Newsflash. The April TOT revenue estimate is in, and it’s about as lousy as we all expected. The preliminary number is approx. $425,000, about $237,000, or 35% below last year. The number is less than half of what it was four years ago.
One restaurant owner I spoke to this week said April was the worst April he’s had in his 14 years.
I don’t think there’s anything anyone could have done about it, and maybe that’s the source of general frustration.
I sat in the Mammoth Lakes Tourism (MLT) open house for about an hour on Wednesday morning. And I thought Dion Agee made an excellent observation afterwards. He said, look, in the old days, we didn’t mine and analyze all this data. We just had a tourism director, and every time a decision was made, it would get questioned because it was based on an opinion not backed by data. Now we’ve got the data – oh boy do we have the data. The issue is whether or not the data really points in the direction that the advertising agency and the tourism organization says it does.
As the saying goes, lies, damn lies and statistics.
If there’s one thing I’m sure John Urdi and I agree on, it’s that Facebook friends and real friends are two different animals. Getting liked on Facebook is nice, getting articles re-tweeted is nice. Social media is nice. But its ability to move the needle is limited – at least for me, anyway.
It’s the personal connection that draws people. Events like this week’s Film Festival are so critical because we have the opportunity to make friends with enlightened souls who know how to connect emotionally, who are driven by passion over money.
We have to embrace these opportunities to connect, and these opportunities require actual human effort. All the marketing gymnastics in the world won’t mean shit otherwise.
We have to show up. And keep showing up. 90% of life is showing up. Even if the rink doesn’t have a roof and the Forest Service Auditorium is the most uncomfortable place on Earth and we end up holding Bluesapalooza at the Snowcreek Driving Range.
Social media has been hijacked by the marketeers, who now sit around and try to plot how to sell the “authenticity” they lack, to sell the magic in a bottle that’s not really in their DNA.
And most people now are pretty sophisticated. They have a finely tuned nose for rat. They can smell one a mile away.
There’s a reason why the MeringCarson 34-second advertisement that is featured on the front page of MLT’s website has drawn just 8,000 views while the Steve Klassen tandem snowboard video has drawn 700,000 in three weeks.
Dual Immersion Moves Forward
After a mandatory Mammoth Unified School District (MUSD) meeting on May 20, MUSD Superintendent Lois Klein said “it doesn’t appear that we’re going to need a lottery for the dual immersion program at this point.”
MUSD announced two weeks ago that it would be altering its dual immersion program. For the past ten years, the District has followed a “50-50” program, meaning 50 percent of the class is taught in Spanish and 50 percent of the class is taught in English from kindergarten through fifth grade. 50-50 requires an even split in classes between Spanish and English speakers.
However, the 50-50 program is most successful when it runs for nine years rather than six, something Klein said MUSD cannot achieve because of staffing challenges.
Instead, MUSD is pursuing two separate Dual Immersion programs. The first is a 90-10 model, meaning kindergartners begin classes taught in 90 percent Spanish and 10 percent English, until by fifth grade, they’ll be learning in 50 percent Spanish and 50 percent English. This class will be evenly split between Spanish and English speakers, and students should reach full proficiency speaking and reading in both languages by fifth grade.
The second is a “FLOW” (Foreign Language One Way) model, which starts with 90 percent English rather than 90 percent Spanish, and progressively adds more Spanish until achieving 40-50 percent in each language by fifth grade. Students should conclude the program with functional Spanish and full literacy in English.
“It appears there will be enough places in the dual immersion program in one model or another for everybody,” Klein said.
Parents had expressed concern at the MUSD Board meeting two weeks ago that, with preference given to students who already have siblings in the program, and students with MUSD employee parents, there wouldn’t be any spots left for new entrants.
Klein told parents at the May 20 meeting that she was checking into the legality of the preference for certain students. In an interview with The Sheet on Thursday, Klein said “that is legal, according to our attorney, because there’s room in our school program for all children.”
She added that giving preference to students with siblings in the program, or children with school employee parents, “is something that’s very often done in other, similar programs.”
Parents interested in the dual immersion program have opportunities to meet with dual immersion teachers to discuss which of the two models might be the best fit for their child. Parents must then submit their applications by June 8.
Klein said that, as the School District does with all classes, MUSD will be closely evaluating the success of the new models. “We’re putting into place a new assessment for kindergarten in Spanish, but we will be assessing throughout kindergarten through fifth grade,” she said. “Certainly we are going to monitor this very closely.”