Hogan spells it out for Town Council

Sandy Hogan said the public process is missing.

Sandy Hogan said the public process is missing.

Since the demise of Mammoth’s former town manager and numerous closed sessions on property negotiations that were never discussed publicly, Mammoth Lakes’ citizens have continued to grumble about what they call a lack of transparency in their local government. Long time resident, Sandy Hogan, stood up during public comment at Wednesday night’s Council meeting and articulated for the Council why they have critics.

She said many have heard complaints from the public about the lack of transparency and excessive numbers of closed sessions. She said, “The public feels left out of the decision making process.” Angry phone calls, letters to the editor and emails would agree.

Hogan picked an example of one issue that she said should be much more public before addressing it in closed sessions – the potential purchase by the Town of Sam’s Wood Site for events. Hogan said up front that she supports that idea, but she said there has been no formal public discussion other than random individual comments. Hogan said, “My support and Councilman Michael Raimondo’s does not constitute a public process that should lead to a Council decision that would then start purchase negotiations.”

In fact, the Council has included such negotiations, pre-public discussion, in more than one closed session. Hogan brought up the obvious – that the Council plans to use revenue from Measures R and U since these are virtually the only monies the Town has. Said Hogan, “The appearance is that the Town Council is ignoring the processes in place.”

Hogan suggested that the Council wait for a final events site feasibility study that is in the works, agendize the issue, engage the Measures R and  U committees, and then deliberate and take public comment. Then, she said, comes the time to negotiate a purchase. Hogan called the Wood Site idea a “long-term investment of limited tax dollars” that needs public discussion.

She told the Council that “A full and open process is often messy and long, but we’ve been missing this. That’s why the Town Council is getting criticism. By jumping to closed session discussions, the Council skipped many important steps,” she said.

Councilman John Eastman tried to rationalize that the Council never intended to make a decision in closed session. Hogan did not let him off the hook. She said the purchase of the Wood Site was on a closed session agenda before the idea ever went public.

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John Startz
John Startz
9 years ago

Hogan spells out what now? Here is a better idea for all that have way to much negative to say against councilman Raimondo’s idea to purchase it now to keep it preserved as OPEN space. Mr Lehman sell it to a developer instead and build the 190 plus units ALREADY… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  John Startz

In fact, Sandy Hogan laid out the public process that is legally required. The Council has no legal standing to make a decision in closed session to buy property. This is not “back and forth nonsense”, it is the government that does give the people a chance to participate. Benett… Read more »

Shine
Shine
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

Open meetings and/or town vote will determine how small groups are are.

????
????
9 years ago
Reply to  John Startz

Startz, You are really ignorant. This is called the public process. The town is not allowed to take matters into closed session that require public input first. That is the law. There was absolutely no excuse or reason for the town to have the wood site on closed session without… Read more »

John Startz
John Startz
9 years ago
Reply to  ????

Far from ignorant thank you, why is the thought of the initial “concept” causing fuss, council has not said boo about any negotiations. Eastman made that very clear at the last meeting, there is no “negotiations” happening and that in deed it would become a full public process. In my… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  John Startz

Dear Startz, In fact, the Council did say “boo” about Sam’s Wood Site when they placed it on more than one closed session agenda. This, at the least, gives the appearance that they are already negotiating to buy the property. That’s what the agenda item said – property negotiations. Ms.… Read more »

But when we get behind closed doors ...
But when we get behind closed doors ...
9 years ago
Reply to  John Startz

With a due respect, John Startz – of course “council has not said boo about any negotiations” – that’s what secret meetings are for. These 5 Bozos that claim to represent us, are in it for their own gain (as most if not all public officials are). And to make… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago

Dear person of many names,

I don’t know of any local media unwilling to entertain corruption. My own rejection of some of your comments is because they are so repetitive and accusatory without evidence.
Benett Kessler

Rule of 7s
Rule of 7s
9 years ago

Unfortunately, it has proven that public awareness does not occur until contrary subject matter is presented to them 7 times.

Halt the Corruption!
Halt the Corruption!
9 years ago

It is the intent of the law (Brown Act) that elected official’s actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly. The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago
Reply to  John Startz

Mr. Startz, you need to spend some time getting familiar with the Brown Act. Your “analysis” is completely wrong.

Political Watchdog
Political Watchdog
9 years ago

Thanks Desert Tortoise for bringing attention to something that should be brought to our attention again and again if need be. The Ralph M. Brown Act, was an act of the California State Legislature, authored by Assemblymember Ralph M. Brown and passed in 1953, that guaranteed the public’s right to… Read more »

Shine
Shine
9 years ago
Reply to  John Startz

J.S., I’d say those 190 units aren’t worth much right now, and may never be worth much if TOML doesn’t pay off some debt. If Lehman could sell wood site, he would have. If he does sell it to private party, good sign for all of us. If he doesn’t… Read more »

Apathetic morons?
Apathetic morons?
9 years ago

Ken, you whined for weeks and many posts when someone wrote you disgusted them – and you turned that around cried that someone said “I was disgusting.” Now, you call most of the residents of Mammoth Lakes “apathetic morons”? Yeah, you disgust me, too.

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
9 years ago

When the Hot Creek judgement against Mammoth Lakes first came down and town bankruptcy was being discussed. I suggested that the town was so f***d up that it should just disincorporate and revert to Mono County. Do you believe me now? When Prop. R and Measure U were being discussed,… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

It is not so easy to disincorporate an incorporated city. Those who seek to do so really ought to spend some time in the California Government Code. First off, to disincorporate you need to hold a referendum and the citizens of the city have to vote in favor of disincorporating.… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
9 years ago

So we should get started and instead of paying into U, R, A, T and TBID, that money could go to the debts. We could sell the airport and put that money toward the debt. Maybe we could sell the Gateway Monument too. Plus we at least wouldn’t do anymore… Read more »

Where are our leaders?
Where are our leaders?
9 years ago

Mammoth Lakes needs leaders.
Not people interested in how they can personally profit from the latest real estate deal.

Shine
Shine
9 years ago

The leaders are the ones supported to run and voted for.

skiJohn
skiJohn
9 years ago

Where are our Leaders, my response to you is this: Start paying our leaders a decent salary so they don’t have to work outside of council, or don’t elect council members who have been an appraiser/broker/realtor for the past 20 years. The man needs to make a living. I think… Read more »

A question of priorties
A question of priorties
9 years ago
Reply to  skiJohn

What’s best for the town 1st.
Personal profit last.

Cerro College has the room, parking and the mountain views the Sierra is famous for. Higher education v personal profiteering.

Mono County divested the airport
Mono County divested the airport
9 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Not a bad idea.
Mono County, though not rolling in the big dough, has a balanced budget and was smart enough to get out from under the airport fiasco.
Meanwhile, Park City is booming.
I wonder why this is?

Mammoth ain't Park City
Mammoth ain't Park City
9 years ago

Mammoth lifty: “Mammoth ain’t Big Bear.”
Me; “Mammoth ain’t Squaw(t).”

Mono doing something right
Mono doing something right
9 years ago

Mono County is developing a reputation for doing things right. It’s to my understanding the county works as a team with no BS political shenanigans overriding common sense.

A model for other counties
A model for other counties
9 years ago

Mono County is a huge one with different wants and needs and (sometimes unfortunately) different political persuasions. Mono residents in the north have a different take on those Mono residents in the south. Though a few miscreants occasionally believe the entire county should adapt their political point of view ie.,… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
9 years ago

The sad thing is that before Mammoth Lakes was incorporated in 1984, things were nice here. No tracts of empty condos and mcmansions. Sherwin Meadow was pristine. Life was simple and good and you felt free. It was like the town was here for you not the other way around… Read more »

Agreed
Agreed
9 years ago

“Open process” must mean something else to the council. The new “interim” manager that was hand selected in secret has already made it known in the media that he is interested in being the “permanent” manager that he is supposed to be tasked with recruiting. So either the council lied… Read more »

wow
wow
9 years ago
Reply to  Agreed

Eastman just does not get it. He is back talking everyone. It’s his way or the highway. The public process is not where you go off in closed session to purchase a property that is already for sale and make a decision then maybe you have it agenda to make… Read more »

A very possible scenario
A very possible scenario
9 years ago
Reply to  wow

A more than possible scenario: Hey there new town manager! – Have we got a deal for you! One of our fellow councilmen is a REALTOR and guess what? One of his clients has some sweet and very prime property they’d like to sell to the town. Since the town… Read more »

Shine
Shine
9 years ago

Old new manager or new new manager?

Bert4
Bert4
9 years ago

Way to go, Sandy! The purchase of the property is definitely a long-term investment by the Town that should be fully and openly vetted prior to any decisions. This town has very limited financial resources, and whether or not such a purchase is in the best interests of the Town… Read more »

Stop the corruption!
Stop the corruption!
9 years ago

And one of the realtor/town councilmen’s clients wants to sell Sam’s Wood Site and that councilman will not receive any commission for the sale for the property to the town. Cross his heart and hope to die.

LOL!

SkiJohn
SkiJohn
9 years ago

He should receive commission. He can’t live off $300 a month as a council member!!!! I hope he quits in order to receive it.

What ethics? What Conflict of Interest?
What ethics? What Conflict of Interest?
9 years ago
Reply to  SkiJohn

No offense SkiJohn, but I think you might not be a very good candidate to serve on any town’s ethics commission. According to California’s Fair Political Practices Commission, this attempt to capitalize on the sale of property in question is not only unethical, but clearly falls into the category of… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago

This issue is not ripe for a declaration of corruption. Let it unfold.
Benett Kessler

Part of the problem
Part of the problem
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

You are (sadly) correct Benett. Though I am concerned with elected officials using their position to gain from the situation, I have yet to meet anybody who will take it so far as to file a former complaint with Fair Political Practices Commission who recently informed me after explaining the… Read more »

Investigative Journalism
Investigative Journalism
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

It (possible conflict of interest has got to be investigated.
What are YOU finding, Benett?

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago

I have found no conflict of interest so far.
Benett Kessler

SkiJohn
SkiJohn
9 years ago

Not attempting to run for anything in this town. I’m just pointing out a guy who’s been a licensed broker for many, many years now facing not getting paid because he made the grave mistake of running for TC. Lets talk about how Wood and Eastman have benefited from being… Read more »

Shine
Shine
9 years ago
Reply to  SkiJohn

SJ, no mistake in running for TC. May have made mistakes since then.His actions from this point forward will be telling.

Pedro
Pedro
9 years ago
Reply to  SkiJohn

Did he apply at the mountain? Word on the street is they can always use another council member.