Fifty Center Managing Editor George Shirk sure has a thing for Mayor Rick Wood.
Even when painfully unproductive “strategic planning” sessions are held by Mammoth’s Town Council, Shirk paints Wood as the second coming of Winston Churchill, forging ahead to rescue litigation-torn Mammoth with bold leadership.
Council didn’t move the ball this week. Period. That’s not just on Rick Wood. That’s on the lot of them, Town Manager MMMartinez included.
Ponder the following for a moment.
Council prioritizes T.O.T. enforcement and hires two people to work within the Community Development department to get it done.
Meanwhile, Mammoth Lakes Housing Executive Director Pam Hennarty leaves. Her assistant Jennifer Halferty is promoted to the top job.
One of the T.O.T. enforcement people then quits her job to become Halferty’s assistant. The other had already departed.
So we have no T.O.T. enforcement. But we do have two people working for a Town-subsidized NGO (non-governmental organization) on life support which has been reduced to handling a condo rental program.
But housing is untouchable because of a previous Council’s “political commitment” made ten years ago in a different era, before the housing bubble burst.
Enough already. If housing was folded into the Community Development Department, you’d still have T.O.T, enforcement. And you might’ve even avoided the communication breakdown which nixed the Town’s latest housing grant application because paperwork wasn’t filed in a timely fashion (see Sheet story from the June 29 issue).
When the housing market turns and we need to develop more housing, let MLH stand alone again. Until that time, fold the tent.
Point is, it’s truly time to blow some s&^% up.
When people get married, they make promises. When they get divorced, those promises are void. Consider – how many divorcees maintain fidelity to their former spouses?
Enough with the navel-gazing about the sanctity of Measures R and U, and the hand-wringing over “supplanting.”
Enough about the tax monies dedicated to housing, or tourism, or transportation, or whatever.
That $50 million litigation judgment was one damn expensive divorce.
As a goodwill gesture, all Town vehicles should be traded in for a fleet of Ford Pintos.
You know, when my alma mater calls to ask me for donations, they ask if I’d like to designate my donation to a certain cause or simply donate to the general fund.
As I see it, I either support the college’s mission and direction or I don’t. If we all designate money to pet causes, then there’s less latitude for the organization to implement its vision. So I donate to the general fund.
I know the arguments. Why would you donate to a general fund which is being managed by some of the same folks which got us into the $50 million airport debacle? And my reply is, you gotta trust somebody. Without a little central governance, you’re just left with pockets of well-funded fiefdoms while the masses travel along muddy, rutted roads lined with tent sales.
If we can’t enforce the ordinances regarding tent sales, can we at least make people wash the tents so the “whites” are actually “white” and not some dishwater brown coupled with faded blue – like a postgame Chargers jersey.
As Kirk Stapp said to me recently, “Town Council can renege [on its promises] anytime it wants … it just depends upon the makeup of the board.”
He noted that Council has already reneged on commitments to housing, and on R & U (by shipping money over to backfill Parks & Rec).
Perhaps it’s time to ditch this slow descent marked by inertia and masked by little white lies.
Perhaps it’s time to look in the mirror.
Perhaps it’s time to blow this s*%^ up.
As Stapp added, “The idea for awhile was to achieve synergy between government and business to give the visitor a total experience … now it’s the private sector uber alles, and if things don’t get done [like road maintenance, or public safety], oh well.”
If the private sector wishes to pass a TBID, fine. Then it’s time to backfill at least a modicum of public services with Measure A (T.O.T.) money previously dedicated to Mammoth Lakes Tourism.
And before Council rubber-stamps the TBID, it better damn well get a better deal with MMSA (in writing) on the proposed allocation of TBID monies for commercial airline subsidies.
In short, more TBID money needs to go to direct marketing, and MMSA needs to assume greater risk on the subsidy.
When you factor Measures R and U and a TBID into the mix, that amounts to approximately three times the annual cost of the litigation settlement. We should have the resources to get things done – provided Council is willing to ditch the platitudes and the speechmaking and the phony idealism.
In case you missed it … Town of Mammoth Lakes Public Works Director Ray Jarvis is also leaving – headed for South Lake Tahoe. And Mammoth Hospital is not renewing the contract for Dr. Douglas Will. As of Sept. 1, those seeking neurological services locally will be able to see Dr. Will at Northern Inyo Hospital.
Will said he was offered no explanation as to why his contract was not renewed, other than that “conditions have changed.”
Orthopedist Dr. Mark Robinson was also not renewed and will similarly see patients in Bishop.
(Photo: Susan Morning)