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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, April 8, 2011

April 8, 2011

TIME FOR MAMMOTH TO PAY UP
This lawsuit has been going on now for around 14 years. I understand that the city does not want to pay and should do what it can to not pay. I would bet that if Mr. Terry Ballas owed the city of Mammoth $30 Mil they sure would not let it go this long. This is a good example of how big government can mess with someone.

The court system has more than once told the city to pay up, but still after 14 years they have not paid the man what is due him. If the city can hold out for more years, Mr. Ballas will be broke and may not be around to get what is due him.
Ted Pearson
Long Beach

ON THE OTHER HAND...
Greed is what comes to mind when I read about this unfair ruling for my beloved Mammoth Lakes. I can understand the excitement of the growth of our area back in 1997. I can understand the FAA concerns but what monetary value is this Terry Ballas out besides a missed opportunity which may have failed in the Real Estate market of 2006 to now.

What a miscarriage of justice in our courts. This is morally wrong on his part. If he is out money, then it should be repaid but a breach of contract or a missed opportunity is nothing but greed on his part. We have had our second home in Mammoth on Forest Trail since 1986 and our large family of six children and 15 grandchildren enjoy it all the time. We have been coming to Mammoth since 1973 and it makes me sick to see someone like this fellow take advantage of such a wonderful place.
Millicent Kennedy
Whittier

LEE VINING COMMUNITY COMES TOGETHER
After a long and frustrating six-year battle, the Lee Vining Lady Tigers are getting dirt on their field! A huge thank you to Roger Yost, Doug Northington, Wayne Beaver, Eric Duro, Bob McCullough, Romero Flores, Enrique Perez, David Amezcua and many more students, family members and friends who picked up shovels and helped to remove feet of snow and place 140 tons of dirt on the field.

And a very special thank you to US Pumice who was instrumental in getting this huge project done. They donated the use of their loaders along with their loader operators and removed six inches of clay and gravel off the field and later laid on the new beautiful red pumice that will finally provide a safe playing surface for our kids.

The girls were so thrilled at the sight of their new dirt that they ran out and rolled in the dirt making sure to rub it on their faces and cover themselves in red. For a coach it was an amazing sight for sore eyes.
Let’s Play Softball!
Rena McCullough, Coach
Lee Vining Lady Tigers

REGARDING PROPOSAL TO INCREASE BLACK BEAR HUNTING
This letter was sent to DFG to express the writers’ adamant opposition to the proposed radical changes to the DFG bear hunting regulations in the State of California.

We assume you have received numerous letters from other organizations and individuals expressing the same, and so we do not want to repeat what you are hearing from others.

The Department of Fish and Game needs to realize that this is a different time, with a generation of California citizens who do not want our wildlife killed. We are raising a generation or two under us that are concerned with many global issues, like warming, contamination of oceans, overpopulation, disease, pollution and on and on.

These issues are at the forefront of our minds, and protection of our wildlife is as important to us as all of the other issues. Keep in mind that many countries in Europe do have no bears remaining in the wild. This is because of over-hunting without foresight. Now they wish they had them back.

We do not want the same in the State of California. Now is the time for the DFG to consider proposing changes to the DFG code providing more protection of our wildlife, not more changes to provide hunters easier ways to kill. We understand that man has interfered with the balance of nature and there needs to be a counter-balance to keep nature within the scope of reality, which will have to be conducted by man. However, we feel there is no scientific documentation that can support the current proposed changes to the bear hunting regulations. The proposals will not help to reduce bear/human conflicts. There simply are not enough reported incidents that are attributed to bears causing problems because they just happen to be in the area. The incidents are all a result of human failure and ignorance.

Increased, inhumane hunting and outrageous hunting practices provided for more recreational opportunities to hunters is not the answer. Please, let’s work together to develop better, more widely distributed educational materials for the public so that we can live in harmony with our wildlife. Don’t use the excuse that hunting is needed to lessen the human/bear conflicts. It just is not justified.
Joe Parrino,
Marianne O’Connor
Mammoth Lakes

CONTRACTOR'S LAMENT, OR "TEN REASONS I CAN'T PAY YOU"
In this day and age you hear every excuse not to pay your bill. Here are the top 10:
1. I fell off the wagon.
2. I had to buy Christmas presents.
3. I am too busy doing snow removal.
4. I don’t know what I owe you.
5. I have to pay my bills first.
6. My wife left me.
7. I had to go on vacation.
8. I never got an invoice.
9. No one’s paying me.
10. I thought you worked for free?
H. Braden
Mammoth Lakes

CELL TOWER POINTS TO CONSIDER
Some things to consider regarding the proposed cell towers in Crowley Lake:
• The assumption that FCC standards for radio-frequency radiation (non-thermal) will protect public health is not shared by all, due to the lack of clear conclusions.
• Haven’t we seen in the past that substances have been deemed safe only to later be deemed toxic, e.g., smoking, exposure to asbestos, lead-based paint, DDT... the list goes on. Indications that radio-frequency radiation will fall into the same category are mounting.
• If health issues were of no concern, why would the International Firefighters Association and the Los Angeles Unified School District oppose the future placement of cellular telecommunications towers on or immediately adjacent to their property until appropriate regulatory standards are adopted?
• Many international governments have lowered the level of acceptable radiation levels to be emitted from cell phones and towers to hundreds of times lower than the U.S.
• Many cities around the country are adopting moratorium to revise their tower ordinances tightening their restrictions on placements in residential areas and near schools and parks which have been upheld in court.
• Neighborhoods across the country are fighting the placement of towers in their neighborhoods (and winning). This is not a unique situation.
• Once local jurisdictions allow the placement of one tower, due to federal law, they are unable to discriminate against others, i.e., antenna farm in our neighborhood.
• Fake antenna tower trees are widely ridiculed as ugly and out-of-place in any natural environment, and are not a sufficient mitigation for the visual blight they will create. They do nothing to mitigate the substantial loss of views that will affect many property owners, because whether fake trees or towers, they block views and are aesthetically unpleasing.
• Cell tower radiation exposure is constant and something that nearby residents cannot control.
• Clearly someone will benefit financially in the form of a recurring revenue check – and others will lose either in property values, views, peace of mind, and/or possible health consequences.
• Cell coverage for emergencies or savings from consolidating phone services can come from any tower; it doesn’t have to come only from this proposal.
• I urge the Planning Commission to vote in favor of safety, health and welfare of all local residents and deny Use Permit 10/008.
Pam Bold
Crowley Lake

BODIE HILLS PINYON CREEP: IS IT WORTH SPENDING BIG BUCKS?
Last week, my Letter to the Editor about BLM’s plans to manipulate 16,000 acres in the Bodie Hills was focused on letting people know about the project and how to send in comments. Since then, I have read the study results from the experimental plots done in 2007, visited the “treatment” sites, and given it all more thought. Here are the concerns I will mention in my comments to BLM.

I would be happy to take anyone interested on a tour of the test plots, this Sunday, April 10 at 1 p.m. Meet at U.S. 395 and Hwy 167, seven miles north of Lee Vining. More info, call me at (760) 647-6431.
Wear boots and long pants and bring your 4WD vehicle.

This project needs an environ-mental impact statement: The scope is huge. Wilderness Study Areas are of special concern and perhaps should not be massively manipulated. The research is not conclusive on benefits gained. More study time is needed in the experimental plots. Three years is not enough data.

Cost: According to the reports provided by BLM, the cost of “mastication” (chewing up existing vegetation with a huge machine) is $738 per acre. Cut, pile and burn (crew with chainsaws cuts down trees, piles them up and later burns the piles) is $439 per acre. Using a conservative average of $500 per acre, this project of 16,000 acres over 10 years will burn through $8 million. Is cutting down healthy trees because they are increasing their range due to fire suppression and warming temperatures, among other things, really the best use of this public money?

Benefit: BLM has two reports available on the experimental plots. One, conducted by Point Reyes Conservation Science, looks at birds in the plots. After a three-year study two dry years and one wet) the results are inconclusive. There were more nesting birds and better nesting success in the untouched control plots than in the treated areas, according to BLM’s own report.

The other report is about vegetative response to the treatments. Again, things are inconclusive. The best results overall are in the areas where the pinyon forest was not dense to begin with. Here is the link to the report: http://www.firescience.gov/JFSP_Search_Results_Detail.cfm?jdbid=%23%27J%...

Fire safety: BLM has told us that local communities will be safer from fire by “treating” thousands of acres. The fact remains, however, that most of the area proposed to be manipulated is far from communities. I asked a BLM official in 2007, “Why don’t you spend this money to reduce fuel load near communities where it is really needed, not in a place five miles from the nearest houses?” His answer (paraphrased): If we start thinning near towns, everyone wants us to do their place, and if we don’t, they might sue us if a fire comes. It’s easier to do this stuff where there aren’t a lot of people.

How about putting some of those millions into a firebreak around the town of Bodie, or buying a new fire truck for Bodie, or upgrading the fire hydrant system at Bodie?

A more reasonable approach? After visiting the test plots today, it seems that a more reasonable approach would be to focus on areas at the edge of the pinyon forest, where the trees are scattered. It would be possible to cut down the small pioneering trees on the edge of the sagebrush scrub, much like trees are thinned in Yosemite to maintain desired meadows. To cut down healthy trees on thousands of acres to return them to sagebrush, when oceans of sagebrush surround Mono Lake, seems to be a hopeless task and a waste of money. Obviously, the natural prevailing conditions are favoring the pinyons. As I said before, the trees are a carbon sink and we are lucky our pinyons aren’t dying en masse like those in Arizona.

Sage grouse habitat can be targeted and perhaps some pinyon removal and prescribed burns done in the most important areas.
Please send in your comments to BLM as soon as possible. They need to hear from us, the citizens of the Eastern Sierra. Send comments to cabipubcom@ca.blm.gov. For a “Notice of Proposed Action” document with all the details, email Heather at heswartz@fs.fed.us.
Janet Carle
Mono City

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