In the aftermath of Mammoth Council’s abortive attempt to manage its own money, I thought about Celine’s line from Journey to the End of the Night
*Am I allowed to quote Celine? I haven’t kept up with the master cancellation list.
“And great Goethe, accepting the inevitable truth that human growth does not proceed in a straight line to its goal, compared the development and progress of mankind to the reelings of a drunken beggar on horseback.”
A tidy summary of Mammoth’s political history.
Before I forget … I’m so glad that Kirk Stapp kept his political commitment to the horse-and-buggy (Measure A, 1986) rather than update his commitment to the plane, train or automobile.
“Those aren’t pillows!”
Just to give you an idea of what a few peer resorts are doing when it comes to spending money on housing versus marketing.
According to its 2021 budget, Aspen is spending $45.7 million on affordable housing, and $2.4 million on resort promotion. Aspen’s marketing spend has remained flat for the past five years.
Breckenridge will spend $11.3 million on affordable housing and $4.2 million on marketing in FY 2021. Breckenridge spent $4.8 million on marketing in 2020.
Whereas the Town of Mammoth Lakes spends about three times as much on marketing as it dedicates to housing per its General Fund allocation.
You know what would have happened if Council had taken $344,000 from MLT? We probably would have lost out on our next #1 single.
In an email from Lara Kaylor which described MLT’s Sustainability Spend for Summer 2021, she highlighted the following:
• Media placements for Mammoth Lakes Love Song & Hug What You Love – $350,000 (includes agency fees for related placements – The agency makes approx. 15% commission on digital placements. For example only, if the budget is $350K, the agency makes $52,500 and $297,500 is media. This is not exact right now for the summer spend as the media has not fully run to reconcile and report on actuals. Media commission covers: planning, buying, trafficking, setup, management, optimization, dashboards, and reporting.)
• Production of Summer Sustainability Assets (Bleephole song, Love Song Video, In-Market Collateral, Hug Video, Bleephole Trade PR) – $43,500
• Summer Interactive dispersement map – $20,000
Overall, Kaylor said MLT has spent more than $1 million on sustainability and stewardship initiatives over the past year.
Which leads me to “The Perils of PR” piece I read in the July 3 issue of The Economist
“Any big business may need a team to handle its public image and to deal with the ‘reptiles’ of the press … but once you start employing PR people, it can be difficult to stop. In a variant of Parkinson’s law, ‘PR expands to fill the budget available.’ Companies can hire an in-house team while also choosing an external PR firm. And if bad news strikes, bosses often want to call in a firm that specializes in crisis management.
A company’s aim is to frame the narrative in a favorable manner. Any firm wants to be seen not as a money-grubbing corporation that pollutes the environment and exploits its workers but as an innovative pioneer with sustainable operations and a social conscience. An expert PR executive can hone such a message and identify the best way of communicating it to investors and the wider public, for example by selecting the journalists and publications which will lend it a sympathetic ear.”
Mammoth Lakes is big business, but let me emphasize: No money-grubbing to see here! No housing, no problem! Move along!
The second piece I’d like to mention is a review of Adam Grant’s “Think Again” by Philip Delves Broughton which appeared in the Wall Street Journal.
The book is about exploring how “rethinking” happens, how we change our minds and how we persuade others.
Mr. Grant argues that the most innovative thinkers don’t just accept when they are wrong, they take genuine pleasure in it, and delight in having their intellectual world rocked.
Hedge fund manager Ray Dalio is quoted as saying: “If you don’t look back at yourself and think, ‘Wow, how stupid I was a year ago’ then you must not have learned much in the last year.”
Another little gem: “Psychologists find that people will ignore or even deny the existence of a problem if they’re not fond of the solution.”
But most important: “The absence of conflict is not harmony. It’s apathy.”
Apathy was by far the easiest path Mammoth’s Town Council could have taken on Wednesday, and it’s a path Council has taken for the past several years. We all owe Lynda Salcido a debt of gratitude for standing up and taking a few broadsides and making it an actual debate, versus the usual 4-1 tut-tut Ms. Rea walkover.
Won’t the real John Wentworth
please stand up
please stand up
please stand up?