Posted on 12 August 2011.
An osprey sits atop a Tufa formation on Mono Lake. Protecting the lake isn’t for the birds … (Photo: Lunch)
Thanks for publishing Tom Crowe’s letter about Mono Lake on July 30.
Mark Twain’s “Roughing It” describes Mono Lake in two chapters as unique. He even describes the tufa towers as an ancient feature of the lake.
Tufa Towers State Park was a delight to foreign visitors, especially from Europe, because of the wildlife and the unique beauty of the lake against the snow-capped Sierra. It was a great place to take pictures.
Tufa Towers State Park probably made the State Park closing list because of the remoteness of the area. Moreover, it probably didn’t save very much money, but lost jobs in Mono County instead.
According to Mr. Crowe, the Mono Lake Committee now denies visitors access to Mono Lake with its own police force. Since this is federal land, harrassing visitors probably isn’t legal, but it does have the appearance of a “landgrab” or “lakegrab.”
Mono Lake had to be saved earlier from Los Angeles’ encroachment of its water which was threatening the Califronia Sea Gull. Apparently, Mono Lake has to be saved again from budget cutting from the state of California.
Mark Twain made Mono Lake famous, even though he didn’t know what it was good for! As a journalist, he would recognize that Mono Lake is politically vulnerable again.
Mono Lake deserves federal protection as a National Monument and Wildlife Preserve to preserve it for posterity for wildlife researchers, photographers and the public. It especially needs to be protected from Gov. Brown’s budget cutting. Thanks again to Tom Crowe.
Katharine J. Jones
Mammoth 2nd homeowner
Producing global citizens
The Mammoth Unified School District would like to thank the Mammoth Lakes Town Council for allowing our high school students to work with the Bluesapalooza Leadership Team to provide safety-organized parking for the event.
Our initial discussions with Joyce and Sean Turner focused on public safety which was the main reason for the request to close Minaret Road to through traffic for the event with a secondary goal to partner with our high school boosters to provide parking for a $10 donation which the Council approved at its Aug. 3 meeting. We appreciated the opportunity as this endeavor raised $4,417 with the help of the MHS Interact Club, and women’s soccer and tennis teams.
The MHS Interact Club is sponsored by the Mammoth Lakes Noon Rotary Club with a motto of “Service Above Self” that inspires members to provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards, and promote good will and peace in the world. Interact has engaged in a number of local service projects this past year including a wood raffle to a needy member of the community, support for senior citizens, career exploration with local business leaders, Rose Parade float building along with volunteering for other school related projects.
Over the years, Rotary Clubs fund projects and sponsor volunteers with community expertise to provide medical supplies, health care, clean water, food production, job training, education, with a focus on improving the quality of life, particularly in developing countries. Many of us have been involved in providing support to our youth with international service projects through Corazon, a heartfelt name for a nonprofit, almost entirely volunteer organization that has offered shelter, education and community to thousands of our neighbors in northern Baja California for more than 30 years: “Building Communities Across Borders.”
Corazon has been building and repairing homes in Mexico through “Build a House In A Day” projects since its beginning in 1978. Last year, students from the MHS Interact Club traveled south of Tecate to participate in a house building project, a 16 x 20 foot home built on a concrete slab. Our students had the opportunity to meet new people, to cut some wood, to frame a house, bang some nails, lay out a roof, and celebrate a great accomplishment that promoted the concept of global citizenship.
The cost to build one home is $7,800. Some of the funds raised this past weekend are going to support that educational experience for our students through Corazon as we plan to travel again in the spring of 2012 with our students and fellow Rotarians to engage in a humanitarian service project.
We want to thank the Town Council, Sean and Joyce Turner and the community for allowing our high school students to engage in this fundraising project to support our school programs and sports.
Superintendent of Schools
Mammoth Unified School District
Bookmobile cuts looming
At this time, August 2011, we find ourselves in perilous budgetary situations. The federal government’s recent situation dealing with our serious budget deficit and the debt ceiling nearly sent our country’s triple A credit rating down the drain. Our state budget’s issues have not offered any solace and little hope for economic recovery. Although a budget was signed, it is fraught with “maybes,” “what-if scenarios” and “triggers.”
These “triggers” are troublesome. The state is counting on revenues continuing to increase, as they did in May and June. Should these increases not occur, the “triggers” will be implemented. If the revenue shortfall is more than $1 billion, “Tier 1 Cuts” will be enacted. These will add up to $600 million in cuts to a “wide variety of programs (including child care)” (CDE, July 25, 2011).
“Tier 2 Cuts” will be implemented should the revenue shortfall be greater than $2 billion. These cuts would affect Proposition 98 programs, meaning schools could see further state cuts to their operating budgets.
In Mono County, our school districts, including the County Office of Education, are working diligently to manage resources appropriately and to do whatever is necessary to prepare for mid-year cuts should they occur. Our Library system, which is run by the Mono County Office of Education, unlike any other public Library in the state, is also trying hard to weather these difficult fiscal times.
Public libraries in California are supported mostly by local dollars, which come in many forms: from property taxes, general fund dollars, sales taxes and parcel taxes. The state augments this funding through a few programs, but it is a small percentage of the entire budget.
For Mono County libraries, we received about $20,000 from the state last year. This year, that amount will be about $10,000 unless the “triggers” are implemented, and then that funding amount will be eliminated.
Because of this, we are looking at all the possible ways to cut costs, while keeping a high level of service to all of our communities. Currently, we are studying the Bookmobile expenditures and the services that it provides to see if there is another, more cost effective way of delivering books to those in our communities who are not able to access our libraries.
We will be discussing the matter of the Bookmobile at our next board meeting on August 25 and we welcome the public’s input in this matter. The meeting will take place at the Mono County Office of Education – South Office (Mammoth Lakes) and will start at 2:30 p.m., with public comment being the first agenda item. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on the Bookmobile.
Stacey Adler, Ph.D
Mono Superintendent of Schools
Library Authority Board Clerk
Do what’s best for the masses
It is time for the community of Mammoth Lakes to stop looking in the rearview mirror and start looking to the future. We keep looking to past business models or strategies to become our answer for tomorrow but we have different needs now than we did then and the needs of our guests have changed.
After hearing about recent Town Council meeting discussions concerning reduction of DIF and economic stimulus, I am asking why are we going through all this again? Do we really need more studies? The town has studied everything to death and done nothing, we have spent hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars doing studies. So to do even one more study is absurd.
I personally and with many others have worked on the general plan update, and spent many many hours reading, studying and digesting all the studies that had been done before. It is very clear what needs to done to sustain the economic viability of the town. I would like to suggest that you and all the people that want to do more studies and build more condos read the 2007 UCSB Economic Forecast White paper.
During the DIF reduction discussions, staff compared Mammoth Lakes to Beaumont or Lancaster, which doesn’t make sense. They are not resort communities or any kind of tourist destination at all. Why would you compare them to us?
I and many others who voted for you were hoping you would lead us down a new path not go down old ones that are no longer viable for economic growth. When having the conversation about economic growth and construction, building hotels is much better for the long-term economy of Mammoth Lakes than building condos. Remember we need hot beds not cold ones, and in terms of construction and the economy there is no difference if you are building condos or hotels.
I ask you to listen to all your constituents please, don’t dismiss those that are trying to give you a little different perspective on what is really going on in town and with staff.
The people and business sectors
such as realtors and developers that want to build more condos have only their own interest and economic survival in mind and not what’s best for the town.
The Town of Mammoth Lakes needs hot beds and amenities such as shopping, spas, restaurants and meeting and conference rooms. Again this is not something I am making up. It is what we learned during the general plan update and the recommendations of the UCSB report. On a national level we have the same issues: the needs of the few are being served rather the needs of the nation.
I hope you will do what is best for the many not the few.
Warren B. Harrell
Costa Mesa, Calif.
My family and I visit Mammoth Lakes around this time each year, August. We skipped the past two years and returned again this year.
My favorite part of this visit is my walk on the bike path. We are thrilled that this has been made available to us. We feel so much safer walking on the path.
Even more exciting is the installation of the benches between the bridge and Twin Lakes. When I reach Twin Lakes, I look forward to sitting on the bench so I may absorb the beautiful scenery as I drink my water and eat my fruits.
Thank you for the bike path and thank you for the three benches on this path. I hope you install more benches on strategic locations so people may appreciate the beauty that your town exudes.
Thank you, Thank you! We look forward to returning next year!