Harvey is recognized, among other business
The absence of former Mammoth Town Councilmember Skip Harvey was keenly felt, but the business of government must go on. And it did, but not before Council added a moment of silence to its agenda Wednesday night to honor its late colleague, who passed away earlier this week. Harvey, who concluded his second term in June, had been battling cancer.
Comments were brief from the dais. “There are many words we could use to describe Skip, wonderful words,” Mayor Matthew Lehman said. “He was a great man and loved by great people. He’ll be remembered.” Councilmember John Eastman offered his sympathies to Harvey’s sister, his family and many friends. “He spoke of this town as the one he wanted to live in … I commend him,” Councilmember Rick Wood observed.
The Council’s most recent member, Michael Raimondo, called Harvey “one of the good guys you cross paths with in life,” and praised his integrity. Councilmember Jo Bacon, who will be the Council’s official delegate at Harvey’s Celebration of Life on Saturday, July 21, said there would be a Police and Fire Honor Guard present and an open mic for the public to speak. Bacon said she would save her remarks for the ceremony, which starts at 3 p.m. at Canyon Lodge.
During Policy Matters, Council formally adopted a resolution to loan itself up to $325,000 in funds from leftover Measure U funds from last fiscal year, and tap project funds for the 2012-2013 fiscal year to cover air service subsidies, ensuring a deal with Alaska Airlines to continue service to Mammoth Yosemite Airport.
The controversial item was the subject of both July 4 and July 11 special meetings, and the target of both criticism and support for its use of the Measure’s “Mobility” clause as justification for the loan, and whether or not a loan for air service qualifies as a “mobility” use.
Council overruled the Measure U Advisory Oversight Committee, which voted 2-1 against the loan idea.
The subsidy isn’t paid up front, but is a guarantee against unsold seats, and Council hopes it won’t need to spend the full amount. The loan would ideally be paid back from General Fund revenue that exceeds budgeted expenditures either this fiscal year or next, as the case might be.
Council also stopped short of appointing a member to sit on the Board of Directors of Mammoth Lakes Trails and Public Access. According to Bacon, who sits on the Town-MLTPA Liaison Committee along with Wood, the original idea stemmed from a Liaison meeting about a month ago, but that was prior to the revelation from Town Counsel Andrew Morris that state law prohibits a Council member from voting on matters (contracts in particular) having to do with a non-profit organization in which the member is on the Board of Directors.
“Unlike Mammoth Lakes Tourism or Mammoth Lakes Housing, MLTPA doesn’t support the function of the Town,” Morris explained. Being a non-Board member and sitting on a Liaison committee is fine, he added. “If we can’t vote, I’m not interested in that,” Bacon said, suggesting that Council step back and revisit the idea. “It’s our right to vote,” Wood said, concurring with Bacon’s assessment. “It would be great to know more about the day to day operation, but the price is too high.”
Council was in favor of exploring the idea further, and to look for ways to meet the legal threshold. The Town-MLTPA Liaison Committee plans to take up the matter and return to Council with more options.
In Commission news, Recreation Commissioner Teri Stehlik was given the go-ahead by Council to brainstorm a proposal from Rich Boccia to bring an Olympic and Paralympic training facility to town. According to Stehlik, Boccia’s question to the commission was whether that was the right place to broach the subject. Stehlik told Council she thinks it absolutely is, but also lamented a lack of forward momentum she said has kept the idea rolling over from meeting to meeting without and forward movement.
The Rec Commission’s Facilities Committee, consisting of Stehlik and Commissioner Pat Agnitch, plans to figure out who needs to be at the table and bring back a fine-tuned action plan to Council.
More commission news: Council renewed terms for current Rec Commission members Bill Sauser (Chair), Sean Turner and Stehlik, and confirmed Elizabeth Truax as its newest member. On the Airport Commission, Council renewed current members Deb Pierrel, Lee Hughes and John Walter, as well as reducing the Mobility Commission to three members, Sandy Hogan, Eric Wasserman and Lynda Salcido.
Look for an agenda item to come before Council in August regarding renewing the current suspension of Development Impact Fees. Mammoth Contractors Association President Jess Baldwin told Council that contractors are “passionate” about continuing the waivers, citing contractor Tim Flynn’s observations that he’s seen a considerable uptick in business since the DIF waivers were enacted.
Mammoth Police Officer Art Torres was recognized for five years of service with the force. Chief Dan Watson, accepting on Torres’ behalf, cited his work with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and his being instrumental in forming the Hispanic Advisory Committee. Torres was on his way to Pleasanton to accept a position on its police force. Torres, Watson said, was raised in the Central Valley and most of his family is still there.
And finally, don’t put that bowling shirt in long-term storage. Community Development Director Mark Wardlaw said developer Dan O’Connell’s proposed Mammoth Rock ‘N Bowl Center, which would be located off Old Mammoth Road on Chateau, on a parcel situated between the Cast Off and Southern California Edison buildings, has entered the plan check phase.