Rosnau’s solution = roadtrip
I commend Kirk Stapp for his poignant letter in The Sheet regarding the Medical Marijuana issue now facing the Town of Mammoth Lakes and, frankly, all of Mono County.
I am very concerned as a parent regarding the message we are sending our kids, should this facility, and all that comes with it, be allowed in our community. I have spent time in recent months working in the Santa Monica area, where many of these dispensaries are located. One does not have to hang around long to see the drawbacks to bending to these facilities, and the type of crowd they attract.
In that regard, I am sure there are people who benefit from the use of medicinal marijuana, but this has clearly become a poster child for the old adage, “If you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile.” Doctors licensed to dispense will move here specifically to do so. People are following these “doctors” who are licensed to prescribe marijuana wherever they might roam, in order to have quick access to their drug of choice.
I have heard the argument by a proponent of collectives that those who have prescriptions and live locally have to travel great distance to acquire their drugs. I would have to believe that the amount of people in all of Mono County who are card-carrying members of this part of our community is minimal, compared to the amount who do not need this service. So my question is, why are we potentially bowing to the needs of a token few, only to then allow the dregs that come with these facilities into our community?
My suggestion is this: let those that need this prescription form a co-op, and hire themselves a driver who will go pick up all of their “prescriptions,” thereby saving them the fuel and time.
Living in Mono County is all about making good choices and living a healthy lifestyle. Let’s let our kids and all of our visitors know, that these are the values we stand for.
In advance of the March 1 benefit at the Mountainside Conference Center for Chris Hernandez, here’s a short recap/update on his current condition.
The morning of Dec 15, Chris was seriously injured in a snowboarding accident at Mammoth Mountain and ultimately air-evac’d to Renown Medical Center (formally Washoe) in Reno, Nev. Chris arrived at the hospital with a small bleed in the back of his brain, 5 broken ribs, broken femur (just below his hip), a collapsed lung, broken scapula, and torn medial meniscus. He also had minor spinal fractures in virtually all of his spinal column and burst vertebrae T4, T11 & T12.
He also had an epidural hematoma that pushed on his spinal cord and caused some spinal cord damage known as Brown-Séquard syndrome. In his case, a loss of feeling but normal movement of his the left side below the waist and a paralysis of his right side with normal feeling.
Chris spent a month in ICU; three weeks of which he was in a medically induced coma while on a ventilator to facilitate breathing. During that time he had surgery on his femur to install a plate and three screws. He also had two back surgeries to stabilize his T4 vertebrae where they fused his T1-T6 with 12 screws 6 plates and 2 rods. After his condition was no longer life threatening, he was moved to the Neuro-floor for two weeks until he was “medically stable” at which time he was moved to the Renown Rehabilitation Center.
He is currently being treated by Dr Marca Sipski Alexander. (She is really good! Google Dr. Marca Sipski; she has done more of her work under her maiden name.) She has created a new Spinal Cord Injury group at Renown. Chris’s right leg is currently showing some movement in his foot and thigh muscle; an improvement from no movement several weeks ago.
His goal is to return to full functionality in his legs. Each day Chris does three or more hours of Physical, and Occupational Therapy. This all will help him regain his strength and get back to “normal”.
Most recently Chris had arthroscopic knee surgery on his medial meniscus, his FIFTH — and hopefully the LAST — of his surgeries.
We have been told by the doctors that he will need two to three months of in-patient rehabilitation before he can be discharged; this will be followed by at least a year of out-patient rehabbing. His doctors are very optimistic about his rehab. He is determined to accomplish that goal in less time and hopes he will be back on Mammoth Mountain and normal life by next season.
As you can guess, motivation is really important during this in-patient rehab. Chris is very motivated, but it is very had work getting nerves and muscles to work again. We count ourselves very lucky that Reno is close to Mammoth, and fortunate to have had lots of friends come and visit us during the past two and one-half months. It is so wonderful to have everyone come and hang out. It really makes being stuck in a hospital more tolerable and is very motivational for Chris.
Although Chris won’t be able to attend the fundraiser on March 1, Chris, Lisa Dewey and the entire Hernandez Family thank everyone for all of their love and support. We would like to thank all those who have contributed to the benefit fundraiser in their time, goods and services, and we hope it turns out to be one hell of a party!
Fans of Hernandez
Stand up for schools March 4!
On March 4, 2010, teachers, support staff, and parents plan to “Start the Day for Students!” On this day throughout the state of California, citizens will unite and call attention to the devastating cuts inflicted on our public schools.
Public education has become the target of unprecedented budget cuts with $17 billion in cuts over the last two years, and the governor has proposed another $2.4 billion in cuts in his 2010-11 state budget plan.
It’s time for our elected leaders to come up with solutions to our state’s chronic budget problems without jeopardizing our students and our state’s future.
In public polls, voters have said time and again that education funding should not be subjected to any cuts — and yet, California public schools have been subjected to 60% of the cuts, even though education funding only makes up 40% of the state budget.
The Association of California School Administrators, the California Teachers Association, and the Mammoth Education Association are joining with other education organizations, labor unions, higher education faculty, staff and students in a statewide day of action for our students on March 4.
Please join us by wearing stripes to show your support of our students! Ask your child’s teacher about the impact of state budget cuts.
Go to www.standupforschools.org for more information, and to learn about a petition to support a ballot initiative that would repeal more than $2 billion in tax breaks to large corporations and oil companies.
Call 1.888.268.4334 and tell your legislators to stop the cuts and close corporate tax loopholes!
Jeanne Oakeshott, President
Mammoth Education Association
MLTPA on UUT
In response to Ken Warner’s recent letter (The Sheet, Jan. 30) and his kind words for the Sherwins Working Group (SWG) and the Sherwins Area Recreation Plan (SHARP), MLTPA offers the following with regard to extending the existing Utility Users Tax (UUT).
Build Recreation Infrastructure: We couldn’t agree more with Ken’s suggestion to extend the UUT to construct projects, such as those identified in SHARP. The members of the SWG put in thousands of hours to arrive at their recommendations, and this kind of citizen investment must not create plans that get parked on shelves.
This summer, a process similar to the SWG will get started in the Lakes Basin, funded by a generous grant from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC). That effort will produce a similar plan that also will need funding for implementation. And early next fall, the first phase of signage for the Mammoth Lakes Trail System will get into the ground, funded by federal stimulus (ARRA) funding and Measure R.
This initial stage will represent less than 25 percent of the finished system; an extension of the UUT should be used to complete the signage and wayfinding components of the Mammoth Lakes Trail System. Building recreation infrastructure in a place like Mammoth Lakes is not likely to run out of opportunities anytime soon: the UUT extension could be used to get the High Sierra Striders’ track project under construction, build new tennis courts, and complete the Town’s system of multiuse paths.
Maintain Mobility Infrastructure: An extension of the UUT should be used to ensure that citizens and visitors alike can get around town while snow is on the ground without being forced to walk on dangerous, icy, poorly lit streets. An extension of the UUT should be used to maintain safe and efficient pedestrian mobility infrastructure year-round, with a particular emphasis on winter months, including safe access to public transit.
Enhance Transportation Infrastructure: An extension of the UUT should be used to build bus shelters appropriate for the highest incorporated town in the state of California, to expand the reach of the public transit system itself, to add to the transit fleet, and to produce an integrated service-information system that tells riders when the next bus or trolley is coming. This information should be available at transit stops as well as on the Web.
MLTPA further suggests that the UUT be extended at the current rate, with the voters guaranteed the right to terminate this extension should they feel that the UUT is not delivering on its commitments. The Town Council should present this proposition to the voters as a “special tax,” similar to Measure R, requiring a two-thirds-plus-one vote to pass.
The current UUT played a critical role in financing Shady Rest and Mammoth Creek parks, recreation amenities that define our community. Extending the UUT with a two-thirds-plus-one vote — ensuring that the money goes where the ordinance says it will go — and committing these funds to build, maintain and enhance our recreation and mobility infrastructure are actions consistent with this community’s passion for where we live, and worthy of the voters’ consideration in June.
MLTPA Board of Directors
It appears that there are misperceptions in the community about the status of the Town budget. Over the past two years the Town Council acted quickly to make a series of policy decisions to deal with the financial impacts of the recession. As a result of these decisions the Town’s operating expenses continue to be balanced and the Town has been able to undertake $42 million in capital improvements using $34 million in grants.
Operating expenses are the ongoing costs of the employees, supplies and equipment necessary to provide police protection, street repair, snow removal, parks and recreation, planning, and other Town services. Over the course of the recession, the Town Council has reduced staffing by 18% (not counting furloughs) in order to keep expenses in line with reduced revenues. As part of this, all of the Town employees from the Town Manager down to the lowest paid employees agreed to a 15.7% reduction in pay (to help balance the budget.
The current and past Town Councils have always used conservative estimates of revenues. As a result, revenues have exceeded the amount necessary to cover operating expenses in every one of the past 10 years, except in FY 2007-08 when funds were drawn down from the Reserve for Economic Uncertainty (REU) to cover the Hot Creek litigation. Since that time all litigation expenses have been built into the budget.
The REU is money that the Town Council saves in good years to cover unanticipated expenses. The REU has been used three times in the history of the Town. A draw was made in FY 2000-01 to cover redevelopment litigation. That draw was paid back over a period of several years using subsequent year’s excess revenues over operating expenses. A draw on the REU was also made in FY 2000-01 to cover a soils contamination problem, which was repaid in a subsequent year by insurance. The draw for Hot Creek is expected to be repaid through insurance coverage (which is disputed) or by subsequent year’s revenue surpluses.
Once again this year, the Town Council used very conservative revenue estimates when it approved the budget for the current year. As of January, revenues were running about $250,000 above projections and expenses were somewhat below budget. The Town has more than $8 million cash in the bank.
One of the first actions taken by the Town Council in winter 2008 when the slow down in building became apparent was to determine which capital projects should be continued and which should be delayed. The availability of grants for certain projects was a major consideration in that determination. Over the course of the recession the Town Council has kept $42 million in capital projects going, using $34 million in grants. Money not provided by grants had been either saved in advance or was funded with internal borrowing. The borrowing included use of $3.2 million proceeds from the sale of surplus right-of-way and internal financing of a $2 million to fund the airport terminal. The Town Council also applied $1 million that had been saved because of their decision to delay purchase of replacement of vehicles. The Town Council chose to borrow this money rather than cancel the projects and/or return the grant funds. These projects also created local construction jobs.
Projects such as the police station, ice rink cover, and the extension of Airport Road have been delayed until funding becomes available. Also, changes in State funding time frames have delayed the reconstruction of Meridian Blvd., installation of traffic signals on Main St., and other drainage and road improvements.
We read daily in the papers about cities such as Reno and Los Angeles that are on the brink of bankruptcy because of the recession. There are many more cities that have not adjusted to the new reality. However, the Mammoth Lakes Town Council stands out for taking immediate action to keep its operating budget balanced.
Certainly there are those who would second guess the decisions to use the right of way money and vehicle fund surplus to keep important public works projects going. However, I think it is fair to ask what projects they would have abandoned, what grants they would have returned, and if they there was some more important use for that money.
The Town Council has made the difficult decisions necessary to keep our government solvent, maintained public safety, and provided funding to keep capital projects and construction jobs working for our community.
Rob Clark, Town Manager