Mammoth, as you well know, has a very distinct formula when it comes to creating and supporting summer events.
Get a band, serve some booze, and then, in each successive year, get more bands and serve more booze.
And every year, try to create one more event which has bands and serves booze, filling in all available weekends so that one could conceivably listen to live music and drink booze every day.
On the rare day where there’s no band/booze, we’re all supposed to celebrate sobriety by competing in a triathlon.
While I like music and beer as much as the next guy, it’s hard not to believe we’re at risk of oversaturation.
It makes you want to get away.
Which plays entirely into John Wentworth’s hand.
Wentworth, still Executive Director of Mammoth Lakes Trails and Public Access, believes we shouldn’t become distracted and forget about our municipal commitment to recreation and trails. And he’s not alone. Mammoth Lakes Town Councilmember Rick Wood feels exactly the same way.
Both feel the time has come to create an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) to oversee recreation in Mammoth. Further, “we need to put all of R [Measure R revenue] into Rec,” said Wood at a lunch meeting Wednesday.
“The next logical step [for the Town] is to offload Rec,” he said. “Except for maybe finance, public works and public safety, government doesn’t do things very well.”
Recreation, said Wood, should function like other Town NGOs established for Housing, Transit and Tourism.
And Rec, said Wood, is what separates Mammoth from everywhere else.
“The ‘It’ is the product. The product is recreation. And trails is the starting point,” he said, summarizing a vision for economic growth in less than 20 words.
Wood acknowledged that he’s uncomfortable with the future direction of how Measure R and U monies are being disbursed. “We’re close to a problem with having [these] funds diluted.” Wood said some of the funding choices too closely resemble special interest handouts.
On April 11, a large Mammoth contingent comprised of Ski Area representatives and Town employees visited FAA offices in San Francisco.
According to Town Manager MMMartinez’s statement at Wednesday’s Town Council, “The meeting that occurred between the Town’s representatives and FAA was a meet-and-greet meeting. And I did not go personally for the reason that it was not a … it was not a decision meeting, and I felt that the group was already too large. So we did not really expect any decisions out of that meeting, and therefore there is really not much to report.”
Hmm. Seems like a rather expensive undertaking, hauling seven or eight people over for the day via United Airlines to conduct an innocuous two hour meeting. But as Mammoth’s Public Works Director (and Airport Director) Ray Jarvis said Thursday, “Bringing people shows commitment.”
While a lot has been made of Mammoth’s Airport classification (currently B-III, with aspirations to become C-III and handle larger planes), Jarvis said succinctly, “Our biggest issue is that terminal … when we have three planes on the ground, we can’t handle it. It’s our biggest constraint.”
“My takeaway [from the meeting],” he said, “is that we need to worry more about the client we’re serving right now.”
While the Town’s working forecast for future passenger growth calls for a maximum of 150,000 enplanements annually, the FAA’s Robin Hunt suggested the Town revise that figure lower.
Jarvis said the Town was also told to shoot for maintaining a B-III classification now, addressing the C-III designation later.
Classification, he said, does not strictly determine aircraft.
“If they [an airline] wanted to bring in a 737, they could do it right now. It’s up to the airline to determine if they feel comfortable [doing that],” he said.
The FAA currently has a $20 million cap for grants to finance construction of new airport terminals. Mammoth’s current estimate to finance a new terminal, ramp space and parking is $26 million. But, said Jarvis, the FAA does not finance expenditures for “non-public” spaces like parking lots.
Truax to leave Westin
Westin Monache General Manager Brent Truax will be leaving the company at the end of the month. Truax told his staff about his imminent departure on Wednesday. Truax, however, has no plans to leave the area and will be pursuing other opportunities.
Speaking of personnel changes, it was awfully weird to walk into Mammoth’s Union Bank branch a few weeks back and see Jeff Buss. No, he wasn’t lost. Buss, long-affiliated with Eastern Sierra Community Bank, is Union’s new branch manager.
Elsewhere on this site … read Lara’s ESUSD story. There are some classic lines in there. Like Superintendent Don Clark saying the bus study shouldn’t cost more than five grand. Five grand to figure out a cost-benefit analysis for two bus routes serving six kids!?! Dear Don, be your own consultant on a bathroom break and save us the money – scratch the numbers on toilet paper for extra credit.
Then there was this gem from Sarah Taylor: “Sometimes two to three more students can make a big difference for the basketball team.” Yeah, ‘cause there’s a plethora of 6’4” kids from Bridgeport who can really ball … right, Dublino?
Finally, speaking of schools, I got this note from Mammoth Elementary a few weeks back saying they didn’t assign the standard homework handout for the week because they had run out of paper.
Two reactions: 1.) Who does the ordering over there? You know Staples delivers next day, right? 2.) If you’re really in a bind, call me. I’ll send over a whole box and throw in a few pencils and paper clips.
And from Geisel’s desk …
Trading one fee for another
A bill recently introduced in the state legislature by Senator Wesley Chesbro (D-Arcata) would levy a 4.8% surcharge on property insurance bills paid by Californians across the state, which would be placed in a dedicated disaster relief fund, amounting to roughly $480 million annually to agencies that respond to emergencies, from fires to floods to earthquakes. If Chesbro’s bill passes, it would replace the SRA Fire Fee legislation, which would be repealed as part of the new bill’s language.
Opponents of the Fire Fee say the new bill only replaces one fire fee with another. Chesbro said the revenue would be earmarked for Cal Fire, the Emergency Management Agency, the state’s Military Department and local first-response agencies. The premium surcharge on all types of property insurance — not just fire— would come to about $48 annually, he added. –San Diego Union Tribune
Transient overlays work County processes
District 4 Supervisor Tim Fesko reported that a move by a north county resident to enact a transient overlay district in the Coleville area met with considerable public resistance during the recent Mono County Planning Commission meeting. According to Fesko, the homeowner sent out the requisite letter of notification to neighboring homes, and reportedly received little response.
The Planning Commission, however, also sent out a notice to the community regarding the agenda item, and this time subsequent outcry was such that the homeowner withdrew the item from consideration, in light of questions raised by neighbors regarding trash, limited water availability and the condition of the neighborhood roads. Mono County recently approved strategic overlays in residential neighborhoods to permit transient rentals of single-family homes on a localized level.
County Development Director Scott Burns said the Planning Commission also approved another overlay, this one in the June Lake area. That overlay is expected to go before the Board in May. “The process worked,” Fesko said.
Local dad goes viral
Late Thursday The Sheet was made aware of a web video gone viral of local Rob Nott busting a move at Coachella. Titled “Coachella’s ‘Rave Dad’ shows off his sweet dance moves,” you can find the video clip at www.ryanseacrest.com.