Well, a ‘tweener week so I unfortunately had to pass on an April Fools’ story this year.
In terms of ideas, spoofing Mammoth Lakes Town Council’s upcoming series of “strategic workshops” seemed almost too good to pass up.
Especially since Council has indicated a desire to schedule FOUR of these workshops.
I feel for Town Clerk Jamie Gray.
By the fourth one, I imagine they’ll be discussing which brand of dog-poop bags we should be buying from Uline.
In my mind’s eye, I can envision meeting #1 …
Sauser: So it would seem to me … the problem we’re having is that we have too many people coming here, but we don’t want to stop them coming here, because I don’t know if any of us would turn away an additional customer and another dollar … and let’s face it. We know we can’t stop them. They’re coming even if we don’t market to them.
Rea: Then maybe we should reduce our marketing budget?
Sauser: Hell, no. That would be a show of weakness.
Rea: Weakness? Or common sense?
Sauser (sighing): Sarah, I’m getting tired of having to educate you about everything. Government is in the business of maximizing government. And as the old adage goes, ‘No one’s ever cut their way to prosperity.’ If we reduced MLT’s budget and number of employees, that would reduce demand for vital town services we insist on supplying, like affordable housing and ice skating. You see, we are all interconnected.
Rea: So we’re like a great tribe of Wakandans …
No one understands the reference, except for John Wentworth
Wentworth: If I may, Bill, since I’m the only one of us who can seemingly bridge the gap between the Millennial (Sarah) and my fellow geezers, some of whom have a difficult time operating the mute button on Zoom calls … what if I told you there was a way to take visitors’ money without actually having to tolerate their presence?
Sauser: Well, that would sound too good to be true.
Wentworth: Not too good to be true, Bill. Merely visionary. I fashion myself as Mammoth’s Walt Disney. I’m in the business of making dreams come true … have any of my fellow Councilmembers heard of a little thing called an NFT?
Stapp: Of course. A Not-For-Ted. That’s a closed session. John, can you please finish this up so we can try to outdo each other talking about The Parcel?
Wentworth: An NFT is a digital token – like a piece of art or multimedia which can be licensed and verified as unique. A collage by a person who calls himself/herself Beeple recently sold for $69.3 million dollars! So this is what I propose. We sell NFTs of those ad campaigns by MLT featuring all those Yetis and Dragons and such and people will spend so much money on them they won’t have anything left over to, you know, actually travel here.
Rea: You know what else would sell? NFTs of those flash mobs that Josh Wray used to organize.
Sauser: And I have video from snowmobiling with Patterson last Saturday …
Wentworth: That’s the spirit!
Sauser: I think I get it. It’s like that movie Arnold did – Total Recall – where he thought he was taking a virtual vacation, but it was actually real.
Wentworth: Not quite. Almost. But way to channel 1990 and apply it to today to try and understand … NFTs are a virtual collector’s item of someone else’s real moment or real creation. Our job is to convince people that they’d rather own someone else’s moment versus their own. Which should be pretty easy in a place like California where people tend to swap each other’s spouses and partners with great frequency.
Stapp: Hello? Is this on? Can everyone hear me? Speaking of 1990 …
“Exploration is not mining.”
So said Mojave Precious Metals CEO Steve Swatton at a forum open to the public held over Zoom on Wednesday evening.
I chose forum open to the public versus public forum because the chat function was disabled for the meeting, attendees could not identify or communicate with each other and all questions were vetted by an MPM moderator
before being addressed to Swatton and his colleagues. Tightly controlled would be an apt description of the event.
The forum represented MPM’s first public relations salvo in its drive for approval of a proposed phase #2 of its exploratory drilling project at Conglomerate Mesa located southeast of Lone Pine on the way to Death Valley.
Wendy Schneider, Executive Director of Friends of the Inyo, summed up the purpose of the meeting as follows: “A big, Canadian mining company trying to curry favor with the locals while proposing to significantly expand the exploratory footprint at Conglomerate Mesa by a factor of ten.”
But The Sheet didn’t speak to Ms. Schneider until Thursday.
Wednesday was about meeting the team – and the team was apparently instructed to humanize itself.
Field Geologist Katie Von Sydow talked about how much she enjoyed lunching with the birds and the lizards at the job site.
And Project Director Carolyn Loder touted her local roots and her rock collection’s 2nd place finish at the Tri-County Fair when she was just a tyke.
The humanization was quickly followed by a basket of Halloween candy.
Loder mentioned how MPM had already made significant financial contributions to Southern Inyo Hospital and local fire departments. She even said they’d made anonymous contributions to the senior community,
*Translation: We’re good people and don’t like to toot our own horns, but what is the purpose of handing out money if our good deeds are not well known?
Loder also touted a diversified economy, higher-paying jobs, tax revenue and local contracting of goods and services as potential benefits of a future mine. “A lot of local companies were really happy we were there [for phase #1] during the pandemic,” she said.
But here’s the thing. On Wednesday, MPM couldn’t answer the most fundamental of questions: Where are you or a future mining company going to find the water to make this project feasible?
Swatton swatted the question aside, saying, “It’s not prudent to think about water for a future mine right now.”
Really? I think he has it backwards. If you don’t have access to water, what’s the point of exploration?
MPM plans to hold an open house at the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce on Main Street in Lone Pine from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this coming Wednesday. Field Geologist Von Sydow said she is looking forward to having face-to-face conversations.
We’ll see how that goes.
Some people sneak up on you.
First, they’re acquaintances. And then friends. And then really close friends you take on roadtrips. And then they’re like a second Dad.
And then they’re gone.
Ron Casey died on Sunday the 14th surrounded by family. He was 89.
And he was the sweetest, toughest sonofabitch you could ever meet.
In high school, he was a 175-pound lineman for Verdugo Hills (player of the year his senior year).
Told me about one game where the other team outweighed ‘em on the line by about fifty pounds a man.
They won anyway. 6-0.
He told me about bankrupting himself over development of the commercial building in June Lake across from Fern Creek Lodge.
And busting his ass to make it all back and retire ten years later.
He was a plumber by trade. Also built houses. Bragged that he had the speed record in Mono County because he once finished a house in 12 days.
The house still stands.
He loved to gamble. That’s why we always made our roadtrips at the beginning of the month when he had some money. There was a trip to Vegas where I woke up one morning and looked over and Ron’s bed was freshly made. He hadn’t slept that night. Ran down to the casino filled with worry, figuring his family was gonna kill me for losing him. Found him at a machine sucking on his pipe.
Lunch: What happened to you?
Ron: I couldn’t remember your directions [to the room].
Lunch: You couldn’t ask somebody?
Ron: Maybe I didn’t want to ask.
Ron was the type of guy who, when his wife Marcie mentioned in passing that she might be interested in running the Mono Cone in Lee Vining, went out and bought it for her. Which elicited the following response: “You did what!?!?”
They ran it for two years in the ‘60s and sold it for a profit
Then there was the one where he surprised Marcie with a Cadillac, but she had to return it because the speedometer only went up to 85, so she never knew how fast she was driving.
Boy, they knew how to have fun.
And Ron was tough as nails. He used to drive to get the paper from the press for us. I remember him calling one night to say he couldn’t do the delivery that week but for sure, he’d get it done the next.
Lunch: Ron, is everything okay?
Ron: Well, I had a heart attack last night, but I’m feeling pretty good today. Don’t give away my job.
One of my favorite Ron stories was him doing this plumbing job, and there were all sorts of setbacks and a two-day job became a two-week job and the bill he handed to the client was for far more than the estimate.
The client started to complain.
So Ron grabbed the bill from him and tore it up and started marching off. He was tired and livid and frustrated.
And the guy calls after him says, “Does this mean I can’t call you again?”
‘That’s exactly what this means.”
The guy paid his bill.
Thanks so much to the Casey family for sharing their Dad. And again, look for a proper obituary in a future issue.
This week the Mono County Board of Supervisors sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom’s office expressing a desire for the state to adjust the tier guidelines so as to make them less restrictive for smaller communities.
The letter, co-signed by Public Heatlh Director Bryan Wheeler, referenced Mono County’s high vaccination rate and rare instances of severe disease as reasons for not clinging to the existing metrics.
The letter comes as Mono County is seeing a rise in cases. For the seven day period from 3/18-3/25, the county has recorded 23 positive Covid tests. The threshold for reverting back to Purple Tier remains at 35 new cases/day/per 100,000 residents.