So, you only have two candidates running for two open Town Council seats in the municipal election on June 5. Why bother holding that part of the election? At least, that’s the thinking from the Town of Mammoth Lakes. Earlier this week the Town issued a notice stating that, as of the close of nominations on March 14, only incumbent Council member Jo Bacon, who is also currently serving as Mayor, and businessman Michael Raimondo are nominees for the open seats. Of the two seats, one is a vacancy. Councilmember Skip Harvey has decided not to run for re-election.
The Town notices said that, according to Section 10229 of the Elections Code, the situation allows the Town Council to “appoint to the office the person(s) who has/have been nominated.”
Bacon told The Sheet an appointment “gives us the opportunity to focus on our bigger issues.” She also indicated the Town would save approximately $17,000 by not holding a Council election in June. “I kept my remaining campaign funds from the 2008 election, and plan to donate it to a local food bank,” she told The Sheet. An option when a candidate closes out a campaign account is to donate the money to a non-profit entity.
“I think I’ve got enough votes to get onto Council, but it’s too early to claim victory,” quipped Raimondo. “Seriously, though, I think there’s a lot of ‘why get involved now’ mentality, which is exactly the reason I wanted to get involved. It’s a critical time and we need to make progress telling the world we’re open for business or we’re going to sink in the quicksand.
Raimondo, who owns the Old New York Deli in the Village, opined the Town needs more business-minded people making decisions. “I’d thought about running in the past and didn’t. When Skip decided to withdraw, I was a little surprised. But the timing’s good, and I’m looking forward to getting my views out,” he said.
Having no campaign, however, doesn’t mean Raimondo has no platform. One of his top priorities is getting the bankruptcy over and done with, and then turning attention the investment community. “We need to ask them, ‘What do we need to do to entice you to set up shop and put people to work?’” he said. “I’m for survivability and stayability. We need to incentivize … concentrate on growth and making sure people know we’re open for business.”
Other priorities include sprucing up eyesores, and addressing the need for more parking and sidewalks.
“I’m a great listener and I talk to a lot of people. I have a business in the Village, but I own a home here and have my family here. I want to help out town-wide, and tear down this Berlin Wall between the Village and the rest of the town. We have to work our way out of this mess that history’s made for us together,” he summarized.
During its next regular meeting on March 21, the Town Council will consider whether to make the appointments or allow the “election” process to go forward as normal. Persons appointed would essentially take office and serve exactly as if they had been elected via a standard vote. Council has until 75 days before the election to make the appointments, after which the election will be triggered and proceed on June 5 by default.