In regard to last week’s editorial regarding MLT’s Food Bank and the feedback it’s spawned …
No one’s against food, or feeding people, or feeling good about doing things for others. Do all those things. Spend what you need on it. And it’s not terribly important if there are those who abuse that generosity. You never know a person’s circumstances. Maybe the guy driving through the Food Bank in the Hummer is mortgaged to the nines.
But this is a simple math equation. Simpler than the town or county equations because those entities are responsible for social services, law enforcement, et. al. Not to say there shouldn’t be layoffs/furloughs there – I can’t see why we need a Community Development Department at the moment. And certainly, government workers as a rule should recognize what’s going on and take 25% (minimum) pay cuts as a matter of course. A nod that we’re all rowing in the same boat. 75% of something is a helluva lot better than 0% of nothing with bills sprouting in all directions.
But back to Mammoth Lakes Tourism (whose staff took pay cuts of between 20-50% starting this pay cycle. That is a start. That is leadership. Other public entities take note). It’s unique in that MLT is responsible for one thing: marketing. And town is closed (except the Shilo Inn. More on that later) until June 1 at the earliest. There is no work right now which remotely relates to MLT’s mission. So lay everyone off until June 1 (the new fuzzy date for when vistation can resume). You can still have your Food Bank. Your unemployed staff (while collecting unemployment) can still volunteer. You can still solicit donations. And what’s best, you won’t be disassociated from the people you’re helping. You’ll be one of them. Truly in the trenches.
Paul Rudder’s letter (which came in late and I couldn’t fit it) relates so I’ll excerpt a bit right here: In regard to the Food Bank and John Urdi, whom he described as heroic, Rudder wrote, “MLT did not have to do that, they could have put it off on the Town Council or some other organization with greater responsibility or experience, but they didn’t. They just went out and got the job done. Why is it important to recognize them? Because being a hero is not a permanent condition. People do what they will do, depending on the circumstances. Recognition is one of those circumstances that encourages people to give their best. No one becomes a hero for the public plaudits, but criticisms can ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Clearly the community needs its heroes … Stepping up and taking care of our own is a long-time tradition in Mammoth Lakes and is to be encouraged whenever possible; it’s what makes a real community instead of a bunch of strangers that live in the same place. “
A presser from Alterra Resorts CEO Rusty Gregory which was released Thursday:
“While I’m hopeful we will be able to reopen this summer and optimistic that we will open on time for winter, the fact is we don’t know when this will abate. We must react aggressively to the prospect of zero revenue for the foreseeable future, continuing to focus on protecting the health and safety of our guests, employees, and communities while maintaining our liquidity and financial viability in order to do more of the same for as long as possible.
To this end, approximately 17,000 seasonal employees were laid off shortly after operations were suspended, operating expenses have been cut across the board and well over 50% of previously approved capital expenditures have been postponed in order to preserve cash. Additionally, beginning April 4th, our year-round employees in the U.S. who are unable to perform their work at either home, resort or office due to work restrictions aimed at mitigating the spread of the virus will not receive pay. They will remain an employee of their resort or business but will be listed on payroll for “zero hours” and will not be working until these restrictions are lifted. These employees will continue to receive health benefits, may access any of their
accrued earned leave (PTO), will retain their current seniority and employment status, and will be assisted by our HR teams in applying for recently enhanced federal and state unemployment assistance programs.
While I will continue my work as your CEO, I will go without a paycheck until each of our year-round staff returns to work. All other employees able to continue working will receive their full pay rate, with the understanding that this situation is fluid and we need flexibility to react as things change. While it is my fervent intent to avoid reducing anyone’s full pay rate for work going forward, we do not know how long this crisis will continue and it is imperative that we ensure that our finite resources last long enough to get us to the other side of this pandemic and fully open for operation when the time comes.”
As for Vail Resorts and other ski towns, Owen Page submitted the following:
The town of Breckenridge, Colorado has dedicated over $1 million to help residents tackle rent costs incurred as a result of the pandemic. Business owners and people who work in town are eligible to apply for these funds. $1 million will go to the Small Business Relief Program while $500,000 is headed to the Family Intercultural Resource Center for people out of work and struggling with rent payments.
Vail CEO Rob Katz announced that he would be forgoing his full salary for next six months while the company’s board of directors does the same. Those announcements were coupled with news that the majority of Vail’s year-round hourly employees had been furloughed for at least a month while salaried employees would see salary reductions anywhere between 5-25% across the company.
Katz also has stated that he will donate $2.5 million personally in immediate relief grants for organizations providing critical services in places where Vail has resorts.
Mono County Board of Supervisors Chair Stacy Corless, Mammoth Mayor Bill Sauser, Mono County Sheriff ingrid Braun and County Health officer Tom Boo all signed a letter to California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton Bonham on Wednesday requesting a postponement of the April 25 fishing opener.
Hite listened in on Thursday’s Mono County community meeting. The highlights: Mammoth Hospital’s Chief Medical Officer Craig Burrows said the hospital’s current capacity is 17 beds and four ventilators. They could cram 40 beds in. The problem is ventilators and availability. if we socially distance poorly, Burrows projects 100 corona cases and 20 needing ventilators at peak.
In a best-case scenario, you’d have 25 cases at peak and and 7 needing a ventilator.
5 of 18 positives have required hospitalized thus far.
While Mono County is telling 2nd homeowners to stay away, there are no legal avenues to enforce that.
Burrows says he’d like to see everyone wearing mask.
Tom Boo said he wouldn’t allow Mule Days if he were Inyo County’s Health Officer.
A friend called five Mammoth hotel establishments Thursday trying to make a reservation checking in Friday night for two nights. All stated they were closed except the Shilo Inn, which was quite willing to make the reservation.
And from Hite’s desk …
Zoom Zoom Zoom-a-Zoom
While watching Mammoth Lakes Town Council Wednesday’s April 1 meeting over zoom, here were my five observations.
Cleland Hoff and her birds. I don’t know how many, or what kind, but she has birds. One of the first times the Zoom Camera cut to her it took about five seconds for her to calm the birds down. I’m pretty sure she told them to “shut up,” and then she looked back at the camera and started discussing the Town’s COVID-19 response strategy. Gold.
Kirk Stapp was late. Like 50 minutes late. The Sheet does not know why he was late, but the odds-on favorite: technical difficulties. The funny part was he hopped on the zoom call after about 50 minutes and immediately commented on the discussion at hand. Mayor Bill Sauser did not expect Stapp to come in so hot. No way.
Speaking of Sauser, the camera was on him a lot. Zoom has three viewing settings. One is normal mode which jumps around to whomever is talking. I think Hoff’s parakeets ruined this option. The second is tile mode which shows everyone at the same time. This option gets my vote because it makes the whole thing make more sense (you know, like an actual Town Council meeting). The third option is to pin someone so no matter who is talking you will see that one person. For most of the meeting it was Sauser.
Also on Sauser. He had a glass with ice and a brown liquid. It wasn’t necessarily whiskey. It could’ve been apple juice …
Finally, the best nugget from the Council meeting was John Wentworth changing his background on Zoom. Everyone is in their house and Wentworth is in front of fake mountains. It was spectacular. His hat was the color of the background so occasionally it would blend in to the mountain range behind him.