I received an email the other day from my good friends at Facebook or Meta or whatever the hell it’s called. You know how it goes. I was in between a pair of pedestrian thoughts and Facebook figured I should find out what Deena Davenport Conway is up to, besides cutting my cute daughter’s hair once in awhile.
Deena: “I bought a ticket from Bishop to San Francisco. It’s getting real.”
Of course, Deena is referring to the impending commercial air service out of Bishop. United will fly to San Francisco, L.A. and Denver.
But I shouldn’t say of course since awareness of this development seems remarkably thin. Some responses:
-I wonder if they fly into Santa Rosa?
-Where can you fly from Bishop, besides San Francisco?
-How much was it? What airline?
-Is roundtrip more than $250?
-Wow. It’s coming up.
-United is only going to fly it until the end of March, but maybe another airline will step up for the spring, summer and fall.
So yes, it’s here, which means, the hard work is actually about to start.
That was the hard lesson I learned when starting this paper. Planning and spitballing and fantasizing and projecting is wonderful. Meeting deadlines and actually operating the thing is a bitch.
And so, who is really in charge? I see Mammoth Lakes Tourism sent out a nice little glossy postcard. Is that it?
I’ve seen nothing out of the City of Bishop or Inyo County.
We all know that passenger enplanements declined precipitously in Mammoth over the past decade. In 2011, Mammoth Yosemite Airport did more than 30,000 passenger enplanements. By its last full year pre-Covid, that number had sank below 20,000.
A lot of it had to do with the irregularity of the weather and flights – something a transition to Bishop is supposed to fix.
From the studies I’ve read, the success of commercial air service in rural communities greatly depends on local usage – not just skiers. I also know that while Mammoth Lakes Tourism has proven adept at many things, marketing air service is not one of them.
I’m hoping the Inyo/City of Bishop strategy here runs a bit deeper than build it and they will come. Or build it and let Mammoth figure it out from there.
Seems like a lot more thought was dedicated to the naming of the Clint G. Quilter Consolidated Office Building than to the functioning of the Clint G. Quilter International Airport.
I was sent the following story recently by a friend of mine who thought I would be thrilled at the possibility of another fantastic government handout.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s $1.85 trillion social spending bill includes a provision that, if it becomes law, would mark the first time the federal government has offered targeted support in response to the decline of local news.
The help would come in the form of a payroll tax credit for companies that employ eligible local journalists. The measure would allow newspapers, digital news outlets and radio and television stations to claim a tax credit of $25,000 the first year and $15,000 the next four years for up to 1,500 journalists.
… But the credit, which would cost $1.67 billion over the next five years, does create some tension for the industry. Some top Republicans in Congress have derided it as a handout. Leading journalists also acknowledge that it’s awkward to receive financial assistance from a government they cover independently.
Still, given the sense of crisis the industry is facing, many journalists say the risk is worth it.
“This is only a reluctant response to this fear of the collapse of local news and their business models,” said Steven Waldman, president and co-founder of Report for America, an organization that places journalists in local newsrooms, including The Associated Press. “Most journalists start off with a healthy skepticism about the government getting involved and helping journalism. And that’s appropriate.”
“But,” he added, “the reason why this is happening now is just the severity of the crisis.”
The provision is supported by more than a dozen House Republicans, though the second-ranking GOP leader, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, called it a scam in a recent tweet. “Make no mistake — this is Biden and Dems in Congress helping pay the reporters’ salaries who cover for them,” he tweeted.
… Though the proposal’s main objective was to rescue small papers that were hit hard as ad dollars evaporated at the start of the pandemic, it will help some larger companies. Should the tax break become law, Gannett, one of the nation’s largest remaining newspaper chains, could gain as much as $127.5 million over five years, according to an analysis by the AP … “
My thought? Bad idea. The collapse of an individual business model is not the general populace’s problem.
Although we now seem to live in a world where no one is allowed to fail.
Further, I can assure you that if this proposal became law and I really could collect $85,000 per journalist over the next five years, this is how I’d approach it. I’d hire one more journalist. Hopefully a clever one whom I could pay to write this column.
I’d take the money for the existing two writers I’ve got and I’d put it in my pocket. Which is what most people did with their PPP loans. Why pay rent when you can day-trade Tesla stock?
And then, I don’t know, I’d have more time and money to spend on my wife’s goat problem or my increasing aversion to work problem.
And I’d have plenty of time to attend events I don’t usually attend like the Chamber Awards Gala. Maybe if I attended a few Galas they’d give me an award. Maybe for best professional haircut (thank you, Ellen McDonald) or for best guy ever for letting people leave their cars at my house when they fly out of Bishop.
*Note: This last part is obviously fiction. Don’t even think about asking to park at my house. First part is not. Ellen’s a damn fine barber.
My thought about the Facebooks and Googles of the world – one has no choice but to compete. And if we put out a compelling product, people will pick it up and support it and advertise in it … even if I refuse to play marketing weenie and don’t have the balls to proclaim with certainty that every dollar spent at The Sheet boasts an ROI (Return on Investment) of $165.
I mean, who could get away with saying something like that?
But when it comes down it, I kinda categorize the Great Recession and the Great Pandemic as the 1-2 punch to destroy even the most ambitious.
Surviving the first meant learning how to control costs and assume more responsibility and work harder and do more with less. All things one learns growing up in an environment of self-abnegation (New England).
But the second part, the pandemic … I can’t figure out what I think. While a whole lot of other people want to lobby me about what they think.
Don’t they know that no one knows anything – and that doesn’t apply just to other people.
It was awfully strange taking my daughter to a vaccination clinic on Sunday at the Fairgrounds and having people stand outside the gate protesting it. Why do they care about my daughter getting vaxxed?
One guy said aloud, “Do you believe in God?” As if God cares about one’s vaccination status.
And yeah, God and I are okay. I’m not so wonderful and God knows it. Next.
But honestly … this age of (anything but self) denial and self-certainty and self-dealing is just wearing me out.
You know what I’ll be thankful for – a round of golf at BCC with Scatolini and Frome on Thursday. Amen!