When Skip Harvey joined the Town council eight years ago, Mammoth Lakes was in good shape, the snow came in bucket loads and the future was as bright as the sun.
But on Wednesday evening, when Harvey stepped down, everything was upside down, including the $40 million MLLA judgment against the town at the same time that Mammoth endured its worst snow year in decades.
Even so, the most outspoken member of the council received a warm goodbye from the council and members of the audience, who stood and applauded him in a genuine show of appreciation.
Harvey, owner of the Base Camp Café and who also is battling medical issues as a consequence of throat cancer, responded in kind.
“I have to say I came back up from Santa Monica on Monday. I’m just in awe of the high mountains and the deserts.
“The farther north I come, the better it gets. I can’t help staring at them.
“It is beautiful, and then as I turn up 203 to come up to town, (I slipped in between rainstorms), I could see the beauty of the crest, I smell the pine. It’s gorgeous, it’s enchanting and it’s beautiful.
“No one, no matter what, can take that it away from us. I love this town. It’s a wonderful place.”
In his last years on the council, Harvey’s voice was the most vocal, the most obstreperous and clamorous, as the town turned downward.
As if on cue, he took on the Forest Service in his last meeting, saying the town should be more involved in forcing the feds to open the restrooms, open the trails and take down the parking blockades in the campgrounds.
That, in turn, sparked a council discussion on the relationship between the town and the Forest Service.
With a chance to run again this year, he first took out nomination papers and then withdrew them.
Harvey himself acknowledged his outsider stance.
“We don’t always agree on everything,” he said, “so we disagree and move on.”
He paused slightly and continued.
“It has been a pleasure to serve. It’s been good to know that my efforts and work has been appreciated, so thank you all, very, very much.”