Just because no one’s there, doesn’t mean no one’s listening.
On Tuesday, the Inyo County Board of Supervisors quibbled over a proclamation drafted to honor Indigenous Peoples Day.
The drafted proclamation included language referencing a painful history of oppression, violence and discrimination against indigenous people, as well as the genocidal “war of extermination” pursued by the first governor of California.
Nothing groundbreaking there. Just inconvenient truth. Written in that dispassionate way that a thousand proclamations on a thousand different topics have been written.
But this time, there was no one in attendance to speak for or against the proclamation. Likely, no one figured their presence was necessary.
So Supervisor Jennifer Roeser jumped into the void.
She thought the language was too harsh. That the proclamation dwelled too much on the past. That history is “three-dimensional,” and that the proclamation was too hard on white settlers.
Then there was talk about how the “process” of writing and introducing proclamations should be examined. Supervisor Waffle, er Rick Pucci, tap-danced for quite awhile around this topic, as he tap-dances around most topics, as if a torrent of words and clauses and pauses will distract folks from noticing his lack of spine
When Supervisor Dan Totheroh moved to approve the resolution, it died for lack of a second. Board Chairs traditionally don’t second motions, so Supervisor Jeff Griffiths did not provide a second, though he spoke in favor of the resolution. Mid-discussion, he even agreed to several small changes requested by Roeser in an attempt to reach a consensus an adamant Roeser had no interest in.
Supervisor Matt Kingsley was content to sit idly by and watch the whole thing die.
As Indigenous Peoples Day occurs this coming Monday, the Board agreed to tweak the language to the resolution and address it again at a special meeting Thursday afternoon.
By Thursday afternoon, however, word had gotten out about Tuesday’s can-kicking (down the road).
And the public was ready to kick some Supervisor can in response.
Roeser feinted and ducked and pretended she wasn’t the one who’d created the issue.
The fifty people who made public comment were not fooled.
Big Pine Tribal member Paul Huette said, “I don’t know who you [Roeser] are reaching out to [who oppose the resolution], but it ain’t the tribes … I’m shocked that this was tabled. I’m upset and hurt that it came to a second meeting … [How come] we can’t get a day without a squabble about it?” he asked rhetorically.
“What’s divisive are attempts to erase history.” -Noe Barrell
“This is a reflection on the way the county has treated native people,” said Kathy Bancroft. “Something has to be done to teach people this history.”
Several others addressed Roeser by name in their remarks.
By the time the public was done and the issue came back to Supervisors for deliberation, Supervisor Roeser suddenly wasn’t so keen on reading her “beautiful statement of acknowledgement” which she had crafted as a replacement to Tuesday’s resolution.
The Board passed the original resolution submitted Tuesday by a 5-0 vote.
Odds and ends from the week. Let’s start with reader feedback from last week on the traffic signal at Minaret and Meridian. The overwhelming sentiment was that the light should be turned off and that the intersection should function as a four way flashing red stop at all times, except during holidays.
I don’t know what to make of Mammoth Lakes Town Council at this point. Thin-skinned group. And you wonder if someone hasn’t been coaching ‘em on rose-colored governing 101. They spend an awful lot of time these days talking about their own fabulous performance or the fabulous performance of their staff.
“Way ahead on developing housing and doing remarkable work,” crowed John Wentworth.
“We have moved this [housing] along at lightning pace. A great accomplishment,” said Mayor Bill Sauser.
On communication and outreach performed by Town Public Information Officer Stu Brown since the pandemic began, Lynda Salcido said that of all the small towns she observed during Covid, Mammoth “did it the best.”
And why is commiunication and outreach so critical?
“Unless we control our own dialogue, the dialogue will be controlled by others,” added Salcido.
“It’s unfortunate in today’s world that one person on social media [and/or, I’m assuming, on page two] can do so much damage,” said Sauser.
“We are experiencing an information crisis in our society,” said Wentworth. “There is threat of dis- and misinformation to our local and national democracy.”
One thing Salcido wanted to make sure of was that the local populace knows Council budgeted $6 million towards housing this year.
$1.5 million of that was allocated towards Mammoth Lakes Housing’s proposed 11-unit, ~$8 million “Access Apartments” project.
Speaking of which, I ran into a prominent local developer this week and he shook his head over the Access numbers. “I could build it for five [million], and that’s taking two [million] for myself,” he lamented.
But working in government means prioritizing “free” state grants over shopping for the best deal. And from Crocetti…
29-year-old Josue Adalberto Corea-Vasquez of Mammoth Lakes will be on trial for the 2016 murder of Mammoth Lakes resident Jose Omar Hernandez Sanchez, also known as Omar Hernandez. Corea-Vasquez was arraigned on February 3, 2020 on charges of special circumstance first-degree murder. The DA has opted not to seek the death penalty. The trial will determine if Vasquez goes to jail for life.
Corea-Vasquez has been a resident of Mammoth Lakes for over 10 years. He worked as an employee at the Mammoth Lakes Vons grocery store, where the victim was his supervisor. An alleged on-going dispute between the suspect and victim led to Corea-Vazquez shooting Hernandez on October 9, 2016 with an assault rifle, killing him. Opening arguments begin on Friday, October 8. And from Page…
3rd time around
Mono County officials held a redistricting community conversation on Thursday, October 7 to provide the public an opportunity to comment on the county’s process for redrawing the district lines.
This was the third such invitation for the public to comment.
Thursday’s edition featured a demonstration of the county’s new mapping tool, launched at the end of September.
The tool allows any interested community member to try their hand at drawing the new districts, using demographic information to inform their selections.
Once complete, the public can view these redrawing endeavors to inform their own attempts.
The goal: approximately 2,639 residents per district, with a deviation of no more than 10% between the largest and smallest districts.
The 2020 census revealed that Mono County has lost residents in the past ten years to the tune of about 1,000 people.
As a result, the districts are now disproportionate. District 1, located solidly in Mammoth Lakes, is short by about 500 residents as currently drawn, while Districts 2,3, and 4 exceed the desired figure by 120-180 residents.
Eric Miller, GIS Specialist with the county, said that the imbalance is due to the aforementioned decrease in residents as opposed to any significant gain elsewhere.
The mapping tool can be found on the county website.
And finally, spoke to Real Estate Broker Matthew Lehman this week to ask him if the market’s topped. The answer was a firm maybe.
He said the median price for single-family homes in Mammoth (see graph at left) peaked in April. The median price for condos peaked in August before declining slightly last month.
“It’s hard to tell whether this reflects a seasonal impact or a leveling trend,” he said.
A couple of observations: 1.) People want turnkey properties right now, mostly because it’s impossible to find help these days. “You want to get something fixed, forget it,” said Lehman.
2.) Lehman said the premium for fire insurance on his Snowcreek V unit skyrocketed 600% this year.
This equates to an annual hit of $2,400.