This letter was emailed to the Mammoth Lakes Town Council and Staff, as well as the Measure U Committee members by Mammoth Lakes Foundation President and CEO Evan Russell in anticipation of the Town Council meeting tonight to further discuss using Measure U funds to subsidize air service. See previous story by clicking here. Tonight’s meeting will begin at 5 p.m. in Suite Z.
To the Measure U Committee and Town Council:
I am a big supporter of air service to our community and understand the need for future business. The issue you are addressing is not about air service, it’s about public TRUST. We asked the voters to trust us and tax themselves for very specific purposes (see the Argument in Favor of Measure U below). This argument appeared on the ballot. Air service was taken off the table for Measure U consideration at one of the early town council meetings or workshops. It was never discussed again as being part of Measure U.
As a member of the Measure U Campaign Committee, I have recently been contacted or stopped in the grocery store numerous times by angry people in the community whom we encouraged to vote for Measure U. The general comments go along the lines of I would not have voted for Measure U if I knew it was going to be used for a different purpose; I told you the town would take it over; and your committee lied to the voters.
We asked the community to TRUST us when we proposed Measure U and asked for a tax that would support local initiatives like parks, trails, local transit, arts and cultural programs, better pedestrian use, etc. AIR SERVICE WAS NEVER MENTION AS AN OPTION IN ANY PUBLIC MEETING WE ATTENDED. Staff had ample opportunity to suggest this be included. The staff report submitted on July 3rd for a July 4th meeting is unconscionable, has absolutely no transparency, was done in secret (Measure U committee had many public meetings where this could have been discussed ), and borders on public corruption.
Over the years, the Town has received a lot of well-meaning bad advice which have led to the problems we have today. If you approve the staff recommendation to take Measure U funds for air service subsidy, it will be the biggest tax fraud the voters and tax payers have ever seen. If you want to bring a tax initiative forward for air service, do it in full open and public view, not behind closed doors. To write a seventeen page report you spring on the community at the last minute has obviously been in the works for a long time. I have no idea what recourse the community has, but here’s what I have heard and been threatened by:
-Another law suit (if you remember a very angry LA attorney/2nd homeowner wrote many letters criticizing Measure U as an unfair tax).
-Repeal of Measure U so it goes away completely
-A Grand Jury investigation
-More bad national coverage, this may have more impact than the law suit and water issue
-Impact on future bond issues or tax initiatives; it will be extremely difficult to pass any school bonds or parcel taxes where you need the voters’ approval
ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE U
This is what the voters thought they were voting for
Measure U will fund year-round mobility infrastructure such as enhanced trolley service, winter maintenance of pedestrian walk-ways, and enhanced bus shelters; partner in the construction and operation of the Mammoth Track project and implementation of Mammoth’s Trail System Master Plan; and serve as a critical component supporting culture and performing arts in Mammoth Lakes.
Measure U will fund these critical efforts without raising taxes. Because Measure U requires a two-thirds vote to pass, Measure U funds can only be used for specific purposes detailed in this initiative. Measure U is for US, the people who live and work in the Town of Mammoth-That’s why so many local organizations, businesses, and community leaders are strongly supporting Measure U.
Revenue from Measure U
- · Will be spent specifically on mobility, recreation, and arts and culture projects;
- · Will require annual audits to ensure Measure U funds are being used appropriately;
- · Will maintain year round pedestrian infrastructure, enhance local transit opportunities, build enhanced bus shelters, and fund public transit for special events;
- · Will help fund the Mammoth Track project;
- · Will help fund the implementation of SHARP (Sherwins Area Recreation Plan);
- · Will help fund additional signage to enhance the Mammoth Lakes Trail system;
- · Will help fund on-going operations and maintenance of cultural & performing arts facilities;
- · Will only be used to benefit the Town of Mammoth Lakes;
- · Will not supplant Town funding already committed to Mobility, Recreation and Arts and Culture;
- · Will not go into the General Fund;
- · Will not raise taxes;
Unlike other communities throughout California, we have an opportunity to fund local Mobility, Recreation, and Arts & Cultural projects without raising taxes. Please join us in Voting YES on Mammoth’s Measure U.
Thank You for listening,