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Archive - Opinion

August 5th, 2013

Hooked on jazz

August 5, 2013

Having been a patron and a volunteer for the Mammoth Lakes Jazz Jubilee for the better part of 20 years, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank Ken and Flossie Coulter for the dedication and supreme effort it took to keep this wonderful event going.

Years ago, I was hooked the very first time I listened to the astounding variety of jazz, blues, swing and zydeco bands in the many venues they organized.

So much so, and even though I live on the Western side of the Sierras, I became a volunteer at the Big Top for five of those Jazz Jubilees.

July 31st

Getting to Yes

July 31, 2013

The notion of “Getting To Yes” is not just a business mantra.

In Mammoth, it applies all over the place, most recently in a renewed effort by the town (see story, P. 10) in getting our recreation leaders on the same page.

Fat chance, we say.

Heaven knows we’ve tried this kind of thing before, most recently with the long forgotten Sports Council, which aimed to unite recreation groups toward the practical idea of figuring out which groups should get which piece of the economic pie.

Jazz with altitude: 25 and still alive

July 31, 2013

When it comes to putting on an event as large as the 25th Mammoth Lakes Jazz Jubilee, it really does take a town.

What most people see and hear is the finished result of over a whole year’s worth of work by a small army of very dedicated volunteers.

The tents that go up and come down very quickly, the variety of music played that fills the air all hours of the day and night during the event, the amount of increased foot traffic in several locations around town, and the many smiling faces were all part of this annual July event.

Chose civility

July 31, 2013

There is an arrogant dominance of incivility passing for dialogue today.

We are beginning to hear more and more disagreements of the heated variety, most of them are underlying political and/or ideological in nature that any reasonable person might deem as uncivil. 

We are witnessing angry talking heads on television, talk-radio designed to infuriate and demean, email blogging that promotes insulting exchanges, and even our local media is sometimes prone to childish sniping of its own. 

July 22nd

Volunteers

July 22, 2013

Mammoth has an undeniable volunteer spirit.

We have volunteers for the Half-Marathon; we have do-gooders for the Fourth of July Parade. The Jazz Jubilee draws so many volunteers that sometimes we wonder if they don’t outnumber the paying customers.

There were so many volunteers for the Town Cleanup Day in the spring that there wasn’t a single McDonald’s bag, Carl’s Jr. cup, or Vons plastic bag that was safe; this coming weekend, volunteers will be at Minaret Vista, helping rebuild a trail that badly needs it.

July 2nd

Priorities

July 2, 2013

The Mammoth Town Council, in a stroke of uncharacteristic wisdom, declared earlier this week a pair of “strategic planning” meetings, designed to put the disparate, argumentative, and disgruntled citizenry on the same page with the town government.

It’s about time.

For years around here, the tail has wagged the dog; that is, crises, contingencies, and exigencies have been the basis of longstanding town policies.

June 26th

It’s all about certainty

June 26, 2013

Councilmember Michael Raimondo has repeatedly expressed his opinion that the town of Mammoth Lakes needs to be ready for developers when the economy turns around.

However, his comments on the single-family home debate undermine his own aspiration.

Real estate investors look at a number of complex issues like supply and demand, construction and borrowing costs, projected revenue, etc., before committing to a project.

Because of us

June 26, 2013

We agree with Supervisor Tim Alpers and Mammoth Mountain Ski Area CEO Rusty Gregory that the time has come to begin thinking of Mammoth Lakes, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, and the June Lake area as a unified whole.

Alpers envisions it as an “all-inclusive, premier, year-around recreation corridor” which is marketed and branded as an integrated whole.

It’s kind of a drumbeat around most successful resorts these days, this idea of regionalization.

June 10th

The Litigious State

June 10, 2013

It saddened us to see the agenda item during Wednesday’s Mammoth Lakes Town Council meeting about banning skateboarding from all town streets.

The thought of banning anything recreational doesn’t make sense to us, really, regardless of where you live.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a world that values common sense anymore, and on top of that, we live in California.

Instead of the Golden State, we should really be called the Litigious State.

June 5th

Suggestions for next year’s philanthropy guide

June 5, 2013

The recent Eastern Sierra Philanthropy Guide is an impressive, high quality publication. 

It is good to see many nonprofit, volunteer organizations serving our area.  I couldn’t help being surprised, however, by the omission of many other great groups that do wonderful work and also need support. 

Just two of the ones I am personally familiar with are Laws Museum and The Salvation Army. 

Dear Roxanne, Robbie, and Alvin Tani,

June 5, 2013

The 2013 Senior Class of Mammoth High School wishes to express our gratitude for the involvement of Shogun Restaurant, and company, in our Spring Senior Dinner.

With Roxanne and Robbie Tani and Alvin Tani’s support our class has been able to augment our savings, which will be used for our annual spring trip and also for our commencement ceremony.

Without the gracious assistance from staff members, and impeccable organization, our class would be far behind in attempting to fund our trip to the Los Angeles area.

Customers versus residents

June 5, 2013

At town meetings, we are beginning to hear more and more references to the term “customers” and less and less of the term “residents.” 

Like other small, rural communities in California, Mammoth Lakes faces issues pertaining to a tourist-based economy that involves striking a yin-yang balance between competing economic forces and cultural opportunities that include quality of life for its residents.

No more lawns

June 5, 2013

Every spring, we continually scratch our heads when we see residents tend to their lawns after the snow melts away.

Can someone remind us why lawns exist?

We’d be lying if we said we don’t give the stink eye to those we see standing with a hose in hand, watering that pathetic patch of grass.

You can’t eat the stuff. Taking fertile soil and putting grass over it is giving the earth a hysterectomy.

May 29th

It’s time to allow single-family home rentals

May 29, 2013

I attended the council meeting in December 2012 and voiced my support of providing single-family homeowners with a pathway to TOT compliance.  The council voted at that time to commission a study of the issue. 

We are still waiting for a decision on the issue, but I understand there may be some new movement with the new support of Mammoth Mountain CEO Rusty Gregory and Snowcreek. 

Now is the time for the town council to finally show some leadership and move forward on this issue.

Dear Town of Mammoth Lakes council members

May 29, 2013

I spoke at the council meeting last week against the TBID. I am certainly no public speaker, as was evident. And I am certainly no lawyer, as was also evident.

However, my dad practiced law for several counties and cities in the Bay Area and was the town attorney for multiple towns for many decades.  

He was well known in municipal law circles statewide, and was thus retained many times by Mono and other rural counties for his unique expertise—in taxation, among other things.

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