By this time next week—Wednesday, to be precise—Mammoth Lakes will have a balanced budget.
It will be a document that drips with the blood of dep cutsw. lost positions and dashed dreams.
But it will be done. Finished. Over.
The residual pain of it, along with the unresolved plan of how to deal with the $42 million MLLA judgment, will hurt for this year and for many years.
But for now, Mammoth can get back to doing what it does best. You can call it whistling past the graveyard, but all of us are weary of the graveyard.
We could not help noticing the shift in the news this week. It shifted from the grim thud-thud-thud of budgets; the departure of Bill Manning at Mammoth-Yosemite Airport, and the loss of the indefatigable Dave Beck in Public Works, to things like red foxes, re-forestation at Reds Valley and cattle loose at the Whitmore Ballfields.
Soon, the Fourth of July will be coming down the pike, and the question of the day will be what Larry and Karen Johnston will dream up for their float this year.
Horseshoes already are flying this way and that; the hiking trails are open, save for the miles of obstructed trails in the Reds Valley area.
Fishing, from all reports, has been very good, and some guides are so busy that they’re sharing their clients with other guides, such is the rush to the Eastern Sierra's waters.
On Mammoth Mountain, the top will be open for mountain biking this weekend, with the two-wheelers contemplating Kamikaze and points downhill, while the road cyclists are a dime a dozen on the asphalt.
The track and field Olympic Trials in Eugene are just around the corner, and after that, the London Games themselves. (We have a little game around here, trying to guess how many times Mammoth and its elite track club will be mentioned for the world audience before the games are done.)
In the town offices, there is a new councilmember, Michael Raimondo, and we’re eager to discover how his first year will pan out. “I’m up for the challenge,” he said Wednesday as he was sworn in. He and the rest of the council—minus the departed Skip Harvey—then immediately went into closed session to hammer away at the MLLA situation.
Further out, three new faces on the Mono County Board of Supervisors are on board as of Jan. 1, and we’re just as eager to discover what they’ll bring to the table.
We know this is going to be a sometimes-painful year. We also know that the pain is widespread. Other towns and cities, the State of California and the United States as a whole are in on this.
All in all, we’d still rather be here than just about anywhere.