Locally, politicians invariably run on the same platform. They all tell us they are “fiscal conservatives.” They all believe in “open and transparent” government.
And then, once in office, they tell you it’s all far more complicated than you could ever imagine and therefore every major decision must be discussed in some backroom.
While the obligation (Interest) on the airport litigation judgment increases by about $8,500 a day.
While the bankruptcy lawyers and consultants pad their timesheets.
While the Town funds Gateway Monuments and Running Tracks and $175,000 websites (Mammoth Trails), in a not-so-clandestine effort to make itself look poverty-stricken – if I hadn’t just finished that steak dinner, of course I’d buy you that $6 burger.
While the Town continues to lavish compensation packages on every taxeater who walks out the door. Bill Manning: $68,000 payout (six months salary) plus accrued compensation (undisclosed).
It’s like a gambling addict having one last throw in Vegas before his credit cards are all cancelled.
While the roads continue to deteriorate.
While businesses close. Great Outdoor Clothing was the latest. Took a page right out of the Baltimore Colts playbook. Backed up the moving trucks in the dead of the night and papered over the windows and were just … gone. The rumors are rampant of other closures in the pipeline.
I don’t want to hear anymore about this litigation resolution being a “process.” That we’ve just got to stay the course. That after it’s all over, we’ll be informed of the “strategy.” We’ll be told, I’m sure, about how unreasonable the other side was, and how bravely our elected officials acted in response to their own self-generated crisis.
But meanwhile, there are the numbers. The stark numbers. Just look at Mammoth Lakes Tourism’s monthly report for May.
Occupancy down 14.5% year over year.
Revenue per available room down 19.4% year over year.
Over the past six months, occupancy is down 18.2% year over year and revenue per available room is down 22.2%.
While Nero fiddles, Rome burns.
When you looked at Triple MMM’s budget forecast numbers calling for $550,000/year in available funds to be put towards a settlement, if you put that revenue stream towards a bond, it might generate $6 or $7 million.
That, folks, is apparently our counter-offer.
“We would bond that number [$550,000] if we could,” incoming Mayor Matthew Lehman told The Sheet last week.
“There’s a huge discrepancy [between the MLLA number and the Town number], but the reality is, we have to provide certain services,” Lehman continued. “Unlike a corporation, a Town government doesn’t generate huge profits at the end of the year … if that was the case, we’d all be overtaxed. By design, there’s not a lot of money left over.”
“As much as they want their $43 million, they chose to sue a governmental entity,” he concluded.
A governmental entity that technically operates three skateparks.
Three is the magic number. That’s the average number of days per week you can see an entire fleet of MLPD cars parked at the Mammoth Lakes Community Center while the union figures out the best means for self-preservation.
Believe me, I don’t have it out for the MLPD. They do a tough job. Frankly, I see all the meetings, all the talking … they’re just taking their cue from Town leadership.
Maybe if we talk long enough, it will all go away.
Anyone who’s ever been married knows that while talk can defuse a situation, talk is merely a bridge. You’ve still got to actually do something.
On a positive note, while the Town hemorrhages, you do see a few seedlings. You see people stepping into leadership positions, people with some passion for building anew – some of whom haven’t even been around very long.
Michael Raimondo on Council.
Brent Truax as Chamber President.
John Urdi at Mammoth Lakes Tourism.
I spoke to Truax about Mammoth Rocks yesterday. They’re transitioning the event from tribute bands to original acts. There’s a symbolism there that’s encouraging.
The event is being organized in conjunction with the Mammoth Mud Run, and if you look at the story in Mountain Town News on p. 12, Mud is in.
Fitness guru Tony Horton will also return.
“We looked at the demographics and … we think we see greater potential [for the event] with different bands to get more current,” said Truax.
That’s the vision. To create a music festival based on the 21st century as opposed to the 20th.
Headliners this year are Fishbone, Agent Orange and the Crash Kings.
Mammoth Rocks is set for the weekend of Aug. 24-25.