Old New York Deli owner Michael Raimondo (pictured) will run for a seat on Mammoth Lakes Town Council. Current Councilman Skip Harvey will not run for re-election. (Photo: Lunch)
One of the few original business owners remaining in the Village at Mammoth, Michael Raimondo clearly possesses a keen survival instinct.
Given that the Town of Mammoth Lakes is currently staring at municipal bankruptcy, perhaps a survivalist is just what Mammoth needs in a position of Town leadership.
Raimondo, owner of the Old New York Deli, pulled nomination papers this week for Town Council.
Two seats, currently held by two-termer Skip Harvey and Mayor Jo Bacon, completing her first term, are up for election.
Town Clerk Jamie Gray said Harvey had turned in his election papers, but then inexplicably withdrawn them earlier this week. He had until Friday at 5 p.m. to resubmit them.
When asked on Thursday if he were in or out, Harvey texted, “Papers don’t have to be in until tomorrow at 5.”
Lunch: But you already had them in. I’m confused.
Harvey: It’s good to be confused.
*Wiseass. The press hates a wiseass unless that wiseass is one’s ownself!
By Friday afternoon, Harvey confirmed with The Sheet that he had pulled out of the race. Leaving only Raimondo and Bacon.
A native of Buffalo, New York, Raimondo moved to California in 1986. He started the first Old New York Deli store in Camarillo in 1994, and married his wife Julie in 1998. He now owns three Old New York Deli and Bagel Co. stores in Camarillo, Newbury Park and Mammoth.
The Mammoth store opened in 2003.
A businessman first and foremost, Raimondo says he spends the majority of his time in Mammoth. And he thinks it’s time to apply a bit of the businessman’s perspective to town management.
“Instead of waiting for the phone to ring, we need to get out there [and promote ourselves],” he says. In any litigation settlement, he says the preservation of marketing dollars is crucial. “It’s our lifeblood.”
As the saying goes, you can’t cut your way to prosperity, and Raimondo believes we need more focus on growth vs. cuts.
1.) Digital 395 is crucial. The better connected, the better opportunities for growth. “We need to look for and recruit businesses outside the area [to create jobs],” he said.
2.) Incentivization. Take the proposed bowling center project for Old Mammoth Road. Raimondo believes we should waive DIF, offer tax credits, do whatever we can to get that project rolling.
“I’m for the guy who wants to be here, work here, survive here … how can you stay in a community if you can’t eat?”
Sheet: What do you think of the Mammoth Gateway Community Project [the Elizabeth Tenney-spearheaded project to build an impressive monument at the entrance to town]?
Raimondo: I like it. We need a sense of arrival here. I would’ve preferred a giant bagel, but will settle for Larry Walker’s design.
Sheet: What about air service?
Raimondo: I’m supportive. The data shows that the positive economic impact on the community outweighs the money spent on subsidizing the service. In any event, I don’t think this is a good year upon which to base comparisons and make long-term decisions. We can’t be rash.
Sheet: Why run for office at the precise time when the Council’s hands will be tied due to the airport litigation, making it difficult to do anything?
Raimondo: If we can get the bankruptcy filed and done, I think we can move through this pretty rapidly.