Get the stupidity behind us …
Dear Council members:
I attended the [Mammoth Lakes Town] council meeting on Thursday, Oct. 18. Below is what I would propose. I am against cutting anything, except excess staff and overly generous pay packages, reductions which should have happened long before this anyhow. I would rather see more money go to our schools than into overpaid administrators’ pocketbooks. We need our police force to ensure the safety of our local population and our visitors. That being said, below is what I think is the best way to handle it and also my commentary on the simply absurd notion that adding Single-Family Rentals to the pool of rental properties would increase revenue.
Let’s bite the bullet and get this stupidity behind the town. A one-time property tax assessment on all properties, amount to be calculated by dividing the amount due by the number of properties, would cover it. It would be a Measure put on the ballot and put to a vote. I’d be pissed, as would be everybody else, but the memory of paying that would be gone after a couple of years. Passing on the cost of our Town’s mistake to visitors through an ongoing tax on lift and event tickets would be offensive, as they are then paying for our mistake.
Although it may only be the cost of half a beer on the Mountain, it would be a reminder, as a line item on the ticket price, of the town’s negligence and that line item reminder would be right up there in front for, oh let’s see, is it 20 or 23 years for the scheduled payments? Great PR for the town.
I would also like to note that adding more rental inventory to what is already an excessive amount will NOT add revenues. It will ultimately decrease them, as the price of a nightly rental will decrease with added supply. Economics 101: supply and demand of a commodity determines its price. As supply increases while demand does not, the result is lower prices. There is no evidence that there would be a surge in rental activity (demand) if SFR’s were included in the current pool of available nightly choices.
There are plenty of 4 bed units already for rent, so there is not some other “class” of renters that is not being served already. The income from Transient Occupancy Tax would at best be flat, but the glaringly unintended consequence of this would be a tremendous devaluation of everyone’s property values, as if they haven’t been damaged enough already due to the Great Recession. This would then lead to lower property taxes, leaving a net result of lower revenues to the town, not increased revenues.
The idea of allowing the nightly rental of SFR’s and the manner in which it has been presented to Council appears to stem from some greedy folks looking to exploit our town in a weak moment. Changing the general plan to allow this would also likely open the town up to further litigation as the investors who have paid fees and bought property with the intention to develop a large number of new units would have a strong argument that the rules were changed on them midstream (sound familiar?).
The large and impressive analysis done by a second homeowner looks much too good to be true and appears to be pure fantasy. I would examine his actual intentions and follow the money. What does he own and where? Is he underwater on his second home here and looking for a way to convert it to income property, so that when he sells, he can use the capital loss on his taxes? With whom is this group associated and what are their real intentions?
My guess is they are not looking out for the town and its inhabitants, but looking to line their own pockets.
Stavlo elaborates …
Recently The Sheet reported in its Oct. 20 edition on “The Week in Candidate Forums.” I was misquoted as having the position of “cutting teachers’ salaries.” This is not what I said or what I intended.
Here is basically what I said in regards to budget cuts: “If either of the Brown/Munger initiatives pass our district will deficit spend approximately $300,000 this year. If neither of the initiatives pass, we will deficit spend approximately $800,000 this year and next year we will be deficit spending approximately $1.2 million. Approximately 80% to 90% of our expenditures are employee salaries and benefits. With the size of deficit spending we are facing, cuts will have to come from salaries and benefits.” I did not specifically say we would cut teachers’ salaries.
Instead, I went on to explain that we needed to look at what maximizes our students’ performance. One can look at test results such as STAR testing, ACT, and SAT testing. Another test result, which I did not specifically mention, would be API scores. What activities in MUSD maximize student performance? Where do we get the most “bang for our buck?” List these activities in order of most effectiveness to least effectiveness. When we make cuts start cutting from the bottom of the list on those items that have the least impact on student performance. This implies specific cuts and may impact specific employees. However, it does not imply “cutting teachers’ salaries” across the board.
In another discussion, I mentioned a recent study by Dr. Willard Daggett, titled “Improving Student Performance in Times of Declining Resources.”
Basically, this paper states that those school districts that have been the most successful in times of declining budgets are the ones that have shifted their focus from inputs (programs) to outputs (student performance). This is an approach as a school district we should explore.
Romney at odds with himself
A contraceptive study conducted by the University of Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis from 2008 to 2010 followed 9,000 low income teenagers and women ages 14-45 years.
The study concluded that offering free contraception to these women significantly lowered the rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion.
Unplanned pregnancy rates among the teen age women in this study who received free birth control were less than a fifth of the national teen birth rate of 34.3 births per 1000. The birth rate for the teens in this study was 6.3 per 1000.
The rate of abortion among teens nationwide at the time of the study was 19.6 per 1000.
The rate of abortion among teens in this study was 4.4 per 1000, a very significant decrease.
Unplanned pregnancy among teen age women often hampers their ability to complete their education and lead successful and fulfilling lives. It may also decrease their ability to rise above the 47% of the population who are said by Governor Romney to depend on government largesse.
Governor Romney, if elected, has said he would cut federal funding to Planned Parenthood, an agency which has provided contraceptive services nationwide to millions of women over the past several decades.
Such a course of action by Governor Romney, as the above study indicates, would result in more unintended pregnancies and abortions, a result which no one including the Governor wants to see.
Governor Romney, it would seem, is at odds with himself over this issue.
To prevent unintended pregnancy, women need accurate contraceptive information, health insurance coverage and a free choice in selecting a birth control method that works best for them.