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Squaw Valley:Help Decide Its Future

post #1 of 93
Thread Starter 

A grassroots organization, Incorporate Olympic Valley, is working towards create a separate town of Squaw Valley. 

 

They have just launched a crowdfunding campaign, Squaw Valley:Help Decide Its Future

 

There are some great perks including a private ski day with Squawlywood Author Dr Robb Gaffney and Tom Day, plus a Squaw Cabin Rental. 

 

Disclaimer: I am a board member of IOV. 

post #2 of 93
Thread Starter 

The campaign has surpassed $6,000 so far. Please consider a donation to help the residents take control of their future. 

 

post #3 of 93

Jamie - you guys should show a picture of what the shirts / stickers and such would look like.  That sort of thing helps with crowd funding efforts IMO because those $25 - $50 ranges are what can really add up.

post #4 of 93

I'm curious--do only people who contribute to the fundraising effort get to help decide squaw valley's future? 

post #5 of 93
Thread Starter 

Old Go

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

I'm curious--do only people who contribute to the fundraising effort get to help decide squaw valley's future? 

Actually only registered voters in Squaw get to decide the future with a vote. But all people who care about Mountain Communities can help the cause.

post #6 of 93
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayT View Post
 

Jamie - you guys should show a picture of what the shirts / stickers and such would look like.  That sort of thing helps with crowd funding efforts IMO because those $25 - $50 ranges are what can really add up.

 

Good point. We will be working on some shirt designs shortly and will post. 

post #7 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by soulskier View Post
 

Old Go

Actually only registered voters in Squaw get to decide the future with a vote. But all people who care about Mountain Communities can help the cause.

Exactly. Given that the interests of Olympic Valley residents and the general north Tahoe area skiing community are different in many ways (let's start with Martis Valley water), it isn't clear to me why non-residents would want to help pay for incorporation. But people are free to spend their money any way they like, I guess.

post #8 of 93
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

Exactly. Given that the interests of Olympic Valley residents and the general north Tahoe area skiing community are different in many ways (let's start with Martis Valley water), it isn't clear to me why non-residents would want to help pay for incorporation. But people are free to spend their money any way they like, I guess.

I personally think it is a watershed moment (pun intended) in Mountain Communities around North America.

 

In many ways, this is an answer to Hal Clifford's 2001 Masterpiece, Downhill Slide. Why the Corporate Ski Industry is Bad For Skiing, Ski Towns and the Environment.

post #9 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by soulskier View Post
 

I personally think it is a watershed moment (pun intended) in Mountain Communities around North America.

 

In many ways, this is an answer to Hal Clifford's 2001 Masterpiece, Downhill Slide. Why the Corporate Ski Industry is Bad For Skiing, Ski Towns and the Environment.

The problem is that the "Mountain Community" in which Squawlpine is located is a lot larger than Olympic Valley. Consider one of the big issues affecting mountain communities--affordable housing and housing for seasonal employees. Do you think the residents of Olympic Valley want a lot of affordable and employee housing in their little town? Do you think that the residents of Olympic Vallye want a lot of free day skier parking if they can get KSL to provide free shuttles within the valley? One of the big problems the North Tahoe/Truckee area faces is that the area is divided between two counties, both of which have Boards of Supervisors dominated by western county members. The real solution would be to break off eatern Nevada and Placer Counties and combine them into a new county. I don't know if that is possible under the California Constitution but in any case it would require a Herculean effort. In the meantime, while incorporation may be a very good idea for the Olympic Valley residents, before donating to the incorporation effort the rest of us should think long and hard about whether it is good for the rest of us in North Tahoe/Truckee and for the Squalpine skiing community--which extends from the Bay to Reno.

 

Edit--here is the Constitutional clause:

SEC. 1.  (a) The State is divided into counties which are legal
subdivisions of the State.  The Legislature shall prescribe uniform
procedure for county formation, consolidation, and boundary change.
Formation or consolidation requires approval by a majority of
electors voting on the question in each affected county.  A boundary
change requires approval by the governing body of each affected
county.  No county seat shall be removed unless two-thirds of the
qualified electors of the county, voting on the proposition at a
general election, shall vote in favor of such removal.  A proposition
of removal shall not be submitted in the same county more than once
in four years.

 

So to form a new mountain county would require the approval of all the voters of Nevada and Placer Counties--not just the residents of the proposed new county. Not likely

post #10 of 93

I'm far more worried about what KSL would ultimately like to do to day skier parking than the registered residents of the valley.  That's still KSL property regardless so I'm not sure I see your point.  I really don't see why it would be a bad thing to have local oversight of the project vs. Placer county who will basically say do whatever the hell you want (they just want the tax revenue).

post #11 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayT View Post
 

I'm far more worried about what KSL would ultimately like to do to day skier parking than the registered residents of the valley.  That's still KSL property regardless so I'm not sure I see your point.  I really don't see why it would be a bad thing to have local oversight of the project vs. Placer county who will basically say do whatever the hell you want (they just want the tax revenue).

That's certainly possible, and if KSL can sell or otherwise fill all the units in the current revised plan they could certainly come back to the county and ask to develop more. But they could do that to the Town of Olympic Valley too.  And Olympic Valley will not only want the tax revenue, they will be totally dependent on Squaw for tax revenue, so they will have an even stronger incentive to let KSL do whatever will increase property, sales, and transient occupancy taxes. Incorporation is supposed to be revenue neutral for the county--does anyone know if the calculations will be based on current revenues or will projected revenues from the new development be factored in? One other downside --there are a lot of part time residents of OV who are not registered voters--Wirth claims 7500. Small towns with lots of part timers are very good at milking the part timers for cash.  For example, in Truckee, the PUD had, and may still have, different electric rates for locals and part timers. Now I'm not saying that any of these bad things will happen if IOV is successful--it will depend on who is elected to the town council and on economic factors as they change over time. But incorporation is not in and of itself guaranteed to improve the SV experience for residents--both voting and nonvoting--and the general public. 

 

Industries in one-industry towns and even states are very good at having their way with governing officials. Look at West Virginia, the coal industry, and the ongoing poisoning of the water that WV regulators ignore. KSL will have a much easier time pushing around and/or bribing, OV than Placer County.

post #12 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
KSL will have a much easier time pushing around and/or bribing, OV than Placer County.

 

I seriously doubt that.  It's easier to look the other way when something happens 75 miles away vs. your own back yard.  I also wouldn't put too much stock in Wirth's analysis - his letter is kind of a joke and full of both contradictions and hypocracy.

post #13 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayT View Post
 

 

I seriously doubt that.  It's easier to look the other way when something happens 75 miles away vs. your own back yard.  I also wouldn't put too much stock in Wirth's analysis - his letter is kind of a joke and full of both contradictions and hypocracy.

Suppose OV decides not to permit something KSL wants to do. and KSL decides to sue--who has the deeper pockets to fight it out in court?

post #14 of 93
Incorporating Squaw Valley is the worst idea I've heard. It disenfranchises the true stakeholders to an extreme while empowering a tiny group of very opinionated locals. These people are wonderful friends but terrible administrators (as evidenced by the way the water replacement has been handled). At least Placer county has a set of reasonably defined rules that have worked for decades - follow the rules and you are fine.
The voting locals are a mostly transient residents. In 30 years of renting rooms in the valley, only one moved there permanently and very few lasted more than a couple years. KSL's plans span 20 years. It doesn't seem right for someone who will be gone in a couple years to decide what happens for decades. The long time locals are a tiny fraction of the people in the valley. Really, the most consistent stakeholders are the second home owners who enjoy Squaw regularly, love the area and are involved for the long term (like me!). Really, the true stakeholders are the massive number of visitors.
Another concern is the situation in Detroit, Stockton and nearby Mammoth. Bankrupt cities are too common. Money problems cause bad decisions. How is Squaw immune to these problems?
Finally, the small voter pool is easily manipulated. KSL might have enough rooms to fill with registered voters and overwhelm an election. Or the resort workers (who are the majority as it currently stands) may micromanage the resort to their advantage at the expense of long term viability.
This incorporation is a scary proposal in response to an imaginary defect in the current proven government.
Eric
post #15 of 93

I do agree it would be better if the homeowners in the valley could have some kind of presence or vote towards things because arguably they have the most to lose.  No idea if that can be achieved legally or not.  On the other hand, when Wirth points this out in his letter and says he's afraid the local community won't be represented it's laughable because it's not like KSL is going to listen to them either - same deal for Placer County.  I also think there'd be a wave of support for incorporation by giving those people a voice... or maybe not?

post #16 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayT View Post
 

 On the other hand, when Wirth points this out in his letter and says he's afraid the local community won't be represented it's laughable because it's not like KSL is going to listen to them either

you sign them up now with 'and if this happens then ...' clauses, and go to 'secret meetings'.

post #17 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by eleeski View Post

The voting locals are a mostly transient residents. In 30 years of renting rooms in the valley, only one moved there permanently and very few lasted more than a couple years. KSL's plans span 20 years. It doesn't seem right for someone who will be gone in a couple years to decide what happens for decades. The long time locals are a tiny fraction of the people in the valley. Really, the most consistent stakeholders are the second home owners who enjoy Squaw regularly, love the area and are involved for the long term (like me!). Really, the true stakeholders are the massive number of visitors.
Eric

I hope you are not serious...

At the very least, the destination visitors don't give a cr&p. I doubt many second home owners do too beyond the value of their property and their vacation experience.
Edited by alexzn - 4/13/14 at 2:31pm
post #18 of 93

Off topic (sorry) but is it true that Alpine Meadows will rebrand as Squaw Valley very soon? 

post #19 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexzn View Post


I hope you are not serious...

At the very least, the destination visitors don't give a cr&p. I doubt many second home owners do too beyond the value of their property and their vacation experience.

They will very much care if OV incorporates and things go badly--they may not be voters but they will still be taxpayers and users of municipal services. If things go well then you're right--they won't give a cr*p (I think you spelled it wrong). I would advise OV second homeowners to register to vote there.

 

As far as what they call Alpine Meadows, who gives a s*&% (sp?)?

post #20 of 93

@Alexn I will stand by my statement that second home owners in the Valley are valid stakeholders. We depend on reasonable and stable governments to protect our assets. Placer county has a great track record over decades. The local politics there have proven much less so - with problems and unfriendly bickering over straightforward issues. 

 

Furthermore, I completely disagree with your " I doubt many second home owners do too beyond the value of their property and their vacation experience.". I am invested in the valley because I love it there. If all I wanted was a vacation, I would rent a room and let management handle everything. If all I wanted was money, I'd invest in Yuba City where returns are much higher. At least this second home owner is driven by quite different forces. And I've been there for decades.

 

@oldgoat Perhaps I should register to vote up there. Of course San Diego just had a little mayoral electoral crisis here. Where is the biggest political disaster looming?

 

The real beneficiaries of a great resort are the visitors to the resort. We all lose if Squaw valley degrades into a derelict resort or worse, closes.

 

Alpine and Squaw need that interconnect before they can rebrand. If a deal with Caldwell happens, can it ever get approved?

 

Eric

post #21 of 93

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by eleeski View Post

 

The real beneficiaries of a great resort are the visitors to the resort. We all lose if Squaw valley degrades into a derelict resort or worse, closes.

 

 

Not even KSL is pretending the resort might close without additional development.  It's perfectly sustainable on its own.

post #22 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayT View Post
 

 

 

Not even KSL is pretending the resort might close without additional development.  It's perfectly sustainable on its own.

There are a lot of bad things one can say about Alex Cushing, but one good thing one can say is that he was satisfied with what he could make running the mountain and a few on-mountain restaurants. He left the lodging, real estate development, etc, to others. But the mountain on its own will never generate the profits demanded by 21st century venture capitalists and their investors. An asset that is generating modest returns when it could be making huge returns is an affront to their souls.

post #23 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

There are a lot of bad things one can say about Alex Cushing, but one good thing one can say is that he was satisfied with what he could make running the mountain and a few on-mountain restaurants. He left the lodging, real estate development, etc, to others. But the mountain on its own will never generate the profits demanded by 21st century venture capitalists and their investors. An asset that is generating modest returns when it could be making huge returns is an affront to their souls.

 

For sure.  My point was the idea that Squaw would ever have to close is ludicrous.  It's self sustainable at least.

 

I do find it amusing that many (or at least some) of the second homeowners seem to think the village could help the value of their real estate.  I suppose it's possible in the long term, but typically a flooding of inventory on the market does not drive up prices.  For example, the neighborhood I live in has only had a handful or less houses on the market at any given time for the past 2-3 years and values are sky-rocking right back to 2007 prices as a result.  The last thing I'd want to see as a home owner is a big new development nearby.

post #24 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayT View Post
 

 

For sure.  My point was the idea that Squaw would ever have to close is ludicrous.  It's self sustainable at least.

 

I do find it amusing that many (or at least some) of the second homeowners seem to think the village could help the value of their real estate.  I suppose it's possible in the long term, but typically a flooding of inventory on the market does not drive up prices.  For example, the neighborhood I live in has only had a handful or less houses on the market at any given time for the past 2-3 years and values are sky-rocking right back to 2007 prices as a result.  The last thing I'd want to see as a home owner is a big new development nearby.

While there might be more beds, built, there will not be single family homes in the future of this KSL design, with that said, I think home values will increase because what is being built is not direct competition. 

post #25 of 93

I'm pretty sure there's 230 approvals for a sea of rooftops to pi55 off an aggressive lawyer who lives on SC road. He didn't want to see cars in a carpark for a handful of events or a few weddings so, uum, a decision was made  to make him look at 230 rooftops one day.

post #26 of 93
Thread Starter 
post #27 of 93
post #28 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

That's certainly possible, and if KSL can sell or otherwise fill all the units in the current revised plan they could certainly come back to the county and ask to develop more. 

 

Here is the one issue that hasn't been addressed enough. Is there actually a market for ALL those beds. The percentage of people that ski/snowboard every year isn't climbing and in some cases is falling. 

 

The thought process of KSL is also up for debate. I have heard more then one KSL person say that Ski Corp "could ban" all the people who support Squaw Valley movement toward incorporation, from their property: ie the ski hill, the village so on. When I was told that by someone, I told them that would be huge mistake. They also insist that they have enough water for all this development, despite what people like the water masters of the area have said and KSL's attempts to get water from Martis Valley indicate. 

 

Now granted KSL has made some improvements, like moving the ticket area, but we aren't dealing with rocket science here. Make no mistake about it, these people are out to make money off Squaw by developing the real estate and moving on. Andy Wirth is just a corporate figure head not a member of the Tahoe community, as soon as he does his master's bidding he will be down the road. 


Edited by Ske-Bum - 4/18/14 at 2:07pm
post #29 of 93

I still say, the current plans we see are nothing like the plans that will be implemented when they break ground. 

I worked in this field for 25 years and can't begin to tell you how many versions of plans were submitted to (name the govt entity) before the final plan was implemented.  Most of the time the project that was built was a fraction of the plan that was initially brought to the table.  

 

Example:  A farmer puts forth plans to build a 4000 cow barn.  The plans are put on hold until the farmer can show that he will be able to handle milking 4000 more cows than he already does.  The milk parlor to handle that capacity is going to take up too much of the barn space so he downsizes to a 3000 cow barn with a smaller milk parlor.  Now he needs to show that his manure pit will handle the manure for 3000 cows.  The plans are put on hold(again)  until the Farmer builds a manure pit to handle all the manure.  Plans are then submitted for a manure pit that will handle 3000 cows worth of shit.  That takes up too much farm land so the manure pit is downsized to accommodate 2000 cows.  Now the barn capacity is going to be smaller.  All of this happens in a 2 or 3 year period and they haven't broken ground on the milk parlor or manure pit.  6 years later the project is finished and the farmers son is old enough to take over the farm. 

 

Right now KSL is submitting a proposal for a 4000 cow barn but they haven't gotten approval for the Milk Parlor or Manure Pit yet. 

The powers that be at KSL have been in this situation before and they know they will be downsized many times before they break ground. 

post #30 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ske-Bum View Post
 

 

The thought process of KSL is also up for debate. I have heard more then one KSL person say that Ski Corp "could ban" all the people who support Squaw Valley movement toward incorporation, from their property: ie the ski hill, the village so on. When I was told that by someone, I told them that would be huge mistake.

 

If this is true then they've clearly lost their shit.  I hope KSL tries it - the national bad press would be a huge boost to the incorporation effort and the crowd-funding campaign.  Especially banning the guy who wrote Squallywood.

 

Not to mention they would likely be violating discrimination laws and possibly some electoral laws as well.

 

But it can't be true... they've seriously floated that idea?  They aren't that stupid and reckless, are they?

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