and phone lines. Maybe another lake or two and get the feds to cut some trees and maybe open some mines.

    We have San Juan Mine in limbo for two years, Rincon del Rio was sued by an adjacent property owner. Our General Plan is a land lockdown and though it is real retty, it has squashed growth.

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  16. Barry Pruett says:

    When we moved here in 1998, the first thing that Kim did was go to the Chamber. It is totally formal for newcomers to go there first and it is a natural fit for the center for information.

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  17. Russ Steele says:

    Barry @12:09
    I agree, when visitors think about were to stay and where to eat regardless of where they are traveling, they think first of the local Chamber of Commerce. Why should it be different in Nevada County? It would be interesting to compare the Chambers (Nevada City, Grass Valley, PennValley, Truckee) visitors logs with the GoNevadaCounty visitor log. It could be an insightful experience of they were all willing to share the log data. I think it would be interesting to compare the search terms of all the Chambers with GoNevada County and the ERC search terms. It could provide an economic signature of the community. How visitors, and potential future residence, see our community based on what they were searching for. Unfortunately the various agencies store those stats in stove pipes, preventing anyone from getting a clear view of how the over all community is viewed by the outside world.

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  18. Barry Pruett says:

    Great comment by Steve. I did want to compliment him and discuss, but being that Pelline moderates comments from conservatives and with all the intimidation abd bullying by Pelline, it is difficult to have a conversation.

    I would just reiterate that the leadership is lacking. The ERC is all over the map. The BOS cannot get on track with a tourism plan and keeps changing directions midstream. I still am of the opinion that the chambers are best suited for this planning, but I sure that Steve will have some additional ideas.

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