Bishop City Councilmembers weren’t terribly enthusiastic when asked their opinion about renaming Bishop Airport the Bishop-Dave McCoy Airport.
There was no support for the proposal, which was agendized for Council’s regular meeting on Monday.
Two members (Muchovej and Garcia) did support renaming it the Bishop-Payahuunadu Airport.
In his introduction, Randy Short, the principal driver of the idea, proclaimed, “Dave McCoy did more for the people of Inyo County than any other individual.”
Randy Gillespie added, “Dave created opportunities … and there’s not a person in this room who didn’t benefit as a result.”
Longtime Fish and Game Warden Warren Allsup said McCoy was instrumental in turning the area’s six-month economy into a year-round one.
Robin Stater talked about Dave being a one-in-a-million person.
All true. And Council was sympathetic. But unmoved.
Councilman Stephen Muchovej’s remarks were particularly awkward.
It took a member of the audience, Joyce White, to put things in perspective.
White, a member of the Bishop Paiute Tribal Council, said “The Valley speaks to me and my people.” That’s why she would support Bishop-Payahuunadu. “No disrespect to Dave McCoy, he gave me my first job,” she explained. But she noted that even Mammoth chose to honor place over individual. It’s not the Mammoth-McCoy Airport after all, but Mammoth-Yosemite.
White thought naming the City Park for McCoy would be appropriate.
Councilman Jim Ellis said he could go either way on a name. But the most important thing to come out of this community discussion is a need for somesort of historical acknowledgement.
“We need to honor him,” said Mayor Karen Schwartz, “but does it have to be an airport?”
Muchovej opened his remarks by saying, “I’ve lived here 15 years and I had no idea Dave McCoy did any of this … if I flew into Bishop-Dave McCoy, I still wouldn’t know anything about him.”
Later, Muchovej made a point of disagreeing that Dave McCoy had anything to do with bringing him to Bishop, saying the Owens Valley Radio Observatory predated the development of Mammoth Mountain.
It was as though he was so proud of his ignorance that he wished to double down.
It was also awkward when Muchovej, Schwartz and Karen Kong expressed concern about how much a renaming might cost, and how it might affect the Bishop Chamber of Commerce “branding” strategy.
*Like they’d have to, heaven forbid, reprint a few brochures or edit a few web pages …
Randy Short assured Council that he would cover whatever costs might need to be covered to make it happen.
City Manager Deston Dishion advised that the Council is merely an advisory body and that the Inyo Supervisors would have final say.
Inyo Supervisors were set to resume discussion of the item at their September 20 meeting but have since postponed it, likely because there is tepid support.
One thing Inyo Supervisors will tackle on Tuesday is the completion of the Xanterra tax appeal hearing.
Xanterra and Inyo County Assessor Dave Stottlemyre had stipulated to a $9 million decrease in assessed value for 2018-2019 and subsequent years.
The decrease was due to Xanterra’s assertion that its Furnace Creek Inn and Ranch remodel/new construction had been initially assessed as entirely new construction.
The decrease in assessed value would mean that certain entities, particularly school districts, may have to refund tax revenue dollars already received.
Supervisor Jeff Griffiths says Death Valley Unified School District may have to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars as a result.
Death Valley Schools Superintendent Jim Copeland couldn’t help but direct some of his grumbling towards Assessor Stottlemyre.
He said that in an age of increasing property values, his district, irrespective of the Xanterra tax appeal, had taken a $130,000 revenue hit this past fiscal year. And that he never received a return call from Stottlemyre when he called to inquire why.
The hearing is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m.