Fellow UCLA sports alums, Olympic medal-winning marathoner Meb Keflezighi and basketball legend Bill Walton, had an impromptu summit meeting during a reception for Eastern Sierra Land Trust’s Lands & Legacy Weekend last Friday at the home of Steve Marenberg and Alison Whalen. When told Meb weighed just 122 pounds, Walton quipped, “I was bigger than that when I was born.” (Photo: Geisel)
There was one point during Wednesday’s Keep June Mountain Open Coalition meeting where the commercial air subsidy for Mammoth Yosemite Airport was being discussed, and resident Ann Dozier said, “The County needs to subsidize June Mountain, not air service.”
This met with general applause.
So of course, I’m thinking to myself, if Mono County actually followed this advice, Mammoth Mountain, on behalf of June Mountain, would politely pocket the money … and then funnel it to air service.
But this is not another story about Measure U and “supplanting,” so let’s move on.
In response to general curiosity from the public, what follows is a compilation of the annual fee that Mammoth Mountain has paid the Inyo National Forest over the past seven winters:
Mammoth Mountain’s Director of Government Relations and Environmental Affairs Ron Cohen said he has not given up on June Mountain and still believes that Mammoth Mountain is June’s best hope. “The bottom line is, we’re the best chance for the place,” he said.
Carl Williams would agree, noting that the synergy of having Mammoth and June owned by the same company allowed June to save on overhead costs by not having to employ a human resources person, an information technology person or pay for separate liability insurance.
This, said Williams, saves June between $500,000 and $1 million a year.
Connie Black, however, would not agree. At the conclusion of Wednesday’s meeting, she said, “We don’t want our destiny in Mammoth Mountain’s hands any longer.”
When Meb met Bill …
The one potential nickname that always runs through my mind when I see Meb Keflezighi: The Smiling Assassin.
What I love about Meb is that he doesn’t worry about the times that his competitors have run. On Friday night at the kickoff party for the Eastern Sierra Lands and Legacy weekend, he noted that when he won the Olympic silver medal in Athens, his best marathon time was approximately five minutes slower than the world record – about the same discrepancy as there is now. It’s not about times. It’s about winning.
To make a baseball analogy, would you rather trade for a winning pitcher or a pitcher with a lower ERA? I want the winner. That’s the only stat people remember.
Which leads into Walton. One of the most memorable moments of the evening came when he was trying to recall which teams played in the NBA Finals this past season. “It was Lebron, it was Lebron’s team versus … if it’s not the Celtics versus the Lakers, who cares?”
Walton, who had a speech impediment as a youth, said he was introverted and driven as a result; he let his basketball do the talking.
He eventually overcame his speech impediment … and it’s apparent that he’s been making up for lost time ever since – but when you’re as engaging and opinionated as Bill Walton, talk all you want.
For a man who’s had 36 lifetime knee surgeries, the fact that he’s willing to get on a bike to support Eastern Sierra Land Trust, volunteer at a basketball clinic at the local high school, and finally head over to the Booky Joint after his commitments for the weekend were fulfilled just so he could make an impromptu appearance in support of independent bookstores … thank you, Bill Walton. Come back any time.