EVERY SPARE CENT?
Let me sum up my feelings on the Mammoth Council race as we enter the homestretch.
I don’t have a clue.
Guthrie is too angry.
Hoff, in her previous term, proved unable to build consensus or sway people to her position. As Kathy Cage has said regarding the airport lawsuit debacle, it doesn’t matter if you’re on the right side of history as a councilperson if two others weren’t on the right side with you at the time.
I look at the lists of names on the Wentworth and Truax ads this week and they certainly have the “establishment” lineup. Though I need to chide Wentworth for including at least six names of people who don’t live here, including his sister, Danna Stroud, Kim Stravers, Kevin Green, Grady Dutton, Jeff Griffiths … as well as a host of politicians past and present he has served/worked with. I’d prefer names of people who exist outside the feedback loop.
Also … try not to include names of people who work for you, either directly or indirectly.
Meanwhile Truax’s list features three of her immediate bosses who represent the Executive Committee of the Mammoth Lakes Foundation. And a slew of folks from the feedback loop.
I do give Truax some props for at least serving in government as a member/chair of the Town’s Parks and Recreation Commission for a decade before running for council. It seems more of a progression for her than a whim.
Everyone else, either when they made their first run or running now, have been regular guests at a Holiday Inn before waking up and suddenly deciding they’d make an excellent representative.
What is unknown is whether voters will punish or reward Wentworth and Truax for the White Elephant (MUF) being erected at Mammoth Creek Park.
And what do voters think of Wentworth and Hoff’s inability/unwillingness to rein in the marketing budget?
Rice and Bubser have the advantage of being unknown commodities.
Rice is the darling of the old biddy citizen brigade who imagine they’ll be able to tell her what to do.
Rice also thinks if you say the word “housing” enough times that should be sufficient qualification for election.
But look at Kathy Cage’s letter of support on page four. “Every spare cent combined with more effective policies are needed for housing.”
Every spare cent? Hell no. That’s precisely the philosophy that led to a bloated marketing budget – and instead of right-sizing it, now we’ve tasked our marketers to “manage” our resort in order to justify their salaries – even though resort management is not what they know.
You know how best to NOT be a Bleephole as a politician? Learn how to say no.
As in, when is someone on Council/town staff gonna say, “Geez, you know, maybe spending $650,000 apiece to develop four housing units on Joaquin St. is a dumb idea.”
Finally, there’s Bubser. She’s a well-meaning transplant who’s lived in town for a few minutes. She ran for Congress a few years ago against Jay Obernolte so we know she can hustle. But we have no idea what she really thinks.
Here’s the thing. Not one of these people has said maybe the most important thing I can do when I’m elected is to proceed with caution in an uncertain macroeconomic environment. Maybe we should conserve money and pay down debt.
I’m reminded of two things.
I’m reminded of Neil McCarroll, who served on Council from 2006-2010. Neil’s term on Council was meant to be a victory lap. Times were flush. Real estate was going crazy. Starwood had bought Mammoth.
Neil freely admitted he wanted to serve on Council so he could spend money and do big things.
And then real estate collapsed. And we had the Great Recession. And the Town lost its airport lawsuit and found itself staring at bankruptcy. People had to be laid off. It was horrible. Not fun. Not fun at all, Neil would say later. If I’d known [what lay in store], he said, I wouldn’t have run.
Second thing I’m reminded of, and I apologize for repeating the story, but I’m old.
It’s June, 2007 and Finance Director Brad Koehn makes a budget presentation where he includes “slow growth” and “normal/anticipated growth” projections.
His slow growth forecast was 29% over five years.
His “normal” growth forecast was 33% over five years.
In essence, it’s virtually impossible to envision what a shitshow might look like until you’re stranded in the middle of it.
So vote for the people whom you think are best equipped to function with stony rationality in the face of chaos.
Vote for those who are not intoxicated by the sound of their own voice and not married to/imprisoned by their own ideals.
Vote for those who can say no to their friends.
Speaking of which … I’m gonna say no to two friends right here.
1. Cleland, I don’t think this is your time. And I say this as someone who won money betting you would be the top vote-getter when you ran in 2016. A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall real soon. This will require heightened focus and clarity. And a little meanness. It doesn’t suit you.
2. There are three people running for two spots on the Mono County Board of Education. Incumbent Sue Bouska is a fellow member of the Mammoth Lakes Lions Club and I think she is a wonderful person and still sharp. But her health is not what it was and she only lives locally part-time. The two votes should go to candidates Dave Titus and Drea Perry, who are thoughtful, energetic, full-time residents with children in the schools.
And from Crocetti’s desk … and speaking to a Mammoth Town Council/prospective Council that desperately needs to think a little harder about these issues
The people of Bar Harbor, Maine have created a citizens’ petition to limit the number of tourists entering their small town. If voters pass the initiative on November 8, then Bar Harbor will limit the number of disembarking cruise passengers to 1,000 per day. Currently, roughly 4,000 passengers anchor there daily, “sending thousands of people into the small downtown’s streets or vehicles bound for nearby Acadia National Park,” according to a Wall Street Journal article from October 17.
The town being that clogged is less than ideal for both visitors and locals alike.
“We are overrun. We think tourism is a good thing, we like to share it. But too much of a good thing turns into a bad thing,” said Charles Sidman, a 72-year-old investor behind the citizen’s petition, to The Wall Street Journal. The Bar Harbor community has made it clear: they want tourism, they just want it to be sustainable tourism.
Despite the initiative being supported by a majority of residents, Bar Harbor’s local chamber of commerce says that the measures it implies are too drastic. Some businesses in the area claim to not be overwhelmed by the mass amounts of visitors, including a local bakery owner who said her business “lives and dies by the cruise-ship schedule.”
Portland, Maine, the state’s largest city and another popular tourist attraction, is considering a similar ballot initiative.