WELCOME TO THE ECHO CHAMBER
Reporters can relate to realtors in this respect – we both can spend an awful lot of time on leads/meetings that yield zilch.
But realtors – they can cut their losses and dump the client.
As opposed to a reporter covering the Inyo County Board of Supervisors. Part of the job – can’t just abandon the meetings. But perhaps I can shame them into having a tiny bit of respect for their constituents’ time.
Here’s a rundown of what happened at Tuesday’s three hour and seven minute snoozer.
Start-2:15 Chit chat. Nothing to report out of closed session. Supervisor Scott Marcellin leads the pledge of allegiance. Board Chair Jen Roeser then thanks people for being allegiant.
2:30-12:00 Employee service recognition awards from five different departments honoring 10 people. Roeser says a thank you after each department (two thank you’s for the Sheriff’s Dept.) and a thank you to wrap up. During this process there’s a lot of garble and giggling as I watch the internet feed – just one long uncomfortable 7th grade book report. Most of the garble is from Roeser, who hasn’t learned yet that she’s got to get closer to the damn microphone. And no one’s had the decency to advise her. Until now.
12:30-32:00 Twenty minutes on the Carson and Colorado Railway and the recent train rides/events at Laws Museum. The head of the non-profit, Dave Mull, gives a six-minute intro. Then there’s a five-minute video. After the video, there’s more presentation and Board comments. Supervisor Matt Kingsley praises Mull for doing a great job. Jen Roeser then gives another thank you before launching into some story which is supposed to illustrate her long family history in the area. This prompts Mull to share a story of his own. Then Supervisor Trina Orrill shares a story about some childhood memory intended to let you know she’s been here a long time. Kingsley and others finish it off with another round of thanks.
32:00-34:00 As she does every meeting, Laurilynn Hundley from Independence prays for the Board and Staff and the County in general. This week she quotes from Numbers 6:24-26.
34:00-37:30 During her regular staff report, HHS Director Marilyn Mann informs the Board it is Child Abuse Prevention Month, so whatever you do, don’t let your child watch an Inyo County Board of Supervisors meeting. It is also National Public Health Week, so she said each day another one of her staffers would be recognized. “Please check our instagram,” she said, because who wouldn’t bookmark HHS’s Instagram page?
37:50-38:20 We finally reach the consent agenda. 11-12 items related to actual County business, contracts, et. al. There’s a motion and a second and approval within 30 seconds.
Chair Roeser observes that it’s been such a nice morning and a wonderful way to escape the horrors and acrimony of the wider world.
39:00-49:00 Holy crap. An actual agenda item. Director of Inyo’s Department of Environmental Health Jerry Oser discusses groundwater well permitting and CEQA compliance. The staff report tells you all you really need to know – a recent California Supreme Court decision held that a well-permitting agency cannot treat all well permit decisions as ministerial. Meaning, you have to at least wave to CEQA in passing. Oser did imply there’s more latitude when it comes to well replacements. Kingsley asked a few questions. Marcellin and Supervisor Jeff Griffiths chimed in.
49:00-1:22:00 Spring Runoff Planning and Response Efforts. Starts with Nate Greenberg publicly recognizing Inyo County Deputy Director of Public Works Shannon Williams and Nate Dear from the Sheriff’s Department. This take 2.5 minutes. Then Williams speaks, referencing LADWP’s prediction that there will be 300 cfs greater runoff than 2017. “I expect that every road that crosses the Owens River to flood.”
Griffiths says there’ll be a million acre-feet coming down from the mountains, enough to fill five Crowley Reservoirs.
Griffiths and Kingsley asked about interagency support.
Kingsley asked how road integrity would be affected by the flooding.
Williams: Last time, the roads held up pretty well.
Kingsley brings up Movie Flat Rd. in the Alabama Hills.
Williams: We put it together and it falls apart. That’s Movie Flat Rd. for you.
Derr talks about recreation and safety.
Then Griffiths and Kingsley talk about constituents who live on Saline Valley Rd. They say they’re trapped, but they don’t wish to be rescued, only supplied. Kingsley laughs that it’s not the County’s job to helicopter in beer.
Griffiths asks about tips for homeowners.
Derr says consult the County website.
CAO Greenberg says the County can’t take care of private property, but it is our job to handle the larger infrastructure.
Trina Orrill and Scott Marcellin then both give appreciation and thank you’s. Marcellin gives thanks four times in a rambling 90-second comment.
Williams tells a story about how Inyo County residents are heroic and resilient.
Roeser then rambles for three minutes. Her apparent point is that she wants a balance in messaging between tourism and safety because we can’t let flooding get in the way of business.
Greenberg gives a two-minute reply about how there’s an upcoming meeting to talk about recreation vis-a-vis spring runoff.
Roeser interjects and drones on for another minute.
Greenberg then steps in to thank Derr and Williams (again) as well as Mikaela Torres. “I’m impressed by staff and their level of commitment,” he says. He thanks the Board, too.
1:23-1:27 HHS Director Marilyn Mann says the County has signed a contract with Coast to Coast Public Safety to provide EMS Service in the wake of Symons Ambulance closing shop. The City/Fire Protection District will rent Symons space to facilitate the deal. It is hoped that Coast to Coast has all its permits in place so there is no lapse in service, but the County is working on contingency plans just in case.
1:27-1:30 Greenberg thanks Mann and Anna Scott for all their hard work.
1:30-1:33 Mann replies that it’s a group effort and she wants to thank county administration.
1:33-1:36 Griffiths says it’s a team effort Marriyn, but really, you’ve done a great job.
Orrill: I’d like to reiterate that. All the work you’ve done. Great job. Thank you.
Marcellin: I’d like to say the same thing. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for working with the city. I appreciate your time and effort. I’m grateful. My constituents are grateful. Thank you.
1:36 90-second item approving a contract with Stephanie Tanksley to become Deputy HHS Director at $115,000/year.
After lunch, there’s a ONE HOUR AND TWENTY MINUTE presentation on the Eastern California Museum by Director Shawn Lum.
I’m told later this was supposed to be a 15-minute informational item.
The last seven minutes of the meeting are spent wishing Admin. Staffer Hayley Carter a happy birthday during the Board Reports.
Carter ended the meeting by telling Supervisors it was National Autism Awareness Month.
To review, a 3 hour, 7 minute meeting. Containing about 15 minutes of information.
Roeser, Orrill and Marcellin provided zero insight. Orrill hasn’t made one comment since she joined the Board outside of expressing gratitude and thanks.
It’s one thing to support one’s employees.
It’s another thing when you’re wasting people’s time because you have nothing to say.
Honeymoon period over for Orrill and Marcellin. Time to get it in gear.
And an MLT addendum…
I received a forwarded email today from MLT’s air service “partner” Advanced Airlines.
The email is titled, “A New Exciting Way to get from L.A. to Yosemite.”
It advertises flights from Hawthorne to Merced Regional Airport.
“At last, a weekend trip to Yosemite is now possible!” the email exclaims. “Do you dream of exploring the majestic wilderness of Yosemite National Park without the hassle of driving 6+ hours?”
It’s a two-hour drive from Merced to Yosemite Valley.
It’s less than a one-hour drive from Mammoth to the Tioga Pass gate.
I guess we’re getting our lunch eaten here because how can Mammoth possibly compete with scenic Merced?