So I’m driving up 203 into Town on Thursday morning with my daughter and I see three police cars parked in and around the McDonald’s parking lot. Several officers are speaking to some guy standing on the grass to the left of the entrance.
“Looks like they’re going to arrest him,” I said. After a short pause, my daughter asks, “But what if he’s got a dog?”
“If they arrest him, what happens to his dog? Who would take care of his dog?”
“I suppose he would call someone, maybe a friend, from the police station and they would go get his dog and look after it if he had to go to jail.”
“But what if his friend didn’t answer the phone …”
“That’s a good point, sweetie. I don’t know.”
I hop out to grab my daughter a turkey burrito from Stellar Brew, and we turn around and head back down 203 on our way to the Elementary School. She asks me to make the right turn at McDonald’s so she can get a closer look at the guy. As we pass, we see a guy who looks to be in his 30s, a little scruffy, some facial hair, a guitar leaning against a rock a few feet away from him.
“He doesn’t look like he would have a dog,” announces my daughter from the backseat. Which, of course, makes me laugh.
After I dropped her at school, I called the Mammoth Lakes Police Dept. to follow up and ask about the arrest. I spoke to Officer Andy Lehr, who recently celebrated his 10th anniversary with the department.
Lehr said MLPD arrested Geoffrey Long, 36, of L.A. on a warrant out of L.A. County.
According to Lehr, Long had been in L.A. County Jail, convicted of sodomy of an incapacitated female, but had been released early due to prison overcrowding.
He was supposed to wear a monitoring device as a condition of his release, but had removed it. Thus the outstanding warrant.
Long’s goal was to flee the state and head to Oregon, as Lehr said the state of California would not have paid to extradite him.
According to Lehr, Long told police he had arranged to stay with someone Wednesday night in Mammoth, and then catch the 8 a.m. CREST bus from McDonald’s on Thursday morning, which would have gotten him to Reno.
Those who were supposed to put him up were themselves on probation, and worried about harboring a fugitive, they arranged to have him stay at another residence – with a mother and a daughter.
Long was supposed to give the daughter the guitar in exchange for a night’s lodging.
In the morning, the mother called police saying the guitar was stolen (because Long hadn’t left the guitar at the house upon his departure).
MLPD called the CDC (California Department of Corrections) which advised MLPD that Long should be detained for the ultimate purpose of transporting him back to L.A. County.
As for the dog question, Lehr said I should tell my daughter that the MLPD takes great care in regard to potentially abandoned dogs. Every effort is made to adopt animals out to extended family, and if that is not possible, the shelter will try to adopt the dog out to any good home.
Gorilla Gains Weight
The reverberation you felt at home on Wednesday night was not from a earthquake tremor, but from the bomb MMSA CEO Rusty Gregory dropped regarding his position on single family home rentals.
Gregory said that he, along with Snowcreek Resort’s Chuck Lande and Sierra Nevada Resort’s Jim Demetriades, “strongly support nightly rentals of single family homes.”
Gregory added that, “we [as a Town] need a growth strategy,” and he believes if the town does not offer single family home rentals as an option, the customer will go elsewhere.
“Don’t equivocate,” he admonished. If the rentals are already here, Gregory suggested the Town “get the money.”
Gregory was followed to the podium by fellow supporters Planning Commissioner Dave Harvey and Snowcreek Resort’s John Morris. “We’ve been telling guests what they can rent, rather than asking what they want,” said Morris.
When asked why he chose Wednesday’s meeting as the timing for such an announcement, Gregory replied, “Seemed like a good time in light of budget discussion.”
Gregory’s comments, however, almost led to setting off a smoke alarm – given the smoke emanating from Teri Stehlik’s ears.
“Wow, do I feel blindsided tonight,” she began. “We’re standing in the way of what our customers want? Really?” she asked rhetorically, pointing out that Mammoth has a variety of housing product to offer.
She then quoted a South Lake Tahoe study which she said showed that after home rentals were legalized, Tahoe experienced a sharp drop in room tax collections, though it did experience an uptick in sales tax collections and lift ticket sales.
“Rusty would get what he wants, but how about you?” she challenged the Council. The almighty dollar, she posited, would crush the community.
Stehlik concluded by saying the 800-pound gorilla has become a 2,000-pound gorilla (ostensibly by tacking on the weight of Lande and Demetriades).
In other Council news … Hector Caldera, representing the Mammoth View (a proposed 54-unit development located at the intersection of Main Street and Mountain Boulevard, said the project hopes to break ground next May … provided the Town grant a “slight modification in entitlements.” Very subtle … and Sandra Moberly said the Community Development is down to two employees (her and Jen Daugherty) because someone just went out on family leave, so she begged for patience from the community. They’re doing the best they can … speaking of leave, the Town’s Finance Director, Cyndi Myrold, is also on leave indefinitely for undisclosed reasons … and Stu Brown said Whitmore Pool is opening Monday for lap swim and swim team … John Eastman noted during budget discussions that the Town has lost six employees during the past two months and that we could lose two more imminently – this may be the reason why Staff and Council have tentatively scheduled a retreat in the fall to discuss employee burnout … and finally, an interesting stat – MMMartinez pointed out in her budget presentation that despite apparent improvement in visitation numbers in FY12-13 over the drought year of FY11-12, that the increase didn’t necessarily translate to sales. Her numbers showed a 1.5% decline in sales tax revenue year-over-year from summer 2011 to summer 2012 with a further decline in the October-December numbers.
And one short letter of correction …
In reference to Chris Lizza of Lee Vining’s letter in The Sheet, Sat. April 13, “The Prime Meridian,” he states “Rusty even has a lane!” So there is no misconception, Rusty Lane was named after the Pearsons dog, “Rusty.” Clyde Pearson was the County Road Foreman in “yesteryear.” Any old timer in Mammoth will confirm that fact.
-Lloyd “Digger” Wilson