I WON’T BACK DOWN (FROM SPENDING MONEY)
If only the TBID story on the front page represented the extent of my time spent on Mammoth Lakes Tourism this week.
Tuesday afternoon was just the first three hours.
I then spent three hours the next day covering MLT’s regular board meeting as it outlined its organizational plans/objectives for 2022-2023.
The meeting started 25 minutes late, once board member Pat Foster straggled in.
Fellow board member Larry Crabb arrived five minutes later. 12 p.m. proved a tough start time. Maybe they were still digesting lunch.
*I do have a theory, based upon recent start times of certain meetings, that they are scheduled to not conflict with Boston Celtic playoff basketball. That was certainly the case of Tuesday’s TBID Renewal meeting. There was another meeting last week where the start time seemed … convenient.
One thing that seems apparent based upon the Tuesday and Wednesday meetings: MLT is taking a page from the Tom Petty playbook. “I Won’t Back Down” (from spending money).
The basic outline for next year: $300,000 for a website overhaul. $475,000 for a “brand refresh.” An increase to $1.25 million (from $550,000) in destination and air service marketing, with an emphasis on the northeast. *Sounds like a great excuse to buy some placements at Fenway! $300,000 for special event grant funding. These are the new initiatives.
Urdi said MLT would dip into reserves (for approx. $400,000) to accomplish its to-do list.
The special event funding may provide an interesting opportunity for promoters, especially because the new Community Recreation Center has been approved for a concert capacity of 4,000. MLT’s Dakota Snider says the CRC will be designed for “sound efficiencies” and event producers can add their own acoustic elements.
*Translation: They assert the acoustics will be half-decent.
Then there’s $2.8 million for subsidy related to commercial air service. This was broken out as follows:
$415,000 for summer air subsidy – $200,000 for Advanced Air charter service out of Mammoth and $215,000 for the United service to SFO out of Bishop.
$2.035 million for winter air subsidy. $625,000 for Advanced Air and approx. $1.4 million for United.
$325,000 for ground transportation subsidy.
$50,000 for consultant.
*The ground transportation subsidy is certainly an eye-opener. It was never really talked about during the Airport-to-Bishop discussions. The Sheet has followed up with a public records request in search of details. The 2021-2022 agreement MLT signed with MAWS (Mammoth All Weather Shuttle) also called for a minimum revenue guarantee and up to $300,000 in subsidy.
The other part of the equation that’s also being sussed out: the proposed financial contribution to commercial air service of Inyo County and the City of Bishop. Urdi said at Tuesday’s meeting that 14% of air passengers were from Bishop. Would those two governmental entities be on the hook for 14% of $2.8 million? That’s nearly $400,000
MLT also plans to spend $2.55 million in resort marketing. That outlay was broken down by season as follows:
$2 million Winter
Hmm. We talk a LOT about filling beds during shoulder seasons, but it doesn’t appear like that’s what we spend money on.
One good point MLT board member John Morris made this week regarding shoulder seasons – the weather is so unpredictable.
When you invite people here during that timeframe, you may be inviting them to heaven – or to windswept misery.
In terms of staffing, payroll and benefits clock in at approximately $1 million/year. MLT has 7.5 FTE (full-time equivalent) employees. Urdi has asked for a 5% wage increase for his staff – below inflation.
In conclusion, Urdi touted the rejuvenation of MLT’s relationship with Council and the community. It made me think he might break out in song. You know, the Pet Shop Boys.
I’ve got the brains
You’ve got the looks
Let’s make lots of money
And from Crocetti’s desk …
“It is a better world we live in, thanks to people like John ‘Snowshoe’ Thompson. But a hero is not merely a story from a favorite book, nor a giant statue framed against the sky; it is a person who lives their life dedicated to their community – to their neighbors and friends – and who makes it their duty and responsibility to make things better for all. And that was Snowshoe Thompson,” said a Mono Basin Historical Society actor during the society’s “living history” presentation of the life and legacy of Thompson on Monday evening.
The event was held in Lee Vining but also accessible via Zoom.
Thompson was the first person to deliver mail to the Eastern Sierra, and was regarded as a force of nature. Making a 180-mile round trip twice a month from Placerville, Calif to Genoa, Nev., he carried an 80-pound sack of mail while cross-country skiing on seven-foot long homemade skis. The trip took him 5 days in total. He did not use a compass or a trail map, yet he never got lost. He did this for 20 years.
Despite his service, Thompson was never paid by the Federal government. The Nevada State Legislature put together a resolution for Thompson to receive $6,000 for the first 13 years of delivering the mail, but he never saw a dime. He even traveled all the way to Washington D.C. to plead his case at one point, but still did not receive any money. This didn’t deter him from serving his community, however. He seven years delivering the mail across mountains after getting stiffed.
Once the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, Thompson’s services of carrying the mail directly across the mountains were no longer needed. However, he continued to carry the mail to smaller, more remote communities in the South Lake Tahoe area.
He remained devoted to serving his community in any way that he could, including a stint as an Alpine County Supervisor from 1868 to 1872, and even running for California State Senate at one point.
On May 15, 1876, Thompson died from appendicitis that developed into pneumonia.
Crocetti also reports that Mono Supervisors decided on option #3 regarding a moratorium on short-term rental applications.
What was option #3, you ask?
A moratorium will apply to new applications for single-family residences only within the county. The moratorium went into effect May 3
And from Hartley’s desk: A Corona Conspiracy. Hartley says he knows who started Corona. Answer: The state of California. A few years ago, California was a mess. Broke. Then the pandemic hit and voila, $75 billion surplus in California – so much money it doesn’t know how to spend it.
Scratch that. If history is any guide, they will figure out how to spend it. But I am shifting course from my previous Corona conspiracies and now KNOW California, the whole state, started Corona. I am murky on the details of how they did it but the budget surplus is no coincidence. Now with that surplus, can they kick me off a bit so I can afford to live in San Diego please?
Hartley also touches upon a topic that Klusmire discusses in his column on page 15.
Grass is illegal. And should be destroyed. No not that grass. Actual grass like Fescue and Bermuda. It’s gotta go. So says Nevada.
“Under a state law passed last year that is the first of its kind in the nation, patches of grass, found along streets and at housing developments and commercial sites in and around Las Vegas, must be removed in favor of more desert-friendly landscaping.”
Well if that don’t beat all. It is ILLack of water resources have driven Nevada to outlaw grass. When I first saw this I had to laugh and think it was some joke in some rich neighborhood somewhere with some radically forward-thinking HOA. But nope, actual law.
If this isn’t the actual admission that climate change is real and screwing us all I don’t know what is. GRASS CAN’T BE GROWN. You have to read this whole article because it’s insane to even wrap my Washington-state brain around. https://www.yahoo.com/news/where-lawns-outlawed-dug-carted-182522516.html
But now the funny part of this is, Las Vegas, which literally has no grass so are they making the whole state like Las Vegas? Just giant buildings, malls, lots of pavement and an energy drain on the state more massive than mining for cryptocurrency. And I can’t even fathom it as I sit in a state, staring out the window right now, where it is so wet all the time I feel like a salamander.
As I stare out the window, there is green everywhere and the rain is still falling. We literally have moss and grass everywhere. Why don’t they ship some of it down there? Can’t Washington just share some of this rain with Nevada? To think that it rains here all the time and that somewhere they have such little water that you CANNOT LEGALLY GROW GRASS is mind-blowing.
But maybe the folks that have made growing grass illegal should go to Allegiant Stadium, the home of the Las Vegas Raiders. They literally have a grass field that sits on a giant tray. IT’S ACTUAL GRASS. YES. The stadium floor has artificial turf on it so the UNLV football team can play on turf, but the Raiders wanted grass so they have a giant tray the grass field sits on and it gets ROLLED INTO AND OUT OF the Stadium. Sooooo … it must not be illegal in Las Vegas to grow grass, unless you’re rich enough for an exception.
Homeowners and communities in Nevada are being told they have to remove grass, sure, but on the bright side, they are being given CASH FOR GRASS incentives. I cannot stop laughing.
I may not one day if the climate collapse is what they say it is.
One landscaping company worker attends meetings where people get “EMOTIONAL ABOUT GRASS.” Hmm. Maybe they have support groups because it’s no use getting an emotional support dog because the dog will need it’s own counseling once it discovers there’s no soft, grassy place to do its business.
Wow, grass is illegal, but not at Allegiant Stadium. They make their own water to keep that grass alive? Or they use recycled water? That makes more sense. The Raiders tend to play like s&*t.