Unlike the last go-around, Mammoth will have an actual election this year.
Eight candidates, none of them incumbents, will campaign for three open seats on the five-member Town Council, representing a wide array of experience and vocational skills.
Three of them will emerge winners in the June 3 municipal elections, and none of them are named Rick Wood, John Eastman or Matthew Lehman—all incumbents on the current council.
Instead, voters will elect the new majority from among the following wannabes:
• John Wentworth, CEO of the Mammoth Lakes Trails and Public Access Foundation and a 10-year, behind-the-scenes activist.
• Colin Fernie, a relative newcomer to Mammoth who is co-owner (with Jeremy Goico) of Black Tie Ski Rentals and current member of the town’s Planning and Economic Development Commission.
• Shields Richardson, an entrepreneur businessman and behind-the-scenes political shaker who has his hands in several business endeavors, including the Side Door Café, a popular Village restaurant specializing in its wine selection.
• Deb Pierrel, a longtime Mammoth businesswoman and civic activist who served on the Town of Mammoth Airport Commission before that commission was denuded by the Town Council.
• Ken Murray, general manager of the Chart House restaurant.
• Karen Siebert, an employee of the Mammoth Water District who worked in the town offices in the finance department in the Marianna Marysheva-Martinez Administration.
• Elena Blomgren, who worked in the town offices as a permit administrator and who was active in Measure R and Measure U administrative duties.
• Cleland Hoff, a longtime Mammoth resident and owner of Film Mammoth.
Whoever wins in June, he or she will reap the reward of a 145 percent increase in council salary, to $735 a month, plus benefits—up from the standard $300 a month the current and previous councils made.
The Town Council acting partly because a bump in salary might attract more candidates, approved the salary hike in its meeting on March 5.
In Mono County, two races in particular ought to provide plenty of debate.
In the race for Mono County sheriff, current Sheriff Ralph Obenberger, an appointment after the retirement of Rick Scholl, will run his first campaign against former Mono County Deputy Ingrid Braun, who currently is serving on the staff of the Mammoth Lakes Police Department.
In the District 5 Board of Supervisors’ race, longtime environmental activist Stacy Corless, currently the director of the Mammoth Mountain Community Foundation, will run against former Mammoth council member Kirk Stapp and longtime resident Greg Eckert.
The incumbent, Byng Hunt, decided not to run for re-election, but that’s not the case in District 1.
There, Mammoth resident Larry Johnston, currently the chair of the Board, will have a rematch with Bill Sauser, also a Mammoth resident who currently serves as chairman of the town’s Recreation Commission and is a strident advocate of motorized winter sports.
While perhaps not as high profile as the other races, there is a race for the Mono County Assessor, with Bob Musil, an appointee, will face Barry Beck.
Both District Attorney Tim Kendall and Mono County Schools Superintendent Stacey Adler are running unopposed.