Take off the blinders
It may not be entirely fair to the Advocates for Mammoth that they have become a lightning rod for those who are unhappy with the planning /variance process in the Town of Mammoth Lakes.
The Advocates have come to represent, fairly or not, the attitude held by some long-term Mammoth residents that what’s really great about Mammoth is the town and how it has existed during their entire tenure here as officially recognized “locals.”
The corollary to this feeling is that anything that challenges the status quo is inherently bad, misguided, greedy, or whatever. I hate to break it to these self-appointed guardians of mediocrity, but what makes Mammoth great is where it is, not what it is. The Town and its “amenities” have been, in many ways, an unfortunate given to our visitors. Take a look around. The failed businesses, the empty storefronts, the boarded-up restaurants, and the shabby, 70’s motels and condos are not signs of success. (And the difficulties of operating a business in this town didn’t start with the last recession.)
We don’t have to turn Mammoth into Disneyland to make it more attractive to visitors. What we need to do is to take off the blinders and consider projects that don’t fit the current rules with a more open mind. And with a view to how they will (or won’t) contribute to our community’s transition from where we are to where we could be. Not whether they represent (God forbid!) change.
The guidelines for development are here to serve us, not the other way around.
O’Connell says windfall
Can we say windfall? Nothing in the world will ever convince me that the Hot Creek/MLAA/Ballas development project would have ever come to pass, even if the Town of Mammoth Lakes had done handstands and somersaults to support the developers. Given what happened with the economy, the real estate industry, and the financial markets, this boondoggle down at the airport would never have happened. If MLLA had somehow proceeded, the project would probably have found itself upside down and bankrupt, with nothing but surveying stakes in the ground with little flags fluttering in the breeze. It was a terrible idea in any event; who would have ever wanted to stay down there so far from the resort and the ski area? MLLA should have thanked the TOML for dragging its feet, or doing whatever it was that saved their …
While the Town of Mammoth Lakes and its residents are licking their proverbial wounds, MLLA investors must be partying their heads off with champagne and caviar. Seriously, they made millions of dollars without turning over a single shovel of dirt, during one of the worst recessions and real estate markets in history! They must be absolutely ecstatic about their investment.
Regardless of the conduct by TOML employees, in truth this was all about greed, so shame on MLLA, and may karma strike where it does.