You can’t portray yourself as an agent of change if you’re serving up the same old goulash.
At Wednesday’s Mammoth Lakes Tourism Board meeting, Chair Scott McGuire, in defending why the deadline to apply for a vacant board position had been extended, cast part of the blame on the local news media, saying The Sheet and Mammoth Times had failed to publish MLT’s vacancy notice.
Except such a notice had never been sent to us, and I doubt the Times received one either. When we receive such notices, we publish them. Why? Because we charge for such notices, and we’re pretty reliable when it comes to placing paid submissions.
Every other governmental or quasi-governmental agency in the Eastern Sierra posts board vacancies in this manner.
Not MLT. It apparently sent out a press release soliciting interest. I never saw the press release, and have no idea whether or not the Times did.
Anyway, it didn’t get published. And it wasn’t like anyone followed up with me from MLT saying, “Geez, how do I get this information into the paper? This is important.”
Nevertheless, MLT ended up with one applicant, Matt Hammer, for the open retail board position.
Apparently, that wasn’t good enough for Mr. McGuire, who decided to extend the application deadline and personally lobbied other candidates to apply. At one point, he asked me if I had any ideas for suitable candidates. His rationale was something to the effect of, “We need to get as many candidates as possible interested in the job. We don’t want to settle. We want the best person available.”
I view it a little differently. If you have a decent candidate who has enough initiative and follow-through to submit an application, that’s a far better choice than someone who needs to be cajoled into it. And if Mr. Hammer is smart enough to run a couple of businesses, he’s probably smart enough to serve on the MLT Board.
Further, what this describes to me is a broken, two-part process. Part one: On the down-low, advertise a position (but not too well) and hope that the right person applies. That right person being someone you’re comfortable with, and someone who either thinks like you or someone you think you might be able to dominate or win over. If that happens, process complete.
If you end up with a wild card like Hammer whom you don’t really know, then proceed to part two and recruit a “better fit” because you’ve already established that rules and deadlines are meaningless.
Sadly, there is recent precedence for application deadline extensions. Mammoth’s Town Council recently extended a deadline for its Planning and Economic Development Commission. Jessica Kennedy was then recruited and selected over Rhonda Duggan and Dawn Vereuck, who had submitted applications on-time.
A final thought regarding Mr. McGuire. This is the same guy who excoriated fellow MLT Board member Brent Truax for perceived ethical conflicts, ultimately running him off the MLT Board’s Executive Committee (because he couldn’t figure out how to run him off the MLT Board altogether).
The “court-packing” strategy didn’t represent FDR’s finest moment back in 1937. And I don’t see this as Mr. McGuire’s finest moment, either.
Speaking of MLT, the organization will pretty much carry the same $10 million budget into 2019-2020.
*I operate under the assumption that whatever “joint tourism reserves” accumulate will be spent.
A discussion of a potential recalibration of Measure A dollars (which are divided between housing, transit and marketing) yielded … no discussion.
Mayor Pro-Tem Bill Sauser says he is “completely comfortable” with leaving the allocations as is.
Councilmembers Salcido and Wentworth also say they are both fine for now.
Mammoth Lakes resident Sandy Hogan said she is worried about seeing money funnel back to the town versus out to the non-governmental organizations, particularly Mammoth Lakes Housing (MLH).
“The public said create these organizations and let them operate.” She characterized MLH as crippled.
“If you don’t trust them [MLH],” chimed in Mammoth Lakes resident Tom Cage, “why give them anything? Don’t hobble the organizations,” he added. “If you are, then bring them back in-house.”
Festival Director Shira Dubrovner says that the 5th annual Mammoth Lakes Film Festival sold approximately 3,100 total tickets to various events, a 10% increase over 2018.
“We also had more industry presence at the fest this year,” she said, “with distribution company A24, press like Variety and the Hollywood Reporter and more.
Finally, Lynn Boulton of the Sierra Club’s Range of Light chapter forwarded me (Thursday morning) a copy of Premium Energy’s project application in response to FERC’s (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) denial of its initial Pumped Storage project proposal for Swall Meadows which we reported on in our April 27 issue.
Says Boulton, “The upper reservoir is now in Wyman Canyon and the alternative is in Birch Creek drainage–both on the east side of the White Mountains.”