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'Quasi-public' beach poses problem for reporters

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  1. Newsgathering
At least two reporters were denied access to the site of a sinking Lake Tahoe seaplane on Thursday despite the…

At least two reporters were denied access to the site of a sinking Lake Tahoe seaplane on Thursday despite the area’s designation as a "public forum," the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza said. 

Brandon Rittiman, a reporter for KTVN Channel 2 News in Reno, and a KTVN photographer went to Burnt Cedar and Ski beaches to report on the incident, but were turned away by Hal Paris, Parks and Recreation Director for the self-identified "quasi-public" Incline Village General Improvement District.  According to the Bonanza, Paris cited Ordinance 7, an IVGID policy that limits beach access to residents or recreation pass holders, and added that exceptions would not be made for media. 

A glaring exception to the cited ordinance is the recently passed Policy and Procedure 136, another IVGID policy that designates "public forum areas" — including Burnt Cedar and Ski beaches — where the public can exercise their First Amendment rights whether or not they have access to the areas.   

Though the KTVN reporters were denied those rights on Thursday, IVGID General Manager Bill Horn told the Bonanza that the reporters could have gained access to the beaches if they had said "they were reporting under the First Amendment."