Turner and Thomas
I just wanted to bring to your attention the adventures of Mammoth Lakes residents and local paraglider pilots Dave Turner and Tawny Thomas.
On an unprecedented trip earlier this summer Dave traveled across the Alps solely by flying his paraglider and hiking, completely unsupported. Now Tawny has joined him, and they’re heading back west together in a larger tandem paraglider. They’ve had write-ups in the international paraglider and outdoor press, but I haven’t seen anything locally and I thought you might be interested.
Dave has been updating his Facebook page with photos and info at https://www.facebook.com/dave.turner.98434?fref=ts , and you can follow their track and position at https://share.delorme.com/DaveTurner. His personal webpage is http://sierraparagliding.com/ .
Nightly rental issue lingers
A friend recently forwarded me some alarming Facebook posts from the political action group Mammoth Forward.
This group organized in support of the Mammoth Lakes town council election and performed an admirable job of getting the public involved in the election process. Interestingly though, while the single family nightly rental issue was a constant point of discussion throughout the election, there was little discussion of this subject by the Mammoth Forward leadership. This is relevant since some of Mammoth Forward’s founders, such as Kevin Green, were also the leading advocates in favor of legalizing nightly home rentals in Mammoth last year. So why the silence during the campaign — were they simply no longer interested in putting transient renters in single family neighborhoods?
The answer didn’t take long to be discovered, as Mammoth Forward recently posted that it hopes to “put [the nightly rental issue] to bed one way or the other.” Of course, anyone familiar with the history of Mammoth knows that the nightly rental question has already been debated, rejected and ultimately “put to bed” countless times. Going all the way back to the inception of the town’s single family neighborhoods, transient rentals were rejected in almost every neighborhood’s CC&Rs. It was clear even back then that nightly rentals were incompatible with a family oriented community. In the following thirty years, single family nightly rentals were routinely rejected by town council after town council. As recently as five years ago, the town council told any neighborhood that wanted to legalize nightly rentals to come forward with a majority of its homeowners formally in support, and not surprisingly, there is still not a single neighborhood that has done so.
Putting all of this into historical context, when someone in Mammoth says they want to “put the nightly rental issue to bed” they can only mean one thing — that is to legalize it. For the past 30 years, neighborhoods, voters and councils have expressly and consistently concluded that nightly rentals do not belong in single family neighborhoods. That is the very definition of “putting an issue to bed.” This issue was put to bed years ago and was sleeping soundly until Kevin Green and a few other nightly rental zealots, including Councilmember Michael Raimondo, woke it up last year. It’s time to let the issue rest again.
Mammoth Lakes / San Diego
Ms. Snow should have checked her ‘facts’ before writing her letter [in response to Kirk Stapp’s op/ed on Hobby Lobby, which appeared in the July 12 issue] last week. She maintains, as did 5 male Supreme Court justices, that four of the twenty contraceptive methods provided under the ACA were “abortifacients” and were unacceptable to Hobby Lobby owners. To learn the truth about what is and is not an abortifacient, go to www.abortifacients.google. Contraceptives, methods which include IUDs and emergency contraception, approved by the FDA work to prevent pregnancy and do NOT interrupt pregnancy. Scientific evidence and medical research support this fact.
Apparently Hobby Lobby President Green and Ms. Snow do not accept the medical definition that a pregnancy exists only after the fertilized embryo implants in the uterus. It appears that they believe fertilization, conception and pregnancy are all the same. Our federal government, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association know that pregnancy commences after implantation.
America was founded by folk escaping religious persecution. When people seek to impose their beliefs, perhaps based on their religious education, onto me, it frightens me. Thanks to five men, some women will be denied the full range of medically approved available contraceptives. If these women believe it is against their religion to produce a child they’re unable to support, then we’ve come full cycle … back to religious persecution.
Sharon R. Clark
In the July 19 paper, Kathleen Snow wrote a letter to you depicting her (harsh) criticisms of Kirk Stapp’s article discussing the Supreme Court’s ruling on Burwell v Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. Snow threw around her thoughts aggressively — including exclamation points and caps lock galore, calling Stapp’s opinions on the matter “skewed (and) ridiculous.”
Snow pulled me into her letter immediately because I have followed the case and criticisms closely and because she spoke with such vigor and anger. I soon came to realize that Snow, as a woman, was unaware of the oppression she herself was advocating.
She opens her argument by saying that this ruling in no way allows companies to refuse contraception to women in their health plans. This is, in fact, exactly what it does. The Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby has the right to refuse four (of twenty contraception forms required by the ACA) to their female employees. These four contraception methods include two IUDs (Paragard and Mirena) and two “morning after pills” (Plan B and Ella.) In Kathleen’s letter she claimed that the morning after pills were considered abortifacients, substances that cause an abortion or miscarriage. Regardless on your stance on abortion, it is important to know what an abortion IS. Medically, the definition of an abortion is the removal or expulsion of the products of conception before the fetus is viable. This includes tissues, blood, and mucus. Plan B inhibits ovulation when taken during a specific window of time (about 48 hours.) Past this time frame, it has absolutely no power or other action. Ella inhibits ovulation also, but can be taken past this 48 hour mark. Neither of these pills, medically, ARE abortifacients because they do no expel these products. They simply prevent ovulation, and thus prevent pregnancy. The only difference between Plan B or Ella and the ‘normal’ pill, is Plan B and Ella are taken after sexual intercourse. Plan B, Ella, and the sixteen forms of birth control all achieve the same goal in the end – not allowing a woman to get pregnant.
Insurance is in place for a reason – to provide people with the financial ability to get the items that pertain to their health. Simply saying, ‘Let the women who want these four forms of contraception just buy it them themselves,’ is a sellout. Birth control – all birth control – is a right. These contraceptives can cost from $50 up to $1000, which is a lot of money, especially for someone working a low paying job in a retail store, like Hobby Lobby.
By allowing our jobs to control what we can and cannot receive from our health insurance, your choice of birth control is no longer a decision between you and your doctor, but between you and your boss. Under this ruling, is it possible that all other religions can outlaw medical devices they do not believe in? Using this logic, corporations could begin refusing antidepressants (Scientologists,) blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses,) and anesthesia, intravenous fluids, pills coated in gelatin, and vaccinations (Jews, Muslims, and Hindus). By allowing a corporation to rule my medical choices based on their religious principals, you are inherently refusing my right to believe in a different religion or no religion. This ruling protects only those who work for a corporation and agree with said corporation’s religious morals. If I were to work for Hobby Lobby, as an atheist, my lack of religion and belief in a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion or to use those four forms of birth control, would be refused. And, as Kathleen mentioned, religious tolerance is what makes America a great country! Why don’t we have corporations like Hobby Lobby show some [tolerance]?
Kirk included the bit about Hobby Lobby covering Viagra and vasectomies because those are MALE things. For MEN. MEN can choose any procedure or medication that will affect their genitals. WOMEN? Nope!
Kathleen, if anyone should be “shamed,” it is you. You, as a woman, stand on the shoulders of Susan B Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sonia Sotomayor, and the rest of women’s advocates. They have worked for your right to vote, to own property, to get equal pay, to work, and now to choose your own medical treatment. If we are ever to dismantle the patriarchy and be equals, we must banish legislation from our uteruses and continue to fight for our right to choose what we do with our own anatomy.
Ode to shredders
The Knolls Kids shredding the local streets in Mammoth [front page photos in the July 19 issue] was such a site to behold! On too many occasions has shredding been associated with snowboarding, as the original term was coined in Southern California for the skateboarding genre. It was a much appreciated to see the Sheet cover such a momentous feat as this. I was equally surprised to see the overzealous Mammoth Lakes Police Dept. absent from the scene! Their conformance to helmet and safety gear ordinances is to be commended. Kudos to the kids and keep on shredding!
The Rest of the Story
Inyo County Employees Association Local 315 (ICEA) would like to share our perspective on the history of recent salary increases and the current discussions about County budget cuts.
As the bargaining representative for the majority of Inyo County Employees, ICEA participated in negotiations last fall which resulted in wage increases for employees in the lower and middle ranges of the county wage structure.
To begin with, it is a fact that eighty one percent of County ICEA-represented employees received an average equity increase of $2.01 per hour. Many of these employees were severely under the prevailing wage for their classification, and some lower-wage workers were forced to have multiple jobs to make ends meet for their families. Nineteen percent of ICEA-represented employees saw no equity adjustments.
It is also true that ICEA-represented employees have and will see a 2 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) for each of three years. For nineteen percent of ICEA represented employees, this average $.52 COLA once per year is all they will receive. ICEA represented employees received no COLA increases at all during the previous contract.
And now, the other side of the story.
At the first negotiation meeting, County Administration presented what is now our contract as its last, best and final offer and told ICEA negotiators that unless this offer was approved by members, subsequent offer(s) would not be as generous. ICEA members understood there was money earmarked for equity and annual COLA adjustments. ICEA members were not given clear information that the only earmarked funds were for fiscal year 2013/14. Having that information could have swayed a non-approval vote if employees were aware other employee jobs and community services would be in jeopardy without a secured funding source. ICEA members voted to accept the offer in October 2013.
With the ICEA contract in hand, County Administration took the deal to the Board of Supervisors (BOS) on October 15, 2013 for approval. At the same meeting, County Administration gained BOS approval for appointed staff to receive an average wage increase of $3.07 per hour. The eleven appointed administration positions are entitled to administration leave of an average of two weeks per year that are in addition to standard employment leave benefits. Most of these eleven appointed positions enjoy county paid cell phone, county paid and home garaged vehicles and generous severance packages with an average of six months’ pay after work for the county stops. Ninety seven percent of 36 non-represented administration employees gained equity adjustments of eight percent while only one position, or three percent, received no equity adjustment. The entire group was also given a three year two percent COLA. Four of these positions salaries were increased by over $20,000 per year.
The ICEA contract proposed by County Administrators ensured a lucrative equity adjustment deal for appointed administration and non-represented Administration staff. County Administration is now implementing reductions in community services and seeking to eliminate 16-20 ICEA represented positions to fix their “Structural Deficit” if staff do not come up with enough savings through “Service Redesign.”
The Inyo County Employees Association (ICEA Local 315) represents employees of Inyo County and Inyo County Superior Court. As part of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, a national union with more than 1.6 million active and retired members, ICEA strengthens the voices of local public employees to enable us to better advocate for our families and our communities. ICEA is governed by a constitution and an elected Executive Board.