The Mammoth Lakes Town Council met Wednesday evening. The item I found most interesting was in regard to the Town’s proposed Measure U funding applications.
The Town has one application for approximately $335,000 to erect fifty wayfinding signs in the downtown corridor.
Another application calls for $200,000 to be spent in design engineering for the Main Street Plan.
Finally, there was a $300,000 application for “future asset acquisition,” i.e. put it in the bank for now because you don’t know how to spend it.
Now I’m not sure why it costs $7,000 a sign for wayfinding, nor do I understand why it takes 50 signs to direct people hither and thither along four main thoroughfares, but I know that Pooh and Piglet are really big on signage (or so it seems with every book of theirs I read to my daughter), so we’ll let that sit for the moment.
The $200,000 for design engineering seems nonsensical. If Mammoth Mountain and other developers who stand to gain want the Main Street plan pushed through badly enough, they’ll kick in the money for the engineering.
Seems to me that we’re grasping a little bit here – inventing big needs where there are only moderate wants.
Mammoth’s Town Council indicated on Wednesday that it will not spend money for the sake of it, and Mayor Wood said he would have no problem setting aside half of Measure R and U every year and keep the powder dry until we agree on a good way to spend it.
Makes sense to me.
Air Quality Maintenance Plan
Consultant Bill Taylor presented an amendment to the Town’s AQMP (Air Quality Maintenance Plan).
The three key changes, according to Taylor, were as follows:
1.) No new wood burning appliances may be installed in multi-family developments.
2.) All wood burning appliances, with the exception of pellet stoves, are now included in the no-burn day requirement.
3.) The amendment now sets a limit on total VMT (vehicle miles traveled) so if a new development promises to increase vehicle miles it might be responsible for increased traffic mitigation.
“Also, in response to concerns that wood stove changeout requirements are not being complied with at time of property sale … [the code] has been expanded to prohibit the issuance of any building permit that increases the habitable area of the structure until the changeout requirement is satisfied. The Town is working to update our property sale and wood stove changeout records, as well as related compliance inspections.”
Mammoth resident Rich McAteer questioned why the Town would choose to codify higher standards when we’re already significantly below federal (if not state) air quality requirements.
Taylor pointed out that Mammoth’s air quality in 1990 was typically WORSE than it was this summer at the height of the Aspen Fire, and the federal standards are not too much better than what we experienced during the Aspen Fire.
In short, yes, wood is cheaper and higher standards may place a burden on poorer families, but … pollution is a collective problem. Maybe the best solution is for owners of rental units to upgrade their units with cleaner-burning and more efficient stoves. Better for air quality and better for the tenant, as he/she would burn less fuel.
Mammoth’s Town Council decided to interview three consultants to potentially help it choose a permanent Town Manager.
Town Attorney Andrew Morris and new Human Resources Director Sarah Roessler-Vigilante will find the consultants to choose from.
Interim Town Manager Dan Holler wants to be a candidate for the permanent position, so he will not participate in the hiring process.
Mr. Holler is clearly no student of recent political history. Serving as the recruiter is the best way to land the job – just ask Dick Cheney!
After Council interviews the three consultants, it will either then hire one of them to spearhead a search, or reject all three, save the estimated $26,000 a headhunter is projected to cost, and conduct the search in-house.
Jo Bacon, for one, recommended hiring a consultant. “Our track record,” she said, “shows we don’t know how to hire.”
Councilmembers Lehman and Raimondo seemed reticent to spend the money. Lehman said that more than half the time, consultants don’t get it right anyway. Raimondo said bluntly, “I don’t think the answer is to go out and spend $26,000.”
I’ve done some thinking this past week about this Leadership Forum convened by Messrs. Rudder, Richardson, Hunt and Cage.
The biggest problem I have with it is their proclamation that politics and issues don’t matter – that they’re simply looking for qualified candidates who will listen.
All it takes is one vote on one issue to turn a “qualified candidate who will listen” into a pariah, a dope, a crook and worse in the public eye.
So it’s perfectly and entirely naive to recruit candidates without caring a whit about their political beliefs.
By that yardstick, I’m sure that your run-of-the-mill nut job might almost appear reasonable. All he or she’s gotta do is make sure not to spill their drink and/or slur and keep their hands to themselves and voila, you’ve got the second coming of Chauncey the Gardener!
Ah, yes, so great you could come out to our meeting tonight Mr. Ford. Hey everyone, meet Mr. Ford. He has a fine political pedigree – Mayor of Toronto!
Remember, we had a very contentious discussion not too long ago about whether or not to legalize single-family home rentals in certain parts of town. There are a lot of folks out there, who, in choosing between Einstein or an orangutan, would choose the orangutan if the orangutan voted his way on this issue.
How one votes is more important than how well they can kiss your ass in a cocktail party setting.
One other point. If a person feels compelled to attend a leadership forum so he can be properly sniffed and vetted by his elders … does this make him/her a leader? What are we really recruiting? Leaders or puppies?