Arrogance of Office
I was chagrined to read of MMM’s resignation and Rick Wood’s reaction. One shudders to think of how he and his cronies on the Town Council will try to utilize this “opportunity” to change the way Mammoth’s local government functions. I know. Now that we’ve run off the only professional town manager we’ve had in years, we could move forward with replacing her with some local hack with no governmental management experience. We could then cement our hold on power by expanding the practice of holding all Town Council meetings in private. That way we wouldn’t be bothered by all those annoying citizens of the Town who are always asking all these tiresome questions. Who do they think they are, after all?
The “arrogance of office” has been around long enough for it to have been given mention in Hamlet. I guess some things never change. If we let them. I think that the only real solution to the ongoing mess at the Town Council is to prohibit anyone from holding a position on the Council for more than one term. Ever. If we run out of “qualified” candidates, others may have to step forward. If they don’t , could we be any worse off than now? When we can’t conceive of how right-thinking representatives of the electorate could behave as they do or arrive at the decisions they do, perhaps the answer is that we have mischaracterized them in the first place.
After reading your article in last week’s Sheet entitled “Mono County Burned,” it has left me with one main question; What is the impact to our community from this kind of police action? It is obvious that our local law enforcement agencies have targeted the participants of the Burning Man festival, simply due to the timing of these checkpoint operations.
The first impact to our community is the short-term economic impact of not having thousands of Burning Man participants coming through our community and spending money. More importantly, I believe it is the long-term impact to the reputation of our communities.
Many of the participants of Burning Man are professionals, with many in the technology and entertainment industry. Their incomes and professional status combined with the connection to human interaction (which seems to be at the core of the Burning Man culture) puts them as part of a group of people who are some of the most socially influential people on the planet.
From what I learned from last week’s article, it seems these “Burners” will go back to their communities where they live, and they will spread their disdain for Mono County and our local communities. These are our potential customers who get to choose where they will take their winter vacations. I would have to think that many of them and their friends would now go to Colorado or Vegas or wherever that is not in Mono County.
So what is the economic impact of 90,000 of these socially conscious people telling others not to spend money in our communities? Then, what is the economic impact of our local law enforcement doing these actions year after year, spreading proactive intolerance, profiling, and the targeting of groups? We should be welcoming guests to our area, but instead our guests initial welcome is a “We are sneaky and we are gonna getcha” message that comes from police car after police car hiding behind every bush between Bishop and Mammoth.
The police may say they don’t profile, but I have to disagree. For example, when I have been stopped at these checkpoints and have been with family and kids, they have been very courteous. When I have been by myself with a snowboard in the backseat, it quickly goes to some weird interrogation that I can only describe as like being surrounded by a bunch of guys with guns on their holsters that are living out some old Clint Eastwood or John Wayne movie.
There are several opponents to ending the war on drugs. Some think it is the pharmaceutical companies, and some think it is big alcohol. What I have learned, is that far and away it is the law enforcement industry that proactively does the most to make sure this war does not end. It, unfortunately, is an issue of money and human nature. The police, like most, will do whatever they have to do to protect their income, so they do what they are told to do. There is a lot of money in busting non-violent drug offenders.
As a business owner, who employs many young people, I can say that the younger generation is tired of this failed war. Because of the internet they know the truth. They know they have been intentionally and systematically misled. The smartest seem also to know that the substances that really destroy people are alcohol and prescription pills.
So it looks like this year is a bust for our local economy to benefit from the Burners. What we can be assured of is that 90k potential customers are traveling back to their homes, making sure to avoid spending money in Mono County.
To our community leaders and members of law enforcement – Please don’t allow this group targeting to happen again. It is not appropriate in any way and extremely detrimental to our tourism based economy.
To the Burners, I am kindly requesting that you not target our local communities and the businesses that exist here. Rather you should focus your energy towards the groups who have caused your personal violations. You could also focus on other positive solutions like maybe a real time app, which would warn travelers about roadside stops for next year’s festival.
Most of all, to those Burners who feel slighted, I hope you feel welcomed when you come back to our communities.
Owner – Wave Rave Snowboard Shop
Tom Cage gets a bad rap
You can’t say Mammoth isn’t interesting! We’ve just come through the town council terminating a manager by a “resignation” process ( where the employer promises a nice reference if the employee kindly resigns) with the idea that local businessman Tom Cage would be appointed in her place.
As soon as that news was leaked to the media out of “closed session,” the public outcry was deafening. This is a “set-up,” people said. Tom Cage will just be a stalking horse for someone named Flustie or Dusty or whatever.
Frankly, I doubt it. Tom Cage does not have the reputation of being anyone’s flunky or order-taker, which makes one wonder how he planned to get along with town council anyway. That aside, if the town had simply terminated (resigned) Marianna, then they could have had a town meeting and openly discussed the idea of hiring Tom and proceeded from there.
But they didn’t do that.
Instead it was all “star-chamber” closed session proceedings, in which it looked like the public interest was being sacrificed to expediency or something worse. Oops. Was any of this Tom Cage’s fault? Of course not. Was this any underhanded, dirty rotten secret doing by the town council? I doubt that, too.
I suspect they just wanted to create a seamless transition between the former town manager and whoever the new town manager will be, to show the community that they have things strictly under control – even though they do seem to be changing town managers with greater frequency then some people (no names!) change their underclothes.
But there was a great deal of upset over the prospect of Tom taking the job because he didn’t seem right for it. I don’t think this was Tom’s fault either.
Up ‘til now, the town council has taught us over the last thirty years (since the town was formed), that we have to have a town manager of tremendous experience, with a resume including the governorship of a medium-size state, and the payscale to match. Now, all of a sudden, after thirty years of one direction, council contemplates going in the exact opposite direction by considering a manager with no government employment experience at all, but with a great deal of local involvements, (some would say conflicts). Is that Tom’s fault? Once again the answer is no.
For all we know, Tom may have been a terrific town manager, but now, we’ll never know. But the failure to explain the change of direction and the whys and wherefores of it are definitely not Tom’s fault. That was the responsibility of council.
So tom stands up and is willing to be counted on for public service and he gets slammed. Doesn’t seem fair to me. Meanwhile, I have put this at the feet of the council (the buck stops here?) and that may not be fair, either. Councils make decisions by a simple majority. It is entirely possible that only a portion of the council (3 votes) bears the responsibility for having not handled this in the most sensitive fashion, but, since it was all in “closed session,” we’ll never know, will we?
“Closed session” is really a bone of contention between the town council and the voters. People think they have a right to transparency, but “personnel matters” have been an excuse to keep changes of direction and more out of the public eye.
Speaking of which, I have been told by one source that the council wasn’t close to hiring Tom, that it was simply a topic for future discussion, and that Tom leaked the news of his hiring prematurely. In which case, the outcry really is Tom’s fault.
The problem with closed session is there is no way to know the truth of the matter unless you attended the closed session.
As bad as this is, if you want to contemplate closed session matters that are truly disastrous for the town, look at the garbage business. We have been saddled with oppressive contracts and franchise agreements requiring stupendous amounts of money to be paid to private companies for the removal of trash with very little public discussion. Now the council is set to give Waste Management, our garbage contractor, yet another thirty-year contract, and the deal seems to have been done, without the bother of all that aggravating public discussion.
The council will tell you that no final decisions have been reached, but, when the dust settles, Waste Management will receive their thirty year exclusive franchise.
I have recommended that the town set up a panel of local business people to consider the town’s options and advise the council, since the council and staff’s ability to do business deals may not be quite as sharp as we need. That procedure would guarantee public knowledge and input. I hope that this process is implemented; perhaps it will and perhaps it won’t. My fingers are respectfully crossed!
Dr. Ron returns
Just a short note to validate my return to dentistry in Mammoth after my exodus nearly three years ago in favor of a return to my roots in Canton, Ohio.
That was an endeavor in futility after 23 years of Eastern Sierra living. Being so close to Mother Nature certainly ruins the tolerance level of large city life.
Not only the masses of people and vehicles, but living in the 13th most obese state in the USA made me miss the healthiest place to live in California. So Dr. Ron has returned to help maintain that above-the-line natural health environment for my fellow residents.
My return might also have something to do with the absolute greatness of those ski mountains, Mammoth and June. Having skied probably over 40 western ski areas, Mono County is king!
Nothing compares to a love of skiing as the years challenge one’s physical abilities. Thanks to that ski idol, Dave McCoy, Mono should be touted as the best and healthiest ski area.
Any interested dental patients can see me beginning Oct. 4. Call Jasmin at Dr. Comfort’s office (760.934.3730) to make an appointment and get Dr. Ron’s appraisal of your mouth’s health status.
Prevention is still my theme of practice, not procrastination. Let’s make the Eastern Sierra the healthiest area in the world!
Happiness is a healthy mouth.
Dr. Ron (760.709.2201)
Pat yourself on the back
This is in regards to the one article in the Mountain Town News in the Sept 7 issue regarding Ketchum, ID. You failed to mention that Mammoth Lakes played a large part in bringing forth the audience for the Wagon Days Parade held there each year. “The Big Hitch,” which is the main attraction in the parade for the past 15 or so years, is from Red’s Meadow Pack Station of Mammoth Lakes, CA and is advertised and announced as such. It consists of Bobby Tanner and the 20 Mule Team from Red’s Meadow. I don’t think a whole lot of people realize that the Mule Team makes the trek all the way up to Sun Valley/Ketchum each year to appear and represent Mammoth Lakes in the parade. The Mule Team pulls the beautiful, historical freight/ore wagons belonging to the City of Ketchum. It was “iffy” this year as to whether the parade would even be held. Finally the Chamber in Ketchum made the decision that it was safe and the area sorely needed the event to help boost the economy which had been devastated by the fire. So, the Mule Team made the trip to Idaho in support of the Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley area.
Maybe you could contact Bobby Tanner for the specifics and I happened to see a fantastic picture of the mules pulling those beautiful 6 wagons that would look great in your publication [see print version of The Sheet].
Just sayin’ … pat yourselves on the back. Mammoth is well represented !