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Letters to the Editor, Jan. 13-19

January 13, 2012

The Mammoth Lakes Chamber of Commerce and its members would like to send an especially huge “Thank you” to the snow  makers who have dedicated long, tedious hours to make skiing an d snowboarding holidays a possibility: Glen Alexander, Jake Allard, Chris Anderson, Ken Baker, Mike Barrett, Brian Bethke, Jessica Clark, Colton Clubb, Greg Cohen, Ryan Copenhagen, Darrick Duarte, Tyler Esponda, Billy Ganley, Jonny Glad, Greg Grimmaldi, Curtis Heinz, Miles Howard, Jason Hund, Mike King, Frank Krienen, Matt LaDuke, John Lemieux, Jesse Lindestrom, Reed Lowry, Rich McAdams, Frankie Monte, Olan Moore, Zeke Morrow, Noah Nicholes, Chris Noesser, Ryan Rickford, Bernie Rosow, Dillon Shepard, Nick Stowers, Brennan Turner, Tony Villavicencio, Drew Wallace, Ron Walton, Kris Welsch, and Nolan Willard.

 
These folks are the original snow makers who started back on Oct. 22. 
 
Some of these snow makers have been making snow for over 10 winters. 
 
Some have transferred from other departments when no snow came. 
 
There are an additional 20+ who have helped make this winter possible by shoveling the guns out when they were covered with snow.
Depending on the temperature and humidity, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area is able to operate up to 100 guns a night. 
 
They have a total 240 guns. What does this mean to you? At 18 degrees (wet) they are able to blow 3,000 gallons a minute. 
 
That is equal to 1-square-acre-foot of snow per hour. 
 
This  is providing us with over 400 acres of skiable terrain! 
 
Way To Go Mammoth! 
 
Mammoth Lakes Chamber of Commerce
 
 
In MLTPA’s peculiar reply last week to my letter to the editor from Dec. 23, their Community Engagement Director declared my comments were factually inaccurate. 
 
I, and others, would disagree.
 
MLTPA is in fact a well-compensated, taxpayer-funded consultant to the Town of Mammoth Lakes that advocates for trails and public access, fosters stewardship, and convenes and facilitates community participation. 
 
To date, Measure R and the General Fund have bestowed $1.1 million upon MLTPA for primarily administrative services and organizational support. 
 
How else they fund their organizational existence is a question a fair number of folks are interested in knowing.
 
MLTPA pointed out that the Town submitted the Fall 2011 Measure R application requesting $300,000/year for the next five years ($1.5 million), not MLTPA. 
 
No argument there. 
 
However, MLTPA did write the 352-page application, providing a detailed list of deliverables, most of which involve organizational support. 
 
In fact, the Town staff thanked MLTPA for preparing the application at a recent Recreation Commission meeting.
 
In all four prior application cycles for Measure R (spring and fall of 2009 and 2010) MLTPA submitted applications in their own name, and received substantial funding. Page 6 of the Fall 2011 Measure R application states: “The Town anticipates accomplishing the project’s scope either fully or partially through amendments to existing contractual services agreements” with MLTPA. 
 
To imply that this application was written with no expectation of benefiting from any awarded amount is dubious, to say the least.
 
MLTPA also stated in its published response that, “If awarded, Measure R funds will be used to construct recommended projects from the Town’s recently adopted Trail System Master Plan.” 
 
That depends, I suppose, on your definition of construction. 
 
Interestingly, the line items for any actual construction expenses (page 78 of the 352 page .PDF file) were specifically identified as not part of the $300,000 annual commitment. 
 
Several of us attended Tuesday evening’s Recreation Commission meeting to ask for clarification. 
 
The chairperson and one fellow commissioner consider planning, programming, information/website development, and maintenance expenses to be indistinguishable from construction costs. 
 
The two other commissioners present expressed the importance of dedicating some significant portion of any awarded amount to actual construction. 
 
What is requested to be funded from the $300,000 in the submitted fall 2011 R application? 
 
Try planning, design, stewardship, governance, interagency coordination, fundraising, maintenance, marketing & promotion, etc., plus 10 percent contingency and 10 percent administration: total of $293,900.  
 
In anticipation of another reply from MLTPA, it is important to note that the Measure R application as originally submitted encountered such resistance from a number of concerned locals that changes to the process became clearly necessary. 
 
Several recreation commissioners understand our point and support our concern about the lack of tangible results to date. 
 
Without this pressure, the application would have likely breezed to a large award, encumbering Measure R funds for years to come, with no assurance that tangible products (trails, park space, event venues, etc) would result.
 
It will be interesting to learn how the two absent recreation commissioners feel regarding this $1.5 million “Town” Measure R application at the upcoming Recreation Commission meeting next Thursday, Jan. 19, in suite Z at 4 p.m.
 
Sandy Hogan indicated in her last letter to the editor that she senses a positive change in attitude regarding the relationship between MLTPA, Measure R and the Town. 
 
I share her optimism, providing the public receives accurate and complete information about MLTPA’s contractual services and how Measure R awards and spending decisions have been made.  
 
Brian Knox  
Mammoth Lakes
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