Looks like we’ll have to channel ol’ three-dot Shirk here. I don’t have the attention span to present it any more coherently.
The latest on the Premium Energy Pumped Storage saga. Crowley Lake has now become the proposed upper reservoir site. There’s a legal notice about it. See page 25.
A few emails. One from Tom Gaunt. “Hi – just a heads up that the ski area has jacked up the annual fee for season lockers by over 25% or $100 more. They now want $520 for a locker. I paid $390 last year. They are definitely trying to force people out.”
Lunch aside: Gaunt is just lucky people haven’t trained themselves to sleep standing up. Price might triple in that scenario!
Speaking of affordable housing, I noted with interest at Wednesday’s Council meeting that Council approved the construction of three new bus shelters (to replace two existing shelters on Main Street and the one in front of Carl’s Jr.). The cost to replace all three is estimated at $330,000.
I figure as long as you’re building bus shelters why not construct small housing units on the roof? Think about the synergy. Building housing close to transportation? Check.
But while we’re on transit. A mystery writer has been emailing me because he/she is irate that the Eastern Sierra Transit Authority has installed cameras on its buses. The mystery writer believes this is a civil rights violation.
Forwarded was a return email sent by ESTA Executive Director Phil Moores which i thought was pretty well done.
“I am sorry the installment of video equipment on the buses has had a negative effect for you. This technology is useful in defending ESTA in the event of collisions and onboard incidents. We do not use it to routinely watch our passengers. We are far too busy for such activities even if we were interested. The devices are solely for investigative purposes. As a public place, the bus is not considered a private space with expectation of privacy. I hope this explains the purpose and eases your mind a bit. Thank you for riding the bus.” -Phil Moores
Onto Council … a few event organizers and staff were on hand to tout the success of their events. One, Shira Dubrovner, I convinced to not make public comment and just send her stats here to move the meeting along. I can be thanked for that this week with any offer of a chilled beverage.
Town Recreation Manager Stu Brown said a record 54 kids signed up for the Wave Rave Skateboard Camp.
Kevin Green said the Mammoth Yoga Festival drew nearly 650 participants and that post-festival, he’s already sold 120 passes for next year.
The event will also be pushed back a week next year. It fell over Father’s Day weekend this year.
For Dubrovner’s Mammoth Lakes Film Festival which took place over Memorial Day weekend:
-We had over 3,100 tickets accounted for equating to 600 individual fest goers. 33% were from the Eastern Sierra Area (from Lone Pine to Bridgeport) and 67% were out-of-towners
-70% of them stayed 3 or more nights
-21% of them had an annual income of $150,000 or more
-Ages were evenly dispersed with equal amounts of all age groups from 18 to 65 + were in attendance.
The most compelling part of Council occurred when Mammoth Lakes Housing Director Patricia Robertson pulled a consent agenda item concerning the “Community Indicators Report.”
This is one of those reports that the Town’s Community Development Department routinely puts out just to say it did it and normally, people just accept it and nod their heads and move on.
Kudos to Robertson for calling bullshit.
As you might imagine, the report, cobbled together by a junior staffer, concluded that everything is fine.
Robertson challenged the very basis upon which the indicators are defined.
Sure, housing prices are up, so that’s a plus, and affordability is down, so that’s a negative, but assigning a red/green, bad/good reading doesn’t really inform anything.
“The housing crisis is not reflected in this report,” she said. “And I want you to look at this [analyze it] differently.”
Staff resisted. From Community Development Director Sandra Moberly: “This is a snapshot document.”
Councilmember Hoff, still in a delirium over her speech (see text page 25) touting her accomplishments: “I thought it was a good look at what’s going on.”
Even though Robertson had just pointed out that it’s not.
Councilmember Salcwitzerland applied the lipstick by pointing out that we should be celebrating the increase in the high school graduation rate, though a celebration of mere graduation in and of itself is a celebration of mediocrity.
I dunno. I heard Robertson and I heard someone who’s digging and thinking a little bit below the surface.
And she and Mammoth Lakes Housing have largely been iced out of Parcel Planning.
Meanwhile, complacent staff and council can’t really hear what she’s saying.
Her number one gripe. if you’ve got a Community Indicators Report of any meaning or substance, it wouldn’t be sitting on the damn consent agenda. You’d be talking about it. So create a report that has value or save the money.
I’m a new Patricia Robertson fan. For at least one week.
Speaking of calling out staff, Councilman John Wentworth and others had choice words regarding public outreach for The Parcel.
Wentworth described the $400,000 consultant’s outreach as a “Suite Z focused.”
Meaning, you’ve got a consultant more concerned about talking to people who haven’t worried about housing in thirty years and less concerned about doing the hard work of say, contacting everyone on MLH’s waiting list (70 names long) and interviewing them individually.
Not to get completely sidetracked, but in my affordable housing experience, all anyone ever wanted was more space.
In some instances, a mere six inches, and whom among us can’t agree that an extra six inches deployed strategically couldn’t solve a host of the world’s problems.
On at least two occasions, and I’m actually thinking it was three, my wife tore a mirror off her Chevy Tahoe either trying to enter or exit the affordably-designed garage.
Meanwhile, the “playground” integrated into the project was eliminated by the newly formed HOA within a matter of months for liability as well as snow storage reasons.
Too late. Couldn’t fix the garages at that point.
Back to the action. Mammoth Public Works Director Grady Dutton said that he’s receiving public comment about The Parcel everywhere he goes. In fact, he even spoke to 2-3 people during a recent haircut.
*Editor aside: Grady doesn’t have a lot of hair. How does he have the time to speak to 2-3 people? Is his barber incompetent?
Why did we hire a consultant at all? We should’ve just sent Grady on a style/listening tour – maybe have him spend a day at Tonik. They’ve got a lot of nice colorful plaid shirts that would fit in nicely with his repertoire.
Council wasn’t having much of the placation.
Wentworth said bluntly, “I’m getting a sandbagging feeling.” I mean, he was blunt. Delivered politely. But blunt. I wouldn’t mistake him for anything other than irritated. “I’m not seeing usable, engaging materials,” he told Dutton and Community Development Director Sandra Moberly. “Give me visuals.”
Hoff then trotted in from left field to add that young people may or may not be interested in affordable housing depending upon their marijuana use and marijuana policies.
*I could see a “smoking” policy for housing, as in don’t smoke in the house. But I don’t think anyone cares what people smoke.
Councilman Kirk Stapp brought up an excellent point regarding public outreach. It’s nice to talk about all the items on the wish list, but “are we laying a foundation for something we can’t afford?”
What else? Council canceled bus service to Old Mammoth Road, threw $75,000 toward Bluesapalooza in the form of a reimbursable grant and heard a Bishop Airport update from inyo CAO Clint Quilter.
All parties are dancing around whether or not Mammoth TBID can/cannot be used to subsidize commercial air service.