I was out of town for a few days last week on Margaux’s 4th grade field trip to the Missions in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara. There were just as many parent chaperones as students on the trip – modern parenting at its finest. I think the only school functions my Dad ever attended were my graduations, and back in the day, there were one or two of those (depending upon if you went to college).
Now you have three or four by the end of high school.
But I loved getting to know the other parents, and loved seeing Round Valley Elementary 4th grade teacher Randee Arcularius in action. No offense to other area schools, but Round Valley is the best there is. Hands down.
While I was in San Luis Obispo, I walked to a local bookstore in a free moment and saw, by a local marquee, that the Mountain Goats were playing that night. Can’t escape the damn goats. Can’t make this up.
At the bookstore, I impulsively picked up a copy of Madeleine Albright’s “Fascism: A Warning,” which she published in 2018.
Albright died in March of this year. I confess that I didn’t know much about Albright prior to getting the book, other than that she served as Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State from 1997-2001.
I find myself dog-earing a lot of pages. The sign of a good book. As they say, those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it, and Albright’s recounting of the rise of Fascism in Italy and Germany in the 1920s and 1930s is an excellent refresher. I’ll review it in full next week.
As Albright writes, Mussolini “exhorted Italians to abandon romantic conceptions about human equality and embrace what he referred to as ‘the century of authority, a century tending to the right, a Fascist century. Never before,’ he said, ‘have the peoples thirsted for authority, direction, order as they do now. If each age has its doctrine, then the doctrine of our age is Fascism.’”
So the obvious question is whether or not history has come full circle. Are we again staring at a Fascist century? Hard to tell. Around here there seems to be a general apathy interrupted by occasional pockets of activism. Around here, seems there’s no need for Fascism when inertia will do.
One of the things I forgot to mention last week … at the TBID renewal meeting, it was pointed out that one of the provisions of the TBID was that Mammoth Lakes Tourism (MLT) has the freedom to set the TBID rates however it wishes. And that coming before local business owners to gather input on a suggested rate hike is a matter of being polite, not a matter of obligation.
As for my public records request, asking MLT Executive Director John Urdi to provide information regarding the total amount of ground transportation subsidy in 2021-2022, Urdi did not deign to reply. Board member John Morris was kind enough to respond. He said “last year’s numbers haven’t come in yet.” Pretty funny, as I believe the numbers could be obtained with a single keystroke.
You want to be opaque, fine. But you shouldn’t get a 10-year renewal as reward.
Another observation from last week: At one point, Board Chairman Jeremy Goico wished to discuss the spring marketing allocation. He thought shoulder season spending should be enhanced. But to even broach the topic, he had to bend over backwards to tell Urdi and staff what phenomenal people they are and what a great job they’re doing. He had to tread so lightly, for fear of bruising any egos. It shouldn’t be such a lift to be able to speak frankly.
I did speak to Board Member John Mendel to get his take on why he supports the TBID increase. His rationale is that while Mammoth traditiionally ranks in the top five when it comes to ski terrain and lift capacity, et. al., Mammoth usually ranks 30th or lower when it comes to accessibility. That’s why the new focus/priority is on expanding commercial air service, and that Denver has provided a connectivity model.
As for ground transportation, Mendel says we have to ensure the best possible experience for our customers and that we couldn’t leave that to chance by relying on existing local providers to fill the void – thus, partnering with a firm and offering a minimum revenue guarantee
Short-term, he says, there are things we need to get done which require a heavier lift and more financial resources.
Now fulfill the record request.