False frog alert? Re: Frogs Fry Mono Co., the Sheet, July 20
As a youngster, I always had a passion for catching frogs. I remember catching a Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog at Bridal Veil Creek Camp in Yosemite about 1950. However, the Eastern Slope of the High Sierra is in the rain shadow. In 60 years of camping in Mono County, I’ve only observed signs of frogs once: in late spring above the pond on the JMT from Shadow Creek to Garnet Lake, you could hear the frogs singing and later see tadpoles which were preyed upon by snakes. Even Agnew Meadows with its bog doesn’t seem to have frogs. Periodic droughts aren’t hospitable to frogs which require ponds to breed.
USFWS doesn’t seem to recognize that the west face of the Sierras has a wet climate, while the east face is simply too dry for frogs. They’re not endangered because they were never here! (Mono County is on the dry side of the Sierra.)
I did observe a Sage Grouse hen with a dozen chicks on the High Trail (north-bounds PCT) a few years ago.
Certain ‘native trout’ (the Kern River Rainbow) were probably planted in Tuolomne Meadows by Basque shephereds. Planting trout has been done for decades.
Katharine J. Jones, Ph.D.
(I was orginally trained as a biologist.)
The following letter was sent to Mammoth Lakes Town Council. Ms. Cage also made public comment on this topic at Wednesday’s public meeting.
Hire a Building Official
Some of you know me as a former TC member, but my professional work has been in the local building industry as a structural engineer. With the untimely departure of Johnny Goetz in the middle of the building season, I finally feel the need to weigh in on the sustained non-compliance of the Town in the area of appointing a real Building Official in our Building Division.
The Town Municode states that we HAVE to have a designated Building Official if we are administering the Ca Building Code and local building ordinances (of which we have many). The CA Building Code (CBC) defers decisions throughout it that require having a qualified Building Official in place to make decisions. The Town hasn’t been in compliance with this provision since Byron Pohlman left the department several years ago. We’ve had reasonably qualified people on staff, but for whatever reason, no one was officially appointed. As you will see from both our municode and the CBC, we need to have someone qualified who can perform those duties. We are not permitted to just pick and choose which parts of the CBC or Municode we wish to comply with because it’s convenient or not.
Here are my chief concerns:
1. That the interim replacement for inspection duties have all the proper documented qualifications.
2. The permanent replacement actually have Building Official qualifications per our adopted state and local code req’ts.
Please take this seriously. I won’t sit back and watch the Town continue in its non-compliance any longer. Temporary budget excuse time is over. The long term staffing solution needs to be put into place as soon as possible. Hiring a low priced Jr. Inspector or having a contract inspection service replace Johnny won’t work.
There is too much money at stake in the local construction industry for you to have the wrong person(s) doing this work. We need a qualified, independent public employee subject to the FPPC req’ts for no conflicts of interest to do this work. There is HUGE money at stake in decisions inspectors and plan examiners make.
As many of you longer time locals know, the general economic trends here in Mammoth run about 1-2 years behind trends in the city. Both for growth and recession. Building has really come back in most CA cities. While it’s not “back” quite yet here in Mammoth, most of us expect that to change either next year or the year after. We need to get the right person doing this job ASAP, so that they can be solidly established when the next round of serious building begins. For those who were around for the last round of serious resort development, the Building Official had to field a constant assault of requests for waivers, etc. by developers and contractors. We need to get the “right” person for this job to make sure there is an even playing field for everyone long term.
Please don’t try to skirt by this req’t any longer. If you do this right, it will go a long way to helping rebuild trust in the quality of our local gov’t service provision.