The Mammoth Lakes Chamber of Commerce hosts its first of two candidate forums this coming Tuesday, April 27. The first forum is dedicated to Mammoth Lakes Town Council candidates and will be moderated by Tom Cage. The second forum, dedicated to County candidates for Supervisor, Judge and Sheriff/Coroner, is slated for May 11.
This Tuesday’s forum will be televised live from Suite Z in the Minaret Mall starting at 5 p.m. on NPG Cable, channel 51. The Sheet spoke with Cage earlier this week about the evening’s format.
Sheet: Who picked you to moderate this thing?
Cage: I’m not sure … Maggie Thompson at NPG Cable contacted me and I said to her, ‘Didn’t Ted do the last one?’ And she replied, ‘Yeah … but we wanted someone else.’
Cage said he’s asked a diverse cross-section of folks throughout town to submit questions. In addition, he’s met/will meet with all candidates prior to the forum.
Topics to be covered include: Town management, planning/development, the new Destination Marketing Organization, ballot initiatives and the Town’s relationship with other governmental agencies.
Not only will Cage have a certain number of prepared questions, but the public will also be able to email questions in, phone them in, ask them from the audience, et. al.
Seeing as we’ve got this forum coming up, The Sheet sent out a short questionnaire to each of the eight candidates. Each candidate was instructed to answer the questionnaire as succinctly as possible, allowing for a total of 200 words in explanation of their responses.
The questions were as follows:
1. Do you support the current Council’s Community Benefits/Incentive Zoning Policy? Yes/no.
2. Do you support the current version of the Old Mammoth Place project? Yes/no.
3. Rate Town Manager Rob Clark’s job performance on a scale of 1-10, ten being the best.
4. Will you vote for the extension of the Utility Users Tax? Yes/no.
5. Do you support the establishment of medical marijuana collectives within the Town of Mammoth Lakes? Yes/no.
6. What do you think are the two biggest priorities facing Council right now? Answer in 20 words or less.
7. Would you end or extend the two work furlough days per month for Town Staff? Answer end/extend.
8. Do you support the current Council’s move to rezone the Bell Parcel as open space? Yes/no.
9. Have you ever owned your own business(es)? Yes/no. For how many years? Give a single number. How many businesses have you owned? Give a single number.
10. Rate the Mammoth Lakes Police Dept. on a scale of 1-10, ten being the best.
So without further ado …
6. Town’s Budget, because it is the “foundation” for what our spending priorities will be. Second is winning the airport lawsuit.
9. Yes. 20 years. 1 business
3.) and 10.) As a “sitting” Council member, I currently have an employer/employee relationship with the Town Manager and Police Dept. and therefore am professionally and ethically unable to publicly answer this question.
4.) Many prominent individuals are supporting this extension which will end up building several worthy projects which will benefit us all, projects which would otherwise not get built anytime soon, if at all.
5.) I supported putting this issue to a vote of our citizens, and trust they will make the correct decision, without my input.
8.) It is not about whether or not I support the “ Bell ” becoming “open space”. It should be about the Town’s financial responsibility, for what is clearly a “financial asset” of the Town, and of our tax paying constituents. It should also be about the “process” of vetting any public input. And currently, this proposal has not been considered in regards to either of these two aspects.
6. Pare down the alphabet soup of developments. Devise a solid general plan and stick with it.
9. Yes. 4 years. 3 businesses.
1.) and 2.) Don’t necessarily disagree with CBIZ but in the instance of Old Mammoth Place, I believe too much is being given away. The current proposal is TOO BIG and TOO HIGH.
3.) He [Clark] seems to have a good grasp of the English language … too bad he doesn’t use it to read, understand, and implement measures toward the sustainability and intent of the citizenry.
4.) We can no longer depend on state or federal taxes and grants to supply TOML with the necessary funding we need to move forward toward the vision of becoming the World-Class Destination Resort.
7.) I do not believe TOML management and/or services have been adversely affected. Neither do I think the monetary loss to TOML employees is putting any of them on the street and on food stamps!!
9.) EWOKS (Environmental Workers Obtaining Kones and Seeds), a tree climbing and trimming company that collected cones and seeds for CDF/BLM and private nurseries for propogation, and also scientific studies for the UC system. Also: ”Recycling 101,” waste management for festivals and events on the Hwy 101 coast and “Breath of Light Healing Center” co-owned in Ukiah, Calif.
10.) I think the officers are very respectful, conscientious and courteous
6. Improving our local economy through tourism, marketing and recreation. Changing our Town budget to conform to the needs of today.
9. Yes. 17 years. 3 businesses
7.) It is important for Council and Staff to evaluate if the current recession is going to be long term or short term. If conclusions are made that the current economic cycle is going to be longer than expected, considerations should be made for cutting back on full time employees.
8.) I think that more thought should have been given toward swapping densities of the Bell Parcel with future developments. Additionally, more conversation and discussion should be given to the possible uses of the Bell Parcel as an event venue.
10.) The MLPD does a relatively good job of taking care of business at hand and I’m an advocate for backing our people in uniform. However, there is a strong sense of fear and even dislike for many officers due to the actions and attitudes of our police. Many questions have been raised as to whether our MLPD is overstaffed and, on occasion, overzealous. Suggestions have been made to me that perhaps our MLPD should remember that we are a small town resort that needs to carry a friendlier face than the one it currently presents.
6. Reorganizing town and police departments. Adopting a conservative, fiscally balanced budget with measurable outcomes demonstrating a positive return of investment.
9. Yes. 23 years. 3 businesses.
1.) Both policies can continue to be improved upon as we move through the future. For example, we currently have policies that needed to be looked at and amended to fit the times we are living in. Town Council’s responsibility is to ensure our policies are consistent with our general plan and provide for a reasonable outcome.
2.) With the understanding the design will continue to be modified once the applicant completes all design review with ADP and PC.
7.) Furlough days create low morale and higher incidences of employee related mistakes. It creates economic harm to line employees, the workers. Reorganization should begin and end with middle and upper management.
8.) I believe it should have undergone a more thorough public
10.) Public Safety is a priority for any municipality and those who govern. I see a positive future for our Police Department with leadership from our next Council directing a town manager to bring our rating of the PD to a 10
6.) Money! We need to increase overall revenue and our budget needs to be real, accurate and balanced.
9.) Yes. Nine years. One business.
1.) This is what we currently have to work with. It appears there needs to be some clarification in certain areas.
7.) The Town must be fiscally responsible. Therefore, we need to reevaluate staffing levels and make changes accordingly as opposed to merely decreasing levels of service and ignoring the budgetary issue.
8.) I question why there was such a rush in moving this forward. Are we giving up potential future income which could be derived from density transfers or environmental easements?
6.) Leadership; management; putting the financial house in order.
9.) Yes. 30 years. One business.
10.) Leadership: 2
Uniformed officers: 8
1.) Don’t support CBIZ without implementing language to make it consistent with the General Plan.
2.) Council has the responsibility to decide important policy questions, not the Planning Commission. I think the project can be acceptable if Council has the courage to make findings consistent with the requirements of the General Plan.
3.) Disappointing, at best.
5.) This is a non-issue for me. Collectives are legal in California.
7.) End furloughs and follow with a restructuring of government.
8.) … provided public events can be held there.
6.) Finding clear vision of what people want and executing it. Restoring fiscal accountability to create firm financial footing for the Town.
9.) Yes. 7 years. 1 business.
3.) Who’s running Mammoth? Is it the Mountain, staff, developers or our Town Council? If the Council exercised effective leadership, developers and staff would present plans conforming to public desires as expressed in our General plan. Divisive Specific Plans, appeals, referendums and lawsuits would not be necessary. I have the leadership ability and experience to provide guidance, to communicate and cooperate with everyone to find consensus and make Mammoth all we can be.
5.) The community should and will decide whether or not to allow them in Mammoth. As an elected official, my primary duty is to protect people’s health and safety. I do not know anyone who has a disease that requires medical marijuana but there are people in Mammoth who do. Medical marijuana availability is a health issue for them. Planning Commission, with the help of Mammoth Police Department, has approved stringent rules, regulations and restrictions for these two stores, if voters approve, that will be allowed in only two zoning jurisdictions of town. They must be 1000 feet from schools, parks and our library. They will produce sales tax.
10.) It took too long to reconcile differences between MLPD and Steve Searles.
6. Fully vet issues that come before Council (Bell Parcel). Align Town’s vision with Council policy.
3.) and 10.) It is impossible to evaluate the Town Manager or the Chief of Police without being in closed session and knowing the criteria with which they are being evaluated. As a citizen, looking from the outside, Town staff and consultants are running the Town and ignoring Council’s policies and public input. The Town’s financial consultant stood before Council, April 21, claimed his brilliance and proceed to describe the economic analysis he preformed, which completely ignored Council’s CBIZ policy.
9.) Given that 80% to 90% of small businesses fail in their first year, a better question would be: “Have you ever owned a successful business?” That said, my work background includes 34 years as a teacher and teachers’ union member. I negotiated (for free) more than a dozen teacher contracts against professional negotiators who earn more than $300 an hour and who were directed to beat the crap out of the employees.