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Regarding Mammoth Lakes Public Arts Commission

February 24, 2012

I am one of the Public Arts Commission (PAC) members. I have been on the PAC since its inception. I am resigning, not out of a sense of pique over the Town Council’s decision last Wednesday to give the gateway monument project $250,000 of PAC funds, but out of a recognition of the realities of the situation.

John Eastman, in particular, and the rest of the Council (except Ms. Bacon) said F.U. to the PAC, by denuding the PAC funds to such an extent that we really can’t do much of anything with the remaining funds available. 
 
We were not consulted by the Council and asked to revisit the gateway project, even though I proposed that Elizabeth Tenney return to the next PAC board meeting, a fact that the Council knew. 
 
I was going to propose that PAC pledge some substantial money for the gateway project, but Eastman couldn’t wait and usurped the Council’s authority by approving the diversion of PAC funds.
 
This isn’t the first time the Town Council overrode the PAC, for political purposes. The project of Mr. Lande’s, bordering the Snow Creek golf course was granted an exemption from paying the 1 percent public-arts fee because that project had built a “public arts” component into the project. 
 
The PAC objected to this and pointed out that the public couldn’t see that “public arts” component because it was internally placed within the project, and could not be seen by the public without trespassing on private property. So the Town Council effectively prevented the PAC from collecting many thousands of dollars, which could have been used for bona fide public arts projects.
 
As an interesting coincidence, PAC had finally found a physical place to install three themed pieces of kinetic art in the Mammoth Creek Park. We were to have a meeting with the artist on the Thursday following the Council meeting. We had to cancel that meeting because we didn’t have the funds to complete the project. 
 
Mr. Eastman’s statement that the PAC had enough remaining funds to complete its announced projects was, at least uninformed, disingenuous and was not true. 
 
I resign out of a sense of frustration and futility knowing, realistically, that the Town Council isn’t really concerned with Public Art, will do whatever is expedient, and the Public Arts Commission is really irrelevant.
 
Michael Bornfeld
Mammoth Lakes
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