Town Council hears harsh critics and supporters

Mayor Lehman says MMSA has to sign an air service contract Friday. The Town, he indicated has to commit to its part of the subsidy.

Still wounded by the Town of Mammoth’s bankruptcy declaration  on Monday, citizens both condemned and praised the Town Council Wednesday when they met to consider using $400,000 of utility tax money to subsidize air service.

Mayor Matthew Lehman said the crowd that came to the Fourth of July Council meeting was about 50-50.  “Some were frustrated,” he said, “and some were in favor of using Measure U funds.”  Lehman said the perception that the Council had been “sneaky” in holding a holiday meeting with little notice is incorrect.  Mayor Lehman said, “We received information Tuesday that if we did not go forward with the summer/fall air service subsidy, Alaska Air would pull all its flights out.”

Lehman said it was Mammoth Mountain that “mentioned it.”  He said Councilman Michael Raimondo called Alaska Air to verify this.  “There was a high risk and they were considering pulling flights,” said Lehman.  He said this is why the Council called a special meeting quickly.  The Mayor said Alaska Air gave Mammoth Mountain Ski Area a deadline to sign their ongoing air service contract Friday.

Lehman said he believes “air service is too big and important.  We couldn’t wait.”  In view of the fact that the Town of Mammoth has just filed for bankruptcy protection, would Mammoth Mountain consider paying the Town’s share of the subsidy?  Mayor Lehman said, “We asked if they would.  They were not willing.”  The Mayor said air service is a priority in the Town’s General Plan.

Asked if bankruptcy weren’t a game changer for a lot of things, Lehman said   he doesn’t think the Town and citizens are willing to jeopardize air service.  He said Mammoth “wants to be competitive with other resorts.”

After some citizens voiced opposition to use of Measure U or utility tax revenue and some supported it, Mayor Lehman said the Council decided to respect the Measure U process and see what is possible.  He said that the Council has asked the committees involved with Measure U allocations to examine the process and see if the Town can use utility tax for air service subsidy.  Lehman said the Town will “probably submit an application for Measure U funds.”  Lehman also said that the Town is “trying to have discussions with Howard Pickett and Rusty Gregory at Mammoth Mountain.”

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Trouble
Trouble
10 years ago

That’s my check mark up there Al 🙂

Trouble
Trouble
10 years ago

I only spell Benetts name wrong when I don’t like her answers.

Big AL
Big AL
10 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

LOL Trouble I never spell it wrong for that lol .. but like I say .. when someone wants to write me up for something or accuse me of something .. the only thing I tell them is … just make sure you spell the name right.

The People
The People
10 years ago

The People are angry. Angry at everything and everybody … including the media. The angriest of The People are the Tea Partiers who refer to the media as: “The Drive-by Media” (as in a drive-by gang shooting). These people are the absolute best at childish trash-talking. This term is taken… Read more »

Still wary
Still wary
10 years ago

I have, what I consider, a valid question…..I am wary of asking because Benett used my email address name to answer me, or rather admonish me for spelling her name wrong, and that WAS NOT GOOD!….I still have to live and work here…

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
10 years ago
Reply to  Still wary

I don’t know what you’re talking about, and what is your question?
Benett ( I have no recall of admonishing anyone for spelling my name wrong.
Many people do, and it’s not a big deal.)

enoughalready
enoughalready
10 years ago

Question for— Dave Hammond. I understand that Big Multinational Development could care less about a town thriving. Its seems that they really should? Where does the real estate game pay off? I would invest in the town that is thriving and expanding. One that has a solid, obtainable vision and… Read more »

Scholl Bowl
Scholl Bowl
10 years ago

Even though I agree with you that this matter should be looked into by the Grand jury, I think the first order of business the Grand Jury should look into is the corruption of the administration of the Mono County Sheriff’s department and the CAO Jim Arkens!

Observer
Observer
10 years ago

Contracts entered into by the TOML before July 3rd may never get paid. Perhaps Alaska Airlines, MMSA and TOML all understood that this needed to wait until July 4th to be addressed, so that Alaska Air can know the contract is worth the price of the paper it’s printed on… Read more »

Really Fed up
Really Fed up
10 years ago
Reply to  Observer

This is Chapter 9 bankruptcy I don’t know that the date matters.

Observer
Observer
10 years ago
Reply to  Really Fed up

Not the date per se, but whether the contract was entered into by the TOML before or after filing. Pre-filing obligations may not be paid in full, but post filing contracts cannot be reduced.

Sean F
Sean F
10 years ago

If the flights are a net gain for the town and local businesses then they need to continue. Without more hard data we can’t say what is the case really is. From my trips to the airport it appears we have too many near empty flights. Smarter scheduling to reduce… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
10 years ago
Reply to  Sean F

You’ve illuminated the crux of the issue.

THERE IS NO DATA!

Econ 101
Econ 101
10 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

There MUST be data Ken. They just aren’t sharing it with the public as they should. I sense if people knew how many non-full flights were landing in Mammoth that would be the end of that game. I’m starting to wonder why it is that the airline has that much… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
10 years ago
Reply to  Econ 101

All anyone can possibly know is how many people get off each plane and how many people get on each plane. Where they go after they land here or how much they spend is not surveyed in any sense or form. And estimates of how much each person spends or… Read more »

Roger Rilling
Roger Rilling
10 years ago
Reply to  Econ 101

Econ 101— I would agree there probably is data available. However, in addition to half filled flights, I would be interested to know what percentage of those passengers were flying for personal convenience and what percentage were new customers (or return customers from Europe for instance). I DO NOT wish… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
10 years ago
Reply to  Roger Rilling

Roger .. why subsidize someone else profit (Airlines)? If we’re going to have an airport, and air service in Mammoth, then it should be just that air service, not MMSA’s or TOML’s personal air taxi. Whether it be flights bringing skiers or transporting locals to and from destinations is irrelevant.… Read more »

Econ 101
Econ 101
10 years ago
Reply to  Roger Rilling

The point is, The Mountain wants The People to pay for the empty seats on incoming flights in winter (where the bulk of passengers is). And going against how the The People voted, those in power are now going after Measure U to keep The Mountain up and running and… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
10 years ago
Reply to  Econ 101

MMSA pays for the air service subsidy in the winter – $3.5 million. We will have a story quoting Rusty Gregory
on this issue. Stay tuned.
Benett Kessler

Big AL
Big AL
10 years ago
Reply to  Econ 101

Good questions Econ.

Jake
Jake
10 years ago
Reply to  Sean F

I already cut them 45 mill in slack pal… 15 years of them NOT listening to any input is enough for me. Carry on in your blind belief in these clowns!

It's About Time
It's About Time
10 years ago

After the Independence Day performance of the Town Council’s version of the gong show, led by yet another amateur politician of dubious talent in the role of rotating Mayor, isn’t it about time for the Mono County Grand Jury to look into this mess? The Grand Jury needs to drag… Read more »

Really Fed up
Really Fed up
10 years ago

Ya know what maybe that is what it will take.
unfortunately the Grand jury is made up of folks from the area. Maybe this panel with be mostly from North County.

leatherbag
leatherbag
10 years ago

Well, well, well. It appears that, “Speaks with forked tongue,” “Tea Party,” and, “County was smart,” all have the same Gravatar address. How coincidental!

I don’t mind the anonymity, but PaaaaLEASE(!), don’t try to create a facade of being different people.

Zero credibility.

Big AL
Big AL
10 years ago
Reply to  leatherbag

Yep

Hypocrisy Unlimited
Hypocrisy Unlimited
10 years ago
Reply to  leatherbag

And is “leatherbag” your non-anonymous name, leatherbag?

Can you say … hypocrite?

(chuckles – then boisterous laughter)

Question?
Question?
10 years ago
Reply to  leatherbag

Leatherbag,

And does the name “leatherbag” qualify as an non-anonymous name that is not a
“facade” and entirely “credible” in your opinion?
Thanks in advance.

Here we go again
Here we go again
10 years ago

While we all know about the hard times during the Great Depression but people forget that millionaires were also being made by the sackful in those days on the backs of the destitute. It’s all about purchasing power. The rich truly get even richer during tough economic times. They have… Read more »

Jake
Jake
10 years ago

The new major is a big fat lair…. BIG LIES PAL

sierragrl
sierragrl
10 years ago

We elect average joe’s (that’s what most of us are anyway) and then expect them to be these incredible experts and navigate difficult waters with ease….how silly…Lehman is a pretty boy patsy of the realtors and businessmen…give the man a break…he is doing exactly what the people who elected him… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
10 years ago
Reply to  sierragrl

I like your last paragraph. But the air subsidy is not important by any objective measure. Look at the town budgets and you will see that the greatest TOT and sales tax revenue were collected before 2007. They’ve been in decline ever since even with spectacular snow years. Air service… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
10 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Ken- I agree with you to a extent, but i’m not sure anything should be done to help Mammoth Mountain right now. They sure don’t have any loyalty toward the locals.

kaat
kaat
10 years ago
Reply to  sierragrl

I love this – it’s so true – well said! “The reality is you create a town for its residents….a place that the residents love to live and recreate in…and guess what, that is what brings the tourists…they don’t want to go to a tourist place..they want to go to… Read more »

Big AL
Big AL
10 years ago
Reply to  sierragrl

Why should the town or county or the tax payers pay to subsidize the air carriers who will not fly into the area if they can not profit from it? Why pay them to guarantee their profit, so they can fly people up here, in these smaller planes, that do… Read more »

Let the mountain pay for air
Let the mountain pay for air
10 years ago
Reply to  Big AL

It appears that Mammoth Mountain believes it can compete with Vail, Aspen, Park City … and that everything is being done to get people to fly into town. The fact is those that come here have been driving from L.A. for years and will continue to do so. Most of… Read more »

Paco
Paco
10 years ago

A perfect example of American Capitalism at work. “Subsidize my business!”
Socialism for the rich, you’re-on-your-own capitalism for everyone else.

Tea Party
Tea Party
10 years ago
Reply to  Paco

Don’t rile the Tea Party, Paco.
(wink)

Tea Party
Tea Party
10 years ago
Reply to  Tea Party

Uh – oh! 4 “thumbs down” from Tea Party people on this format. Not surprised. Are these angst-ridden souls everywhere today? Fortunately, looking at the average age of them (60’s and older) I think these people who foam at the mouth all day are going away leaving our youth (who… Read more »

Stephen-ie
Stephen-ie
10 years ago
Reply to  Tea Party

Our problem is they had a magic visa credit card and will never be able to pay it back.. Mammoth Lake, Stockon, Los Angeles, California all had to say yes to more spending. Then California and gov brown saying yes to a monorail plan, pressured by Obama. Then Obama Care.… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
10 years ago
Reply to  Stephen-ie

You might want to consider this article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/24/opinion/sunday/24sun4.html

Benett

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
10 years ago
Reply to  Stephen-ie

Now, now Benett, you know how facts upset Tea Baggers. They need simple reasons and singular targets upon which to vent their self constructed rage. Don’t confuse him with the (still in effect) Bush tax cuts or the obstructionist Congress where one party has expressly said that they will take… Read more »

Under the cloak of darkness...
Under the cloak of darkness...
10 years ago

I can’t believe that the town council did not address this subsidy issue until the day after Mammoth Lakes declares bankruptcy. Even if the interested parties learned about the revised action by Alaska Airlines late Tuesday afternoon, this shouldn’t be a surprise for the town officials. Airport subsidy in the… Read more »

Want to Vomit
Want to Vomit
10 years ago

Anyone look at the mobility check-list.
You should……
http://www.ci.mammoth-lakes.ca.us/documents/133/278/Measure%20U%20Applicant%20Information%20Packet.PDF

See the glossary page 10 ——

Mobility: Refers to projects that facilitate moving around within the Town, i.e. a trolley,
pedestrian, bicycles or other modes of transportation.

John Starts
John Starts
10 years ago
Reply to  Want to Vomit

Yep, pretty clear….

3. INTENT OF MEASURE U
The Steering Committee reaffirmed the intent of Measure U that includes expenditures to enhance Mobility, Recreation and Arts & Culture.   

mo·bil·i·ty/mōˈbilətē/
Noun: .
1. The quality or state of being mobile.
2. The movement of people,

Want to Vomit
Want to Vomit
10 years ago
Reply to  John Starts

Nice try, Once again If you read the measure U check list you will see a glossery of terms. It clearly states Mobility within town. :See the glossary page 10 —— Mobility: Refers to projects that facilitate moving around within the Town, i.e. a trolley, pedestrian, bicycles or other modes… Read more »

enoughalready
enoughalready
10 years ago

Again and again. These are your elected officals. How much more are you willing to take. Protest and protest loud. Have an emergency election. Run these kooks and Rusty out of town. Your future is really not looking too good.
Again!

upthecreek
upthecreek
10 years ago
Reply to  enoughalready

@enoughalready

I see that 4 of the town council members voted your comment thumbs down

GGW

Roger
Roger
10 years ago

I can only strongly restate— Don’t You Dare to throw good money after BAD.

leatherbag
leatherbag
10 years ago

Possible Town Counsel Mottos: Our insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but we’re expecting different results this time. We’re robbing Peter to pay Paul… but we’re doing it legally. I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a steak and lobster today. Hey Buddy, can you spare a… Read more »

kaat
kaat
10 years ago

I think the TC is out of touch with how upset its citizens actually are at this point in time. If it is true what the mayor says that the July 4th meeting was an “emergency meeting” it would have been smart to state that to the public upfront –… Read more »

Want to Vomit
Want to Vomit
10 years ago
Reply to  kaat

This was not an emergency item at all, This commitment was known almost 2 months ago. The town did not want to fund the commitment in the budget and Urdi did not want to use TR monies as his budget was also cut. The short fall was known and the… Read more »

Want to Vomit
Want to Vomit
10 years ago
Reply to  Want to Vomit

Katt
After re-reading my post, I think I got bit harsh on you in my other post.
sorry.

upthecreek
upthecreek
10 years ago
Reply to  kaat

The TOML has been out of control for 10 years . why stop now..

Gov Gone Wild

Just recall them all and be done with it.

GGW

Really Fed up
Really Fed up
10 years ago

Lehman claims this 4th of july meeting was not sneaky. The frikin hell it wasn’t. The town knew of this pending issue for almost 2 months according to Urdi. Staff knew this matter was looming and needed to be dealt with. Of Course the mayor is going to say something… Read more »

Speaks with forked tongue
Speaks with forked tongue
10 years ago
Reply to  Really Fed up

Lehman’s double-speaks gives all developers a bad name.

Kathy
Kathy
10 years ago

I don’t get it. How can the town of Mammoth consider subsidizing anything when they say they are bankrupt? Something isn’t right here. Mammoth should consider dis-incorporating…

County was smart
County was smart
10 years ago
Reply to  Kathy

You can see why the County bailed out of the airport thing.

Dave Hammond
Dave Hammond
10 years ago

These financial woes will only serve to bring in more influence of large investment groups and hospitality operators. Mammoth will be begging developers to do business with them, and that means they have less room to negotiate with those developers during the entitlements process. The Owners of Mammoth are very… Read more »

Roger Rilling
Roger Rilling
10 years ago
Reply to  Dave Hammond

I want to agree with Dave Hammond in his two comments except– in my opinion, the ski area IS NOT very very good at what they do. I believe the root of our problems is extremely poor planning and management. The town followed the example from the ski area and… Read more »

Dave Hammond
Dave Hammond
10 years ago
Reply to  Roger Rilling

Your right Roger, They are not good at what they do. I should have left that out. FEASIBILITY is critical. Show me one Village development that has not struggled to sustain and had to reposition? This is not feasible growth, it was a pipe dream on steroids: so is the… Read more »

enoughalready
enoughalready
10 years ago
Reply to  Dave Hammond

Agreed. Loyalty goes a long ways. Not only with the guest , who would return again and again. That loyalty would be passed down thru generations. Loyalty fans out in several direction. Loyalty of the employee to the company to achive the same goals and the loyalty of the company… Read more »

Bill
Bill
10 years ago
Reply to  Kathy

The the bankruptcy is the result of a ridiculous judgement in a ridiculous lawsuit. And some would argue that our tourist economy is greatly enhanced by the local airport.

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
10 years ago

Well, Councilman Lehman is a good tap dancer anyway. Look at him spin.

Is our city government so incompetent that they didn’t know that Alaska Airlines was considering alteration of it’s service agreements? Is our city government so incompetent that they needed Rusty to “mention” the issue?

Good grief……

Dave Hammond
Dave Hammond
10 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

I guarantee bigger things are in the works than any locals are aware of. Look, if they wanted to expand the airport, fine, but do your due diligence and have the foresight to know that any airport expansion in a sensitive environment will bring with it, federal regs that are… Read more »

steve
steve
10 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

If its costly to operate than its too expensive to exist.