I know I’ve used this headline before, but it’s just so apropos …
I’ve heard various rumblings of late about the formation of a “group” whose goal is to recruit candidates to run for local political office.
As I was unaware of the existence of a local sanitarium, I paid little mind.
But then Searles called to ask why I wasn’t coming to the meetings.
Most locals are aware of the Searles Theorem, which states that once Steve Searles mentions something, that signifies its official entry into the public consciousness.
So here’s the lowdown.
Paul Rudder, Byng Hunt, Tom Cage and Shields Richardson formed the “group.” The group apparently has no name. Perhaps we should call it Four Guys Who Aren’t Mayor (but would like to elect one).
FGWAM has a mission statement, which reads as follows:
*Shoot, it appears the group has a name, now that I’ve received the vision and mission statement. It’s called the Mammoth Leadership Forum.
Vision: Coming Together As “A” Community
Mission: Identify and persuade the best possible candidates for public office and encourage them to run or serve in a public capacity.
1. Support and assist candidates in the campaign process. 2. Continue to identify and exchange ideas, concerns and needs in our community while supporting our elected and appointed officials with developed issues and solutions from this Leadership Forum.
Principles: 1. This group believes in open minded listening, civically inclined, capable problem solving, decision making leadership with strong communication skills and the time and resources to serve with character and integrity. A personable visionary with historical knowledge, business acumen that is environmentally conscious is bonus.
As Paul Rudder explained, the idea is to change the tone of political discourse, and hopefully find a way to argue with each other more constructively.
The way it works now, he said, is “I scream as loud as I can, you scream as loud as you can, and from all that heat, we’re supposed to generate light. It’s a model that has proven to be unsuccessful, not to mention destructive.”
“I don’t care what your politics are. There is no litmus test. We just want people who are qualified and capable – sharp people who can work with others,” he added.
In a statement released Thursday, Rudder elaborated: “We have not been formed in opposition to our existing Town Council members and, if any of the incumbents should decide to run, we will be delighted to have them come and talk to us … The last election did not happen because there was only one candidate. The Town got lucky and that candidate was a fine addition to Council, but you cannot depend on luck forever.”
Tom Cage said Thursday that this week marked his last meeting. The obvious follow-up question: Why?
“The group needs to grow and expand beyond its foundation, to achieve a greater amalgamation of thought.”
Besides, he said, “I was just appointed to the Mammoth Lakes Tourism Board (along with Rudder), and (with a nice pun) I don’t wan’t to be two Board (sic) with Rudder. One is enough.”
Shields Richardson described the genesis of the group as “Four guys who got together and said ‘hey, let’s create an inclusive forum to talk about community.’”
He said the group hopes to grow organically, which is why it didn’t start off holding meetings in some big auditorium.
Sheet: Besides, in a big auditorium, there’d be no liquor license.”
Richardson: Very good point.
Richardson rejected the notion that Cage had attended his last meeting.
Richardson: That’s not true. It’s in his DNA.
Sheet: Unpaid servitude?
In a later phone call, Cage sheepishly admitted that he might attend future meetings from time to time.
The Oaktree’s TBID Appeal
I attended the Oaktree Furniture Store’s TBID appeal hearing on Wednesday. The Oaktree was represented by local attorney Tim Sanford.
Here are a couple of things we learned based upon Sanford’s presentation.
1.) TBID appeal hearings are subject to the Brown Act and are public.
2.) Sanford maintained that a visitor is defined as a transient occupant in the TBID language, ergo, second homeowners are not visitors, since they don’t pay transient occupancy tax and stay in their own homes. “We could debate who’s a visitor and who’s not … but it’s already defined in the [TBID] plan,” he said.
2a.) If a homeowner service business which serves 2nd homeowners is not subject to TBID, why should a furniture store which largely serves 2nd homeowners and locals be subject to TBID?
3.) Sanford maintained the burden of proof is on the TBID Board, as opposed to individual businesses, to prove that an individual business is subject to paying TBID.
4.) As has been stated before, there needs to be a nexus between assessment and benefit. So even if the TBID is used to bring in more visitors to town, are those visitors really here to shop for furniture? A furniture store, said Sanford, is not a tourism business. “I’m gonna take a wild guess and think that no one’s ever called [Mammoth Lakes Tourism] asking about furniture stores,” he said.
The TBID Appeals Board, consisting of Teri Stehlik, Brent Truax and John Morris, said it would review Sanford’s various points before scheduling an open hearing to reveal its decision.
From Matthew Lehman’s monthly newsletter:
Is it true there could be a new hotel on order for the North Village Specific Plan? Based on a recent application submitted to the Town of Mammoth Lakes, it would appear so.
The hotel is proposed to be built atop the parking structure for 8050 and Fireside at the Village. This building is the third and final structure originally designed for the 80|50 project and may differ from the first two buildings in that it will be a true hotel.
According to sources at the Town of Mammoth Lakes, the hotel is to include a high quality restaurant, spa, outdoor pool terrace, enhanced landscaping and up to 73 rooms.
The project is seeking increases in density, height and reduction in street setbacks. A workshop for the hotel is planned for Nov. 13, 2013 at 2 p.m.
For add’l info, visit http://www.ci.mammoth-lakes.ca.us/index.aspx?nid=542