Published in the March 14 – 27, 2018 issue of Morgan Hill Life

Recently, I had the pleasure of spending some time relaxing at Lake Tahoe. From the comfort of the condo I heard the waves crashing on the shoreline. At other times I’d look out and it was calm as glass. It wasn’t until I walked along the lake shore of that my other senses kicked in. The smell of fresh air and the beauty of the rocks glistening can only be seen when you walk along the water’s edge. These walks got me thinking about the observations people hear and see every day and though they are insightful it is not until you get closer to what you are observing that you get the full effect.

The history of Lake Tahoe, from the original Native American Washoe Indians to the first person of European descent to see the lake in 1844, is quite interesting. Back in 1864 there was a dispute between California and Nevada which resulted in what is now the defined partition and split in the lake which created the state line. As time passed and with increased population in the 1960s, people grew concerned over how to best protect the lake. In 1969 the U.S. Congress and the California and Nevada state legislatures worked together to create an agreement and share in the responsibility of protecting the lake. This joint effort created the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, which has environmental protections and land-use regulations for the entire area of Lake Tahoe.

Additional laws were passed in the 1980s that addressed improvements and protections pertaining to transportation and uses on the lake. However, discord between government agencies and residents arose and as a result grass-roots organization formed and now serves as the watchdogs of the lake and continue to hold those accountable to even stricter protections.

As an individual, you may think you alone will have no effect on a situation. But, doing nothing results in nothing and keeps the status quo. If each of us just did a little something, however minor, you will find that by doing something it does change things and it changes you. Think about tossing a rock into the water and seeing the ripple effect.  Webster’s dictionary defines “ripple effect” as: “the continuing and spreading results of an event or action and a spreading, pervasive, and usually unintentional effect or influence.” Dennis Merritt Jones wrote a column in the HuffPost called “The Ripple Effect of You.” It describes how people can be compared to pebbles hitting the surface on the pond of life. No one ever really knows how far their ripples will go.

So, I wonder how is it that each of you can create the ripple effect in our community. Will you step up and participate? One simple way to make a difference in your community is to become a mobile citizen. The County of Santa Clara has a free app called Mobile Citizen that allows you to take a picture and submit a public concern. It’s fast and easy to use. Those who are now using it have seen results.


Lake Tahoe and the amazing beauty of the area could have been lost had it not been for those willing to participate in finding shared solutions. In the case of Lake Tahoe, it took people to be involved to truly find compromises and solutions that benefit everyone. San Martin may not be the next Lake Tahoe. But the overall concept of protecting the environment and working together to solve the bigger problems take the community to be involved.

The San Martin Neighborhood Alliance and the San Martin Chamber of Commerce teamed up with Supervisor Mike Wasserman’s Office, Greenwaste Management, & the Santa Clara Valley Water District to host a Trash Bash from 8:30 to noon, March 24. Meet at the Sig Sanchez Government Center, 80 Highland Ave., and be a part of the solution. RSVP to and help clean-up the community you live in, drive through, or just want to preserve for the greater good.

Mother Teresa said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

Trina Hineser is a San Martin resident. She wrote this for Morgan Hill Life.


Trina Hineser
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Trina Hineser

Trina Hineser is president of the San Martin Neighborhood Alliance board of directors. She wrote this for Morgan Hill Life. Visit the website at
Trina Hineser
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