You know what happiness is? Publishing four pages worth of letters in a holiday issue. Four pages of good letters.
As opposed to the hodgepodge of stuff I’m about to lay on you here. George Shirk, cue the ellipses …
Aaron Schat has not only recently purchased the Bank of America building on Main Street in Bishop, but he’s also acquired Fendon’s Furniture.
As he already owned Whiskey Creek, now he’s got the entire rectangle. Restoring it to single ownership, Randy Fendon observed, as it had previously existed with Randy’s grandfather.
The acquisition preserves a landmark business and Fendon’s employees were all retained. And Jerry Fendon, who started the business back in 1949, is still coming into work now and then, reports Schat.
Schat said Fendon’s Furniture will be moved into the old BofA space.
He did not divulge his plans for the current Fendon’s space.
The acquisitions do resolve the parking issue which had previously existed at Whiskey Creek (Whiskey Creek had not owned its own parking).
… At the Bishop City Council meeting on Monday, Bishop Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tawni Thomson said, “Our destination is in high demand.” She reported that requests for Visitor Guides for the first four months of this year were running 121% higher than the same time period in 2019.
Bishop hotel occupancy in April was within 1% of 2019 numbers.
Her biggest concern this year: Wildfire impacting tourism.
… From Stu Brown: Tioga Road, the continuation of Highway 120 in Yosemite National Park, reopened Thursday morning at 8 a.m. Reservations are temporarily required to enter the Park (with a few exceptions, including taking YARTS and just driving through). Visit the Park’s website for more information on how to obtain a reservation (valid for three consecutive days).
Lake Mary Road with access to Mammoth’s Lakes Basin was scheduled to open Friday, May 28, as well as the Mammoth Bike Park and Sierra Star and Snowcreek Golf Courses.
… In case you’re wondering, austerity is officially dead. The Town of Mammoth Lakes’ budgeted cost of labor in its 2021-2022 draft budget is approximately 10% more than last year. it also projects a staff of 97.7 FTE (full-time equivalent) employees, up from 88.1 in 2020-2021.
… Mammoth Hospital keeps kicking Northern Inyo Hospital’s ass. According to a press release issued Thursday morning, “Mammoth Hospital has prevailed in its defense of an appeal brought by Northern Inyo Hospital (NIH) and the Inyo County Local Agency Formation Commission (Inyo LAFCO) challenging a 2017 trial court decision favoring Mammoth Hospital.
In 2015, Northern Inyo Hospital & Inyo LAFCO brought suit against Mammoth Hospital challenging the legality of the orthopedic and physical therapy clinic operated by Mammoth Hospital in Bishop. In 2017, the Sacramento County Superior Court ruled in favor of Mammoth Hospital. Mammoth Hospital CEO Tom Parker said, ‘Mammoth Hospital and its orthopedic surgeons first provided orthopedic services to the Bishop community in 2003 at the request of NIH, and it was not until 2015 that NIH and Inyo LAFCO took issue with that by filing a suit against us. While we prevailed in that case in 2017, NIH and Inyo LAFCO continued the litigation though an appeal. I am pleased that Mammoth Hospital prevailed in our defense of that appeal and am grateful to our legal team led by our General Counsel, David Baumwohl, for its vigorous and capable work.’
The recent court decision was issued by the Third District Court of Appeal of the State of California.”
… the City of Bishop has more problems than just the letter from Police Sgt. Dan Nolan on page four regarding its selection of a new police chief.
Its Council (other than Karen Kong) appears to be in sleepwalk mode.
That or they’re paralyzed by indecision and inertia because downtown is littered with vacancies and no one knows what to do next. Aaron Schat can’t rescue everything, can he?
Anyone watching Monday’s Council meeting will understand what I’m talking about.
The meeting started with a presentation by Alta Planning on the downtown draft plan (a copy of which is posted on downtownbishopplan.com).
Survey responses received by Alta revealed that when asked to identify the needs of downtown Bishop, responses were as follows: Stores 26%, walkability 25%, housing 19%, places to gather 17% and cycling infrastructure 13%.
The “vision” is cutesy western with retail shops on the first floor and housing above.
Which doesn’t square with trucks rumbling up and down Main, as Alta Planning’s Tim Bevins said the noise and the size of the constant stream of 18-wheelers does influence the downtown character.
The vision also neglects the fact that retail is struggling and internet competition doesn’t promise to make things any easier. The go-to businesses du jour appear to be centered around booze, coffee, secondhand stuff, “antiques,” more booze and now, weed.
Which brings us to the second part of the meeting, where the City approved up to two downtown locations for marijuana dispensaries.
Karen Kong was the only Councilmember willing to acknowledge that the 21+ vibe being promoted doesn’t seem to mesh with the Frontierland Disney plan on the table.
If a downtown bar scene is what’s feasible and what you think will fill the vacancies, fine, but don’t pretend that anyone wishes to invest in building housing above it.
In my mind, getting the trucks off Main Street is the first priority. Then you can add some street parking, some more dining, even fine dining, and some boutique-type shops to the business mix.
But as we all know, politicians with four-year time horizons are incapable of tackling projects with 20-year horizons. Particularly politicians who are more focused on adhering to three-minute time limits for public comment than listening to the substance of what people are trying to tell them.
Covering Bishop circa 2021 is so familiar – just like covering Mammoth circa 2003. Thin skin, bland passivity in accepting reports, general cheerleading and stubborn myopia are no recipe for success.