Letter to the Editor: Bold steps needed in Mammoth Lakes

Dear Town Council,

Are you serious? We went thru this once before. It was already determined that our little town does not need two Town Managers. We are very concerned and would like for you to explain to us and all of your constituents why you would approve an Asst. Town Manager at a cost of over $200k per year. Especially when you’re trying to close  a budget gap of nearly $3Million.

This is not personal, it’s business. Now we get into budget reductions proposed by staff. Why would you have a white paper prepared by staff for reduction in expenses? Do you really think that they would recommend eliminating their jobs or those of their co-workers? Reducing the expense of commission meetings and administration is ridiculously small relative to overall staff expense.

While their reports and analysis state that the town is running on bare bones, we beg to differ. There are cities/towns that are much larger that operate with smaller staff. The police department for example costs us nearly $5Million. Dana Point (population 36,000) contracts with the OC Sheriff for law enforcement in the amount of $10Million. That’s 2X our budget for over 5X the population. Cut our Police budget down to $2.5 Million and there’s your gap.

The Community Development Department can be greatly reduced or even eliminated in this down turn with no activity in development. When staff is needed, they can be contracted as many other cities do. The town does not need an on staff, fulltime CEQA expert. This is an example of a service that can be contracted as needed.

These are not frivolous thoughts or careless suggestions. We love the community and are passionate about Mammoth Lakes. We want to see it prosper into the future. This will take BOLD steps and innovative ideas. We cannot afford to keep doing things they way we have always done them.

Take the BOLD steps, make the big cuts, move forward. It is about ALL our tax dollars. We don’t want to see people lose their jobs, but people already have and there will be more. We understand that it will be our neighbors, our friends, or both. This is very unfortunate that we are here at this time, but we are here.  Council needs to do the fiscally right thing.

With deep sincerity,

Ruth and Warren. Harrell

Mammoth Lakes homeowners and voters

32 Comments
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A Broken system
A Broken system
10 years ago

Other than Jo Bacon, (who appears to be the best of the lot) you have one councilman dropping out of the mess for health reasons, two councilman who were around at the very beginning of the mess and yet are still around, (with one councilman once trying his best to… Read more »

Miracle Ear
Miracle Ear
10 years ago

First and foremost I believe Chief Watson – whatever else anyone might think of the popo – deserves a pat on the back. He seems to be the only one of Town Council and Town management that reads these comments, or at least has the cojones to respond to them.… Read more »

Econo 101
Econo 101
10 years ago

I wonder if the CEO of Mammoth Mountain will be in attendance at the meeting? You know, to answer questions from citizens as to what behind-closed-doors part The Mountain played in all of this. Since it was the Mountain’s airport plan that failed miserably leading to the bankruptcy of the… Read more »

Ruth & WarrenHarrell
Ruth & WarrenHarrell
10 years ago

So happy to see all the responses!This is exactly what we wanted our letter to do. Stimulate the dialgoue! Although we laugh because we are no where even close to being Tea Partiers. We love the fact that so many responded and want to express their opinion. We hope that… Read more »

the problem is ...
the problem is ...
10 years ago

Though the Harrell’s plan re: “Making the Council work for you” is no doubt sincere, the sad fact is that in this company town, no matter what is presented to the council, they would always be thinking, “We’ve got to run that by Rusty.” You might as well grab the… Read more »

Reality Bites
Reality Bites
10 years ago

Ruth and Warren, Your advice about getting involved and finding out what is going on by actually going to Suite Z is very good. Would you consider going into the Police Department and meeting with Chief Watson and having him explain the police operation to you? You could then get… Read more »

Mistaken Identity?
Mistaken Identity?
10 years ago

To Ruth and Warren Harrell,

Didn’t I see you in this clip?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUPMjC9mq5Y

Maybe Glenn Beck can come to town and straighten out this big government in Mammoth mess.

Just the facts
Just the facts
10 years ago

You got it, Rob! Time to play the Share the Wealth card. Since it was the CEO of Mammoth Mountain who insisted on the airport thing that resulted in a total fiasco and most certain bankruptcy for the town (the council has a difficult time saying no to him) why… Read more »

Jake
Jake
10 years ago
Reply to  Just the facts

JTF – You got that right. Scary how everyone bows down to Rusty… Truth is he would kick your dog to save his own bank account… not to mention he spent 20k for the pedophile party, what a JERK.

Rob
Rob
10 years ago

Anyone that can’t find ways to tighten their belt in tough times probably isn’t the right person for the job, especially under the circumstances. I’m still waiting for the council to do something, anything, towards a resolution of dealing with the debt. Perhaps “Just the facts” has all the answers.… Read more »

The Truth Hurts
The Truth Hurts
10 years ago

Time to go to the ultimate source. Focus on the man who got greedy and wanted a grandiose airport that would accomodate 747s, hotels, (who would want to stay at an airport?) believing Mammoth would someday compete with Park City, and then get off smelling like a rose leaving the… Read more »

Jake
Jake
10 years ago

The Clown Council strike again… Sorry you people are FAILING! BALANCE YOUR BUDGET AND REDUCE STAFF TODAY.

… Time to look into a class action law suit.

Just the facts
Just the facts
10 years ago

Mr. and Mrs. Harrell sounds to me like the angst-ridden, foam-at-the-mouth, anti-government Tea Party movement that has taken hold in this country. Especially in an election year. It seems to me these are not the best of times to disregard the importance of a society becoming increasing interdependent. There must… Read more »

Wilfred S.
Wilfred S.
10 years ago
Reply to  Just the facts

I’m definitely NOT a Tea Partier, but I do agree that 1. Mammoth doesn’t need two town managers, and 2. the town’s police department is obviously overstaffed. Police officers in particular are excessively compensated for the work they perform, and I have yet to see any proof their current level… Read more »

Just the facts
Just the facts
10 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred S.

The Tea Party movement (TPM) is an American populist political movement that is generally recognized as conservative and libertarian,and has sponsored protests and supported political candidates since 2009.It endorses reduced government spending,cutting taxes, reduction of the national debt and federal budget deficit. These people truly believe in their heart of… Read more »

Get The Facts Straight
Get The Facts Straight
10 years ago
Reply to  Just the facts

Here are the real facts, Donald. In reality, the Town doesn’t have ANY manager. Just Mr. Inside, the nominal Town Manager, who is hardly ever inside and Ms. Outside, the equally expensive Assistant Town Manager, who spends most of her time traveling to other States trying to get an even… Read more »

Facts?
Facts?
10 years ago

It wouldn’t surprise me if “Get The Facts Straight” above is none other than Larry (Sourgrapes) Johnston incognito. Your remember Larry – he’s the guy who made a bundle from the County, took the money and ran, (including auto perks, etc). and today has a change of tune about the… Read more »

sierragrl
sierragrl
10 years ago

A school resource officer is a luxury that we cannot afford at this time….any problem at the school could be responded to by MLPD within 3 – 4 minutes….the SRO is not necessary. Put him on regular shifts…it’s the responsible thing to do

jose chavez
jose chavez
10 years ago

dear chief, I applaud(sp) you for putting you reputation on the line and steping up to the plate since day one!.

Dan Watson
Dan Watson
10 years ago

I’d like to respond to the Harrells recommendation that the Town’s budget be balanced by cutting the police budget in half. Their recommendation is based on Dana Point’s $10 million contract with the Orange County Sheriff to provide policing for a town of 36,000 (it’s actually 33, 351 as of… Read more »

Wilfred S.
Wilfred S.
10 years ago
Reply to  Dan Watson

It sounds to me like 90% of your justification for a grossly overstaffed police department is due to excessive drinking? This is ridiculous. If that’s truly the case then perhaps it’s time to gather all of the business owners with a liquor license and come to some agreement to resolving… Read more »

Dan Watson
Dan Watson
10 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred S.

If you believe the police department is “grossly overstaffed,” Wilfred, I’d like to know what you believe is the appropriate number of police officers it would take to provide police protection to a remote ski resort town that gets and many as 35-40,000 people in town.

cat
cat
10 years ago
Reply to  Dan Watson

It’s called the Sheriff’s Department.

Reality Bites
Reality Bites
10 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred S.

Wilfred, perhaps you should try a ride along some Saturday night. It might open your eyes to the reality of what actually goes on. (Not that you want to be confused by any actual facts)

Mark
Mark
10 years ago
Reply to  Dan Watson

Chief, I support the MLPD 100% and appreciate the professionalism of the officers. That being said, it would be nice for someone to express their thoughts without an immediate rebuttal from yourself. Your arguments should be directed at our Town Council who will ultimately decide (yes, a scary thought in… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
10 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Mark, At Sierra Wave we appreciate the Chief’s participation in this blog. First, it’s good to know an official cares enough to read what people are saying and then provide additional information. That’s what blogging is all about – communication. It’s not exclusive to any group.
Benett Kessler

Here come the Limbaughites
Here come the Limbaughites
10 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

I see the Angry Men’s club (Tea Party) has found its way onto this format.
You know them by their “SMALLER GOVERNMENT!” cries and their anti-authority views “TOO MANY COPS!” BS.
These are a scary group of old, grizzled, unhappy … and potentially dangerous people.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Q7XH8lfGMc&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhGTEdv8njM&feature=related

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
10 years ago
Reply to  Dan Watson

Chief Watson….If Mammoth had it’s way,there would be NO police force at all in town…They would allow taverns to be open 24/7,and lower the drinking age to 18,there would be no speed limits,no drug enforcement, there would be a 420 at every street corner,and then at the end of the… Read more »

Bad Business
Bad Business
10 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Deja

Park City has one resort (considered the #1 ski destination in America) Deer Valley that prohibits snowboarders. Skiiers love it! Almost everyone I know has had at least one run-in with the younger and wilder party-til-ya-puke snowboarding crowd on Mammoth Mountain. Mammoth is developing the reputation for a party town… Read more »

cat
cat
10 years ago
Reply to  Dan Watson

Bottom line Dan, is that not only does the fat need to be cut but the meat as well. You should expect a reduction in your budget and staff. As well as every other aspect of the town. Why chief are you rolling around in new vehicles instead of the… Read more »

Reality Bites
Reality Bites
10 years ago
Reply to  cat

Cat, they have a vehicle replacement program so that officers are not driving around in emergency vehicles with 200,000 miles on them! It’s a safety issue. Head down to the Town Yard and see how many miles the rigs have on them when they are taken out of service and… Read more »

Tourbillon
Tourbillon
10 years ago
Reply to  Dan Watson

Thanks for your thoughtful reply Chief. However, while you mention the county sheriff as backup, and their purportedly scant resources, you neglect the CHP, which appears to be capable of fielding quite a few personnel between Bishop and Mammoth most any day of the week. For those one-off “40,000 drunks”… Read more »