Going rogue: bumper stickers
Visitors to Mammoth Lakes have choices. How many of us know that?
Judging from the current bumper sticker “Kiss … ,“ and a prior year’s Nobel Prize winner, “Welcome to Mammoth. Now go home,” it seems a few people lack the common sense understanding of just how fragile our mountain town economy is.
Add in recent Letters to the Editor, and some disparaging Facebook posts, and we will open up Pandora’s Box. Visitors will go elsewhere — Lake Tahoe, Colorado and Utah have already awakened their marketing efforts.
Some might recall this billboard along U.S. 395: “Driving to Mammoth. What’s next, swimming to Hawaii?” (That one was a Lake Tahoe ski resort message.)
How about we communicate a new message? Something such as, “You are entering a family-friendly recreational community, where random acts of kindness will greet you, and you won’t even notice.” (Paraphrasing, “Let’s do something good, and not get caught!”)
I hope visitors vacationing here WANT to return, tell all their friends about our genuine hospitality, and plan their next visit with us.
But maybe that’s too long to put on a bumper sticker.
Go ahead, build your condos
From my vantage point underneath my bed in my undisclosed location, two thoughts occur to me regarding the ruling against the Town in the Hot Creek airport litigation.
1.) They won their suit. If they want it that bad, let Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition, LLC (MLLA) go ahead with its planned development at the airport. Pay back FAA grants if necessary. Let MLLA try and get all the necessary permits from all the various agencies necessary to proceed with their development. Their development hinges on viable commercial air service. Let them deal with the FAA. Given the history of non-compliance with FAA regulations about what can be constructed on aeronautical land and the cost of meeting FAA requirements, it looks to the casual observer (me) that they wouldn’t be able to build what they want anyway. So just say, “… Ok, go ahead … ”
I wonder if they would be able to proceed or whether the plan to go forward would suddenly run into “snags.” That seems like one easy way out – just go limp and stop fighting.
And if letting MLLA proceed with its plans means we don’t get expanded commercial air service because airport facilities cannot be brought into FAA compliance, so what? Why should the Town worry about it? Do the residents of Mammoth really want more air service than we already have? Have you ever seen angry mobs of seasonal employees and second homeowners demonstrating for expanded commercial air service? Isn’t Mammoth’s isolation one of its most appealing characteristics?
2) The airport is primarily to bring potential customers to Mammoth for the big real estate developers so they can sell more condos and McMansions. The Town tried hard to make air travel to Mammoth a reality as a selling point for property sales and all it got us was a war we can’t win for losing. But if the Town is so easily coerced by the big developers into proceeding with expanded commercial air service that the Town insists on paying the award to MLLA and proceeding with expanding the airport, let the big developers take the load. Pay off MLLA with a special assessment – a special DIF (Development Impact Fee) so to speak – on all the big developers who have developed or have planned to develop property since 1997.
Proportion the assessment up by the amount of property that has been sold and/or rented for that time or expected to be sold in the next 10 year period by each of them. That seems more fair to me than to levy a tax on the average person who trudges to work every morning or on property owners in Mammoth who just came here to live or have a home they can someday retire to.
I pay Prop R and Measure U taxes to get the recreational facilities that I want Let the big developers pay a special tax for the airport they want.