The political season in Mammoth opened this week, but there was neither sound nor fury to it.
Incumbents Skip Harvey and current Mayor Jo Bacon both said they’d run for re-election in the June 5 municipal elections. But what struck veteran political insiders the most was the deafening silence of the hoi polloi.
“It’s really amazing that we haven’t heard from other possible candidates,” said councilmember Rick Wood.
“Here it is February, and I’m hearing nothing. Nothing. It’s astonishing.”
Normally, he said, by the time February rolls around, someone, somewhere, has given him a call to sound him out on the viability of a run for a four-year term.
Also, he acknowledged, it is so early in the process that someone may yet step up for a try.
One thing for sure, however, is that Harvey, completing his eighth year on the council, says he’s not going to back down.
He said this week he has no intention of taking time off to deal with his ongoing battle with throat cancer. Nor was he flummoxed over the difficult political landscape that lies ahead.
“I have a lot of pride in our town,” he said in an interview Tuesday at the top of Mammoth Mountain. “And after eight years, I think we have a group in there than can really make a difference.”
Harvey’s seat is open, as is Bacon’s. Candidates can take out nomination papers beginning Feb. 13 and the nomination process closes March 9.
The term of office for each seat is four years. Council members are paid $300 a month and meet on the first and third Wednesdays of each month.
If there is anyone who might deserve a break, it is Harvey, who missed a considerable chunk of time last year while undergoing treatment at a medical center in Los Angeles.
Also sitting out there is the 800-pound gorilla in the form of a settlement of the $40 million Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition judgment against the town.
What that will mean to Mammoth is very much up in the air.
The two sides have met constantly, with offers and counteroffers. There is still a possibility that Mammoth may have to go to municipal bankruptcy court, too.
Neither his illness nor the impending settlement seem to have stopped Harvey, the owner of the Base Camp Café on Main Street.
The way Harvey sees it, the illness is (so far) in check, and the upcoming ramifications of the $40 million MLLA settlement will present challenges that will test the mettle of anyone holding a Town Council seat.
“I can handle the illness,” he said. “The throat tumors are 65 percent down, so that’s not going to be an issue.”
Harvey said he has time to change his mind, though.
“I’ll probably take a couple of weeks to think it over,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said he was looking forward to the next Town Council meeting, held on Wednesday.
“I’ll be there,” he quipped, “with rings on my fingers and bells on my toes.”
Bacon, meanwhile, said she was enthusiastic about a run to re-capture her seat.
It’s not that she thought it was ever going to be an easy job, she said.
She said she knew four years ago that a Town Council seat in Mammoth can be volatile and often divisive.
But when asked this week if she were going to run for re-election in June, she hesitated for only about a tenth of a second.
“Yes I am,” she said.
“There are still more things that need to be done.”
She said she was not particularly apprehensive about running for a second term, even given the judgment against the town.
“That was something I knew might happen when I ran the first time,” she said. “I think we all were looking for a different legal opinion, but that didn’t happen.
”It really doesn’t concern me.”
Should she win in the June 5 election, she would be re-joining a team that she says knows how to get things done, no matter the circumstances.
She also said she was delighted by the idea of council member Skip Harvey running for what would be his third term.
“I think Skip has been an absolute asset to the community,” she said.
Candidates must be registered voters and reside within the Town. Citizens interested in running for a seat on the Town Council should talk with the Town Clerk, Jamie Gray, at (760) 934-8989, extension 267 for further information.
The Town Clerk’s Office is located in Minaret Village Shopping Center, Old Mammoth Road, and is open from 8 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, holidays excepted.