Get your vote on!
Without question, the local Mammoth Lakes Town Council election on June 8 (voting begins May 11 for the absentee voter) stands to be one of the most important in recent memory. My take: much is on the table and depending on who one asks, the candidates are either establishing their platforms based on a development/non-development ticket, or they are from Mars or Humboldt. To educate those not in the know, I have compiled a quick summary of the candidates (all eight of them) so they’ll have an inkling of who/what they are voting for.
On one side, there is the Stapp-Clark-Wood trinity, a group of candidates who scoff at and repel any reasonable development in Mammoth. They put the “pro” in process. “No,” “Appeal,” and “View” are among the most prevalent of their vocabulary although methinks one of those candidates dances a jig around all the aforementioned words.
On the other side of the platform are the Vereuck, Lehman and Barrett candidates who are totally opposite of the develop-phobic trinity. They use words like, “Yes,” “Commerce” and “Progress” because they realize those are words conducive to Mammoth’s future. And then there are Eastman and Blumer, who may be the vote-splitters or the wild cards. One is politically seasoned and the other is green in more ways than one, respectively. They use words such as, “Man,” “D’oh!” and “What?!” Both seem to be earnest and honest people to whom you could entrust your dog and your azaleas.
The Stapp-Clark-Wood triad represent among others, the Advocates for Mammoth, a juggernaut group comprised mostly of spry retirees and status-quo soldiers who, despite their age, are among some of the most formidable geriatric forces around. Make no mistake; they are well-organized and a force to be reckoned with. Their uncanny ability to quell progress renders even the most savvy, out-of-town, multi-millionaire developer befuddled and ulcerated. Yes, the Advocates do some advocatin’ and they are very good at it. Some five or so years of no development do not lie, and if loving stagnation is wrong, well, they don’t want to be right. I cannot say that I blame them; when I retire, I will probably want nine kinds of quiet and an unobstructed view, too. Then again, I would probably move to Palm Springs or to a town that is not 4.5 square miles total area AND a ski town. Oops!
On the other side, you have the Vereuck, Lehman and Barrett candidates. Though wholly independent of one another, they share a common view of progress for the community. What they have going for them — and against them some may say — is youth. Okay, so Tony is the eldest of the group and this is not his first rodeo. All three have tenacity and ascribe to reasonable development, community enrichment and the greater good.
These candidates also work in Mammoth for a living–and they work hard. Plus they donate much of their free time in trying to understand and reason with the likes of the triad. They are business owners and contribute to the local economy. They not only want the town to blossom, but also want the community members to succeed as well. In addition, they get the whole “commerce/tourism” thing, understand both are vital to Mammoth.
The Vereuck, Lehman and Barrett candidates are for us “little people” who, unlike most of the Advocates work very hard to make a living in a town we love to recreate and fraternize in. We little people and the aforementioned candidates hope to thrive Mammoth and we want to contribute to our town’s businesses and tax base while doing so. Moreover, the houses in which we little people dwell in are our only homes; not a second home. Oh snap!
Back to the Eastman-Blumer candidates. John Eastman has been around awhile and knows the ropes (me thinks he is a climber), and has been on Town Council so long, he’s figured out what the Advocates’ agenda, much like the Hokey-Pokey, is all about. He is sage-like, can be quite the fireball when provoked (in a good way). He understands the town’s politics since he has been here from the very beginning … rock formations and all. I hear he and Ansel Adams used to pal-around and hike the Muir trail. Kidding! Blumer, we hardly know ye, but more power to ye! Be the change you seek in others, brother!
To be sure, this is a BIG election, HUGE actually because much hinges upon the outcome. Depending on who you ask, Mammoth may become a retirement community, or remain much of the same, which is not really a good thing. It may also become some sort of a tidy, efficient, bustling community. The important thing to remember is that WE get to decide on who runs the show. Those who are registered to vote and who give a damn, VOTE. Those who do not give a damn, thanks for nothing. Just don’t complain about the way things turned out because of your non-voting. The worst action in my humble opinion, is no action.
For those who do vote, even if I do not agree with you, good on you! At the end of the day, you can be proud of yourself. VOTE! If only for the sticker you get for doing so.
Disclaimer: Conjecture and jest.
Into the wine again
In these times of economic distress it is easy to become discouraged. I am a painter of pictures which are about the last thing of necessity when times are hard and it has wrought a hardship on myself and my wife. But hardships are a part of life, a classroom if you will. Times will get better only to wane again and so it goes. I’ve never given up despite my advanced years – I’m 73. I would like to list just a few of my near-triumphs: during the war, I served on the PT108. That was close, but no cigar. Upon discharge some of my shipmates and I decided to pool our resources and start up a soft drink company that, unlike the others, did not sell cola. We named it 6-Up. That too, was close. Undismayed, what small capital we had left was invested in stock in a German cereal company trying to break into the American market. To this day, I don’t understand why Hitler Flakes were not a success.
Anyway, after the failure of Hitler Flakes, I ditched my partners and tried my hand at literature. My first novel, “The Campfire of the Vanities,” was almost accepted. Not quite. Tried again with a children’s book: “The Little Engine that said $%#k this!” It had a modest success in some cities.
‘One more try’ I said to myself. I worked for almost two years writing what I thought would be a scathing indictment of society’s treatment of America’s poor. It was about a Jewish family in the garment district of New York City, the Joadsteins. They were trying desperately to get work doing almost anything, existing on a meager diet of lox and unsalted knishes.”The Drapes of Roth” was my masterpiece, and yet the publishers were not very receptive. Peasants.
Beaten, but unbowed, I moved west to Hollywood where I now believed my destiny was to make movies. I tried to get John Wayne for my anti-war epic “Sands of Catalina” but he was busy so we had to settle for Marty Feldman. The movie premiered in Barstow, Calif. during a sandstorm and was canceled after 1.5 showings. This was possibly the low point of my life … except for being married to ‘Old Ironsides’ for 26 years. She kept nagging me to get a mundane, everyday 9-to-5 job that brought in a regular paycheck. I coolly informed her that was not my destiny. Art was my destiny. She ended up running off with a traveling trombone salesman. Slut.
There are far too many more experiences to describe here that influence my somewhat unique style of painting, but the point of all this is to tell the young people out there, if they are literate enough to read this, that it is important to keep trying new things and not just sit around in the Looney Bean staring at their laptops or even just their laps. With enough effort, they can aspire to anything – even to being governor of a great state like Mexifornia. If I had given in to adversity, I would not be the success I am today (the pending Chapter 13 bankruptcy notwithstanding). Finally, in closing, remember that great Republican slogan: Eternal flatulence is the price of liberty!
This Eagle is grounded
Well, leave it to MLPD to make a liar out of a Town Council Candidate. Two weeks ago, when candidates were asked by The Sheet to “Rate the MLPD on a scale of 1-10,” Rick Wood and myself tied for the highest rating of ‘8’. My explanation as printed stated “I think the officers are very respectful, conscientious and courteous.”
My full reply to The Sheet continued, “I have not witnessed them [MLPD] ONCE going overboard in their treatment of any individuals since I arrived here in June. TOML has a LOT of events and a ‘party atmosphere’ that I’ve seen lead to abuses by officers in different jurisdictions, and that simply doesn’t occur here.”
Since then I have heard many comments to the contrary, but I still could only go by what I have personally witnessed. The conversations usually ended with something akin to, “Well, ya ain’t lived here long and you’ll prob’ly get your chance to see the REAL po’-po’ at work soon enough … ”
What a difference a week or two can make!
I attended the Eagles of Death Metal gig at Canyon on Saturday. I was a little late getting there, and when I arrived the mosh-pit was in full gear, and I jumped on into the melee. It was a nominal mosh with occasional trips and bumps, but without the heavy swinging or pounding or clothes ripping that I’ve experienced at other gigs (I heard it got heavier later, but I am unable to comment on that as you will soon see). One of my sandal straps broke so I took the other one off. As I was standing by the amp stack catching my breath an “Elite Red Coat” security officer approached me and said I had to leave. I asked him why just as the band kicked off into another song. So I motioned him over so I could hear the reasoning behind the request for my departure. The next thing I knew another “Red Coater” came up behind me, twisted my left arm behind my back, and started hustling me to the steps. I told him he didn’t need to do that, that I would willingly go, but that I WOULD like to get my jacket that held my wallet, and my hat and shoes. NUTHIN’ DOIN’…
So when I do get to the bottom I yell at him to send one of the head security guys so I could explain my situation … Nuthin’ Doin’.
My next action was to yell upstairs for the MLPD Officers who AT THE TIME I TRUSTED. I was told by a witness that she overheard them say, “C’mon, let’s go arrest the wanna-be-next-councilmember…” Four officers in black, and one in tan, came down the stairs. I attempted to explain to them that I simply would like an escort upstairs to retrieve my personal effects, but kept getting interrupted, and was told that security had put me out and that was that. Since when does out of town security trump our police force? I then started to get reasonably upset as it was getting late and they were putting me OUT ON THE STREET WITH NO SHOES, NO COAT, NO I.D., AND IT WAS GETTING DAMN COLD!! The basic reply was, “Then you should catch the next shuttle and go home.” And how was I supposed to get into my home when the keys were also in my coat pocket? They didn’t seem to really care. Not to mention that IT IS ILLEGAL TO NOT BE CARRYING YOUR CALIFORNIA I.D.!! So in essence the MLPD was aiding and abetting and forcing me into criminal behavior!
So now a conversation ensues about my previous high regard for them, and was this the kind of disrespect I could expect to encounter provided I get elected? Was this how they served and protected our town? Think of the civil liability of putting someone out on the street in that kind of cold without coat and shoes. What if I were to suffer exposure or hypothermia?!?
I stated that I even would suffer the indignation of being handcuffed in order to be escorted upstairs to get my belongings.
At that point one of the officers suddenly grabbed and twisted my right wrist in a compliance hold and stated, “We could solve that right now by just arresting you…is that what you want?? Huh? Huh?” With each “Huh” he added pressure to my wrist almost bringing me to my knees. With the result that on Sunday morning I was unable to play drums for worship at my church or for the ski-up services at McCoy at 1:30 pm.
Of course, I stated that I wasn’t really into taking up either of our time with an arrest procedure. So then I was basically told to get on the next shuttle and get on down the hill or I WOULD get arrested!! All this took at LEAST 15 minutes, and I could have been escorted up the stairs, retrieved my stuff, and been outta there in less than 5 minutes.
I saw a number of people hanging around the incident and some of them caught it on camera and cellphone, stating they would send what they got to me later. You can do that by going to firstname.lastname@example.org. I was also approached by two attorneys wanting to know if I am interested in pursuing any litigation. I am still mulling that over.
I was able to get my coat from Main Lodge Security on Monday afternoon and thankfully my wallet and keys were still in the pockets. However, I have not been able to locate my 26-year old Aussie leather hat which cost me $250 in 1984 while I was serving in the US Navy, outside Adelaide, Australia.
I was far from the only one to experience an excessive “Elite” escort and to experience lackadaisical attitude from the officers of MLPD. One young lady, during her forced escort, suffered the indignation of having her shirt pulled up over her head with the obvious result of a different type of exposure. “Police & Community Together” huh?!? Doesn’t seem to me that our MLPD is actually interested in upholding their stated “PACT” that is printed on their patrol vehicles and on the front window of their station. Just because we attend a metal concert and are escorted out by what is most DEFINITELY NOT an “Elite” security force, does not mean we should be ignored and insulted by our local police.
I went to the station this morning and they told me that, in fact, “Elite” and “The Mountain” do take precedence, much like a domestic dispute, that ‘without permission, they are not allowed to bring ANYBODY onto the premises’ and that I could go to the D.A. to affirm that … but again, I did not see any of the officers actually ask on my behalf if they could escort me up to get my stuff!!
Note to Vikki: Bauer out from endorsements
In reply to a recent letter from the District 3 Mono County Supervisor Bauer, I wish to focus on two separate concerns.
First is the appropriateness of the Supervisor’s letter. I pray that it’s not typical for a Supervisor who represents one district to support a candidate running for a seat in another district. I am sure that it’s not typical for a Supervisor in one district to take on the role of treasurer for a candidate in another district. I hope this is not how Supervisors are elected in Mono County. Is the tone here, “Let’s get our friends elected – someone who agrees with our stand?” Don’t we want a diversity of ideas? I do not think a diversity of ideas will evolve if a Supervisor tries to manipulate the outcome of an election. Is this Supervisor trying to do the same thing in the Bridgeport district (#4)? The voters of Mono County should be concerned about this type of political behavior, even if only one Supervisor exhibits this trait.
My second concern is focused on what the District 3 Supervisor writes about the key elements of being a Supervisor. You should be an advocate for your district; you should fight for your constituents; you should play a role in consensus building during difficult collaborations. These are all quotes from the District 3 Supervisor’s letter, and it is all very good advice. The question is: does the writer follow her advice? I do not believe she does. A portion of District 3 lies in the June Lake Loop. More than 70 percent of her constituents in that area are non-permanent homeowners. These constituents pay full property taxes to Mono County, but because they are not up here all the time and never use the schools, these taxes are a real benefit to our county. The District 3 Supervisor’s attitude toward this majority is certainly not one of advocacy or consensus building. She considers this group a “problem,” and her negative tone has been picked up by some of the leaders in the June Lake community. Despite the fact that almost all of this 70 percent must work elsewhere in order to pay these taxes, support our economy and recreate here in Mono County, they are often not welcomed by the permanent residents of June Lake.
Shouldn’t the District 3 Supervisor let the citizens of District 1 cast their votes for the candidate of their choice, without her guidance? And shouldn’t she follow her own advice when it comes to advocating for, fighting for and building consensus among her own constituents in June Lake?