In regard to the medical marijuana issue, word is that Town Staff is making all possible efforts to stretch the moratorium to its one-year legal maximum. They say they can’t possibly work out all the thorny details.
I wonder what Steve Klassen’s reaction will be to all the stalling. As Klassen told The Sheet in an interview last week, “One thing people know about me … I expect respect for my legal rights. If they try to trample my rights for their own private gain, I’m not a very good person to deal with.”
And then the following anonymous letter, blasting the Town for its hypocrisy.
“I do not smoke pot. I barely take aspirin, let alone other, harder drugs (except for caffeine and alcohol). Do I mind if others smoke pot? Nope, especially for the many medicinal benefits apparently associated with it.
Here is my issue. Our Police Chief has recently said a medical marijuana dispensary in Mammoth does not fit the ‘healthy lifestyle’ of our area. Hmm. But drunken pub crawls and promotion of alcohol-related events does? And I don’t have an issue with them, either. But you can’t have it both ways.
In additon, aren’t you somewhat discriminating against ‘sick’ people who can’t procure their prescribed medication here and thus live in and enjoy our area? Should our new slogan be ‘Welcome to Mammoth … unless you’re sick.’”
Final note. In Schienle’s staff report on the issue, he said the City of Oakland levies a special dispensary tax of $18 per $1,000 in sales. Why not legalize a highly regulated dispensary and tax the s%$# out of it?
People v. Harris
The molestation case against Michael J. Harris resumes Monday after a two week hiatus. Harris is accused of 26 counts of child molestation against the twin 15-year old daughters of his former girlfriend.
The last day before the trial recessed (due to some emergency business back home that visiting Judge David DeVore had to take care of) was particularly interesting. Defense Attorney Therese Hankel called expert witness Dr. Steven Gabaeff, who firmly believes that the two girls allegedly raped by Harris were virgins at the time their allegations were made. His opinion was based upon photos taken during medical examinations of the girls. According to Gabaeff, the photos indicate that each accuser’s hymen was intact.
His findings are at odds with Nurse Practitioner Cathy Boyle of UC Davis, who conducted the initial medical examination and determined the condition of both girls’ hymens to be ‘abnormal.’
Mono County Child Protective Services caseworker Alex Ellis is expected to take the stand Monday. Ellis was last seen the Thursday before recess on a videotape of a supplemental interview of one of the accusers. Mono County Sheriff’s Det. John Rutkowski was conducting the interview while Ellis was in the room (seated behind the girl) as a support person for the accuser. At one point during the interview, Ellis is seen in the background doing a not-so-silent “P-R-I-S-O-N” cheer as Rutkowski conducts the interview … in a Hawaiian shirt. Hmm. Was it casual Friday?
The girl tells both Rutkowski and Ellis during the interview how she’s really excited to go get drunk that evening at prom.
Not the most professional interview, to say the least.
GIREO (Geothermal Institute of Research, Education and Outreach) Executive Director Tony Barrett announced this week that a lease agreement has been finalized between Ormat Technologies/CalEnergy and the Harvey Family Charitable Foundation.
The lease grants the Harvey Foundation approximately six acres of land located next to the Mammoth Pacific plant at the intersection of Hwy. 203 and U.S. 395.
GIREO plans to locate a triple-wide modular building on-site for dual use as administrative headquarters and an interim visitor center.
10,000-square feet of greenhouse space will also be attached.
The interim center and greenhouses will feature ground source, heat pump technologies.
The larger plan (10 years out) is to build a 30,000-square foot permanent facility with research and educational components.
GIREO’s advisory committee has been augmented of late by some of the leading geothermal scientists and engineers, among them Dr. William Glassley, Dr. Masami Nakanagwa and Toni Boyd. These folks participated in GIREOs first-ever workshop and think tank held at the Mammoth Mountain Inn the weekend of Nov. 7.
As with all things software, there are projections … and then there are the inevitable delays, and the Powder Guide app designed for Mammoth’s Chamber of Commerce members isn’t immune. But fear not, those delays won’t be long and the app is on the way, according to a presentation by Julien Bassan and Sunny Zanan from PowderNation, the app’s creators.
The Powder Guide, which will feature listing of all Chamber members accessible to smart phone users, is designed to maximize time and resources, allowing “more fun with less planning.” So far, it appears that a tie-in is being worked out between the Chamber and Mammoth Mountain Ski Area to allow real-time information access, including a possible GPS location feature.
Apple approval for the Powder Guide’s iPhone app is pending and should be a done deal in a week or so. When it’s on the market, you’ll be able to get it at iTunes, from PowderNation’s website and via a link on the Chamber’s site.
From there, Bassan and Zanan said they plan to have the Blackberry version ready by January or February, and Windows mobile and Palm platforms, including the new Google-driven Android, following just shy of immediately thereafter.
Chamber President Eric Wasserman added during the luncheon that, in addition to an across-the-board free basic listing for Chamber members, “premium” listings (which will start out at about $30/month) and coupons or listings for other specials (which will be about $10/month) are going to be uploaded free during a short trial run that ends Jan. 31.
“We’re the first major resort to use this cutting edge application,” said Wasserman. “You can have all the smart phones out there you want, but guests who are users need to know this is out there and we need to help make sure they do.”
Playing in traffic
Speaking of Wasserman, he also serves on the Town’s Mobility Commission, and spoke out at the last Council meeting against Town Staff’s plans to conduct a $79,000 traffic study.
The scope of work called for 574 staff hours (at an estimated cost of $100/hour) and $22,000 for a consultant. It would have paid for a comprehensive traffic study for Lower Forest Trail, Old Mammoth Road and the Sierra Valley Sites.
Wasserman advised Council to keep its money in its own pockets. We don’t have to spend a bunch of money to know people are speeding, he said, nor do we have to wonder how to fix the problem. You fix the problem by enforcing the laws already in place.
*But wait, says the editor, won’t the MLPD be too busy monitoring marijuana dispensaries to issue traffic tickets?
**Geisel notes, based on some study he can’t remember, that pot smokers drive more slowly than your average driver. Make of that what you will.
And finally …
Last two items: The documentary Steve Searles shot with Mike Slee in the summer of 2008 will finally see the light of day. Animal Planet is scheduled to air “The Bear Whisperer” on Jan. 7. Tourism and Recreation Director Danna Stroud said the exposure could land the Town about $1 million in free publicity – unfortunately, it’s just P.R. and not the hard cash we need to pay off the Hot Creek judgement.
And Town Finance Guru Brad Koehn says the documentary transfer tax numbers indicate a doubling of real estate activity for the 1st quarter (July-September) of this fiscal year over 2008.