A petition to recall June Lake Public Utility District Board member Patti Heinrichs is in the works. The following two letters address the topic.
New low in June Lake
When former Mono County Supervisor Vicki Bauer “served” June Lake PUD president Patti Heinrich with intent to recall her from the JLPUD Board, politics in June Lake hit an all-time low. Her attempt at grandstanding was tasteless and without class. The gallery of five or six people in attendance at the JLPUD board meeting was duly impressed. The reasons for recall are false at best and amount to nothing more than character assassination. I feel that the lack of solid rationale for recall shows that this is a personal attack by certain June Lake PUD employees and Mrs. Bauer (Heinrich supported Mrs. Bauer’s opponents in previous county supervisor elections).
Recently the JLPUD Board voted to have the employees begin to pay 2% of their share of their retirement. Their full contribution would increase by 2% every year until they reach the maximum amount of 8% (This concurs with the newly enacted Pension reform bill in California for state employees). The employees are understandably unhappy with the board decision.
The JLPUD is in my opinion completely dysfunctional. The problems are numerous, including in-fighting between Board members. Full disclosure, I am a board member. There is also conflict between PUD staff and certain Board members.
The JLPUD staff are some of the highest paid and best “benefited” employees in the county. They receive Cal Pers 2.7% at age 55, fully paid medical including deductible, dental, vision and 28 days off a year after 2 years and 37 days off a year after 15 years. In my opinion the district can no longer afford this level of benefits.
I introduced the resolution to have employees pay their share of their retirement and I expect to be the next target of a recall. If you tell a lie enough times does it become the truth? It would seem so in this case.
I would ask that you consider what the motivation for this or any other recall might be before signing any petition. Have the courage to ask the person being targeted for a response. You might learn something.
Sad little June Lake
Last Wednesday night, immediately before the monthly meeting, the board room of the June Lake Public Utility District was visited by two big celebrities in the June Lake community, former Mono County Supervisor, Vikki Bauer and her husband, Mike. They handed the board president, Patti Heinrich, a written notification that there was an effort to recall her and left with a flourish…their final words, “you’ve been served.”
It’s funny because I haven’t seen these two at any meetings lately. So whatever their beef is and whatever the beef of those who signed the petition must be in the “hearsay” category, rather than direct knowledge of what goes on at the meetings. I must admit I was not a frequent attendee of the PUD meetings before a few months ago but I do know Patti Heinrich, as do all of the people who signed the petition. It’s pretty unthinkable to me, even though I’ve watched all of the partisan nonsense that goes on in this town for ten years now, that anyone would attribute what Patti Heinrich does to motives other than honest and heartfelt ones. And yet, that’s what the little petition says.
I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that she volunteers more than half of her time to the good of this town. She is a member of the Women’s Club, the Historical Society, the Community Advisory Committee, the June Lake PUD Board of Directors and runs the Thrift Shop in June Lake two days a week (as well as volunteering at the Mammoth Hospital Cast Off). While she is not attending all of the meetings pertinent to these organizations, she is doing research, meeting with lawyers and accountants and showing up at Board of Supervisors meetings. Now she is being accused of being disruptive. I would say her only sin is that she pays attention, knows what is going on in Mono County and is trying to alert people to the fact that the June Lake PUD is dysfunctional and headed for deep trouble. Sound familiar, City of Mammoth Lakes?
I hope that before anyone signs the petition to put the Heinrich recall on the next ballot in Mono County, he or she will take the time to ask Patti herself what is going on at the PUD and not take the word of people who are being asked to contribute a modest amount to their pension fund, while they enjoy fully paid medical benefits with their co-pays covered by the district and are some of the best compensated workers in the county. They naturally don’t want any changes made despite the financial trouble the district is in. They don’t like whistle blowers and they want her out of the way. Go figure.
Welcome to Old Mammoth Road
Read your story last week about the new Monkey Bar, under the ownership of Dave Talsky and operated by James Feeney. On behalf of everyone at the Sierra Center, we’d like to welcome Dave and James to Old Mammoth Road and wish them the absolute best of luck with their new endeavor. Old Mammoth Road is a happening place and we are happy to have Mammoth Mountaineering and the Monkey Bar to spice up our offerings to locals and travelers as well. We know James’ cooking from the Starlight Cafe, so we are sure that he’ll be a five-star favorite again in nothing flat.
If Mammoth is ever going to be more than just a ski area, we have to have creative and exciting places to eat with inspired chefs in charge. The Monkey Bar should do just that, and Mammoth Mountaineering can’t be beat for helping people to get high … with skis and climbing equipment, that is. Congratulations and thanks from the Sierra Center for helping us to make Old Mammoth the newest part of town!