… For what it’s worth, at the final Mammoth Council meeting on Wednesday before next Tuesday’s election, candidates Truax and Bubser showed up, and incumbent John Wentworth was on the dais.
… The driver of the BMW who killed a pedestrian in Lone Pine has yet to be identified by California Highway Patrol, and no charges have yet been filed.
The deceased was identified by the Inyo County Coroner as Javier Hernandez, a 55-year old trucker from Stockton. He was apparently mowed down while trying to cross the highway to get something to eat.
… Just so you can be reassured that no one really knows what they’re doing when it comes to affordable housing, check out Ezra Klein’s October 23 piece in the New York Times entitled, “The Way Los Angeles is Trying to Solve Homelessness is ‘Absolutely Insane’”
In 2016, Klein notes that L.A. voters approved a $1.2 billion ballot measure to build 10,000 units to house the homeless.
At the time, L.A. was estimated to have 28,000 homeless residents.
Six years later, there are 42,000 homeless.
As for the money, it’s gone. They managed to build 3,357 units with it. A recent audit found units currently under construction have a median price tag of almost $600,000.
Whereas L.A. City Controller Ron Galperin observed that market-rate developers are building brand new units for $250,000.
… From the Oct. 24 issue of the New Yorker, a story about the history of lotteries and who plays them. “According to the consumer financial company Bankrate, [lotto] players making more than $50,000 per year spend, on average, 1% of their annual income on lottery tickets; those making less than $30,000 spend 13% … that means someone making $27,000 loses $3,500 to the lottery every year. To put that number in context, nearly 60% of Americans have less than a thousand dollars in savings.”
The other interesting stats were in relation to odds of winning.
What lotto commissioners have come to realize is that no one cares about the long odds of winning nearly as much as the size of the jackpot.
“To the average person, the difference between one in three million odds and one in three-hundred million odds didn’t matter, but the difference between a three-million dollar jackpot and three-hundred million dollar jackpot mattered enormously … so lottery commissioners began lifting prize caps and adding more numbers – say six out of fifty instead of five out of 30 – thus making the likelihood of winning even smaller. The New York Lotto launched in 1978 with one in 3.8 million odds; today, the odds are one in 45 million.”
Finally, I just devoured the new Paul Newman memoir which just came out.
It was based on a series of interviews he gave between 1986-1991 when he was in his sixties.
What’s so refreshing is that unlike celebrities from this era who are obsessed with preserving the unreality of their public image, Newman explains he wants to poke holes in the mythology surrounding him “because what exists on the record now has no bearing at all on the truth.”
One of my favorite anecdotes is when he went to visit August Busch for a donation to his Hole in the Wall camp charity for kids with cancer.
Busch pledges $800,000.
In his thank you note to Busch, Newman wrote, “In all the years since I was in the Navy starting at age eighteen, I have consumed approximately 200,000 cans of Budweiser beer. So if you really look closely at the figures, your contribution comes to just about $4 dollars a bottle rebate. And since you’ve had use of the money since 1944, it isn’t really all that much. Still, I’m grateful.”
Newman’s obituary in the Economist magazine noted he was the most generous individual, relative to his income, in the 20th century history of the United States – largely due to the creation of his Newman’s Own food lines.
Another finally. I learned John Cunningham died this week. He was one of the leaders of the Advocates for Mammoth and generally ran intellectual circles around whomever was in his orbit.
He did not suffer fools easily.
Cunningham grew up poor in the Bronx during the Depression. He made his own luck when he was turned down for admission by Syracuse University. He packed a suitcase and took a bus all the way upstate, talked his way into the Registrar’s office and talked his way into a place at the university.
I hesitate to talk about his professional career, mostly because if I get a fact wrong he’ll start turning over in his grave. He worked on defense projects – aircraft and weapons systems. I believe he helped design the B-2 Stealth Bomber.
We’ll see if that elicits a bolt from the sky.
In his retirement, he was generous and gave lavishly to a number of local non-profits.
NIH’s response to the recent employee picket: “The Northern Inyo Healthcare District values and respects all District employees and their right to hold and participate in an informational picket. The District entered into negotiations with the Registered Nurses and Patient Care and Technical Workers with its value for District employees at the forefront, and complied with its obligation to bargain in good faith, including but not limited to, providing responses to all proposals. The District’s proposals to the employees were guided by the principle of responsible governance and based on its current financial circumstances. The District will continue to engage in this process in good faith.”
For a photo of the protest, see page 12.