Letter from ‘Let Mammoth Decide’

The group ‘Let Mammoth Decide’ submitted the following letter to Sierra Wave Media:

At last week’s Council meeting, instead of adopting the Let Mammoth
Decide Initiative or scheduling an election, a decision was made to order another staff report studying the Initiative.


Mayor Pro Tem Raimondo questioned the very legitimacy of the Initiative and the
signature gathering process, arguing that the people who signed the petition were mislead into signing. This is a false and shameful accusation. The Initiative volunteers are comprised of over 40 Mammoth residents, including our town’s most well respected and honorable citizens. To besmirch their hard and honest work, as well as the intelligence of the voting public, is dishonorable.

In contrast, the trend towards city councils restricting nightly home rentals in California continues to grow, with the Manhattan Beach council voting unanimously to ban nightly rentals throughout the entire town.

This is another, in a long line of tourist-based cities that have recently decided to increase restrictions on nightly rentals, including Carlsbad, Palos Verdes, Laguna Beach, Aliso Viejo, Santa Monica, Sonoma and Jackson Hole. Even South Lake Tahoe, which legalized nightly rentals across the board years ago, and which some anti-Initiative folks have touted as a model for Mammoth, has recently attempted to put their nightly rental cat back in the bag.

To make our Council’s apparent opposition to the Initiative even more bizarre is the fact that Mammoth already has zones that allow nightly home rentals, with over 180 stand-alone homes that are legal to be rented on a nightly basis and dozens more under construction.

Additionally, inside of these nightly rental zones, there are entire neighborhoods that past councils allowed to prohibit nightly rentals (for example, Ranch Road, Greyhawk, etc.). If the anti-Initiative folks want the Council to maintain the power to expand nightly home rentals, they should look no further than these developments, where the Council can still expand nightly rentals even after the Initiative passes.

The Let Mammoth Decide Initiative simply says that for the three low-density residential zones, nightly rentals cannot be expanded unless the voters approve.

Instead of trying to figure out ways to de-legitimize the democratic process and the overwhelming number of Mammoth voters who signed the petition, the Town Council should listen to its voters. There are a lot of serious issues facing our town, so we hope the Council chooses to respect the will of the people and move on to the other issues we
elected them to tackle.

Let Mammoth Decide

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12 Responses to Letter from ‘Let Mammoth Decide’

  1. Sean June 12, 2015 at 6:54 pm #

    Dear Town Council,

    Let this matter go to a public vote.

    Sean Frank

  2. Maureen McClain June 12, 2015 at 3:00 pm #

    I would encourage anyone who signed the petition to show up at a council meeting and confront the idea that their signature was not legitimate. Maureen

  3. nancy baker June 11, 2015 at 4:46 pm #

    I have to agree with Jay Jay and others commenting here. We signed the petition and were not persuaded or coerced in any way to do so. The individuals who were offering the petition for perusal were among the most respected persons in our community. One is a retired local police officer, the other a retired town employee. Neither made any false representation or presentation regarding the contents and intention of the document. I have seen some of the other persons around town with the document in question; they were all respected and legitimate citizens of Mammoth Lakes. Our community has a long history of certain elected officials following their own path and ignoring the individual resident’s needs and desires.
    This is an issue which should not be decided without a vote by the registered voters of Mammoth Lakes. I deeply resent the allegations insinuated by Mr. Raimondo. To impugn the honesty and motivations of locals who have been deeply concerned with this town for many years just because they don’t agree with him is highly ingenuous and suspicious in my eyes.
    This community also does not need to be spending more money on yet another “study” of any issue. All the council was elected to take action on issues affecting our community. Please don’t throw good money after bad, as the council has been wont to do too often over the thirty plus years my husband and I have called Mammoth Lakes home.
    Let the registered voters vote on this decision. Period.
    Nancy and Ken Baker

  4. Jay Jay June 11, 2015 at 9:54 am #

    It is scary what Councilman Raimondo and his cohorts are doing.

    Step 1: Willfully misinterpret (lie about) the initiative.
    Step 2: Use this willful misinterpretation to undermine the legitimacy of the initiative.

    This is some anti-democratic Orwellian stuff we’re seeing out of the Mammoth government and its back rooms, and it scares me. I’ve read every word of the initiative, which is readily available on the web, and the intent and effect could not be more clear — the initiative, if it passes, will take the power to legalize nightly rentals in the three single family zones out of the hands of the council and put it in the hands of the people. Period.

    What Raimondo must know, but apparently needs to be reminded about, is that nightly home rentals are already illegal in these three residential zones, and the initiative doesn’t do anything to change that — if the initiative passes, it simply puts the power in the hands of the people so if future councils wish to expand nightly rentals into those neighborhoods, the people must first approve.

    I’ve always been supportive of the initiative, but after seeing Raimondo and friends’ response to it, I am more supportive of it passing than ever.

  5. Louise June 11, 2015 at 5:50 am #

    I signed that petition too! I knew exactly what I was signing.
    I live in an RMF 2 zone on Davison Rd.
    In 1993-2005 we did nightly rentals in our vacation home and paid
    all the town fees involved including a fee to inform all the surrounding neighbors what are intentions were as far as nightly rentals. We went through all the Town’s red tape.
    We purposely bought our land and built our home in the proper zone. Anyone buying property should do their research before they sign on the dotted line.
    I for one voted to see the Town council represent what we people want.
    Let keep the single family home neighborhoods quiet and trash free.

  6. curious June 10, 2015 at 9:21 pm #

    There are always opening in the prison bakery for unethical / criminal politicians.

  7. h June 10, 2015 at 8:54 pm #

    How many property owners who are 2nd homeowners or owners who are typically registered to vote in other counties – are aware of this effort/initiative? It is possible that the overwhelming majority in favor of this effort is not as overwhelming when all property owners are involved – not just those who live here full time and are registered to vote in Mono County? I’m simply asking this question because it does not sound like an effort was made to involve all property owners. Is it possible that there is some intellectual dishonesty in the arguments put forth by the organizers of this petition? I always thought when we vote in political leaders, if you don’t like their perspective on things, you can vote them out of office? It seems reasonable that more time and effort to study the initiative makes a whole lot of sense before we plunge forward in an effort partially based on emotions.

    • Bemused June 11, 2015 at 8:13 am #

      There’s a reason why you are only supposed to be able to vote on local issues in the area in which you reside full-time…because the agendas and concerns of a 2nd homeowner (presumably) tend to differ from those of full-time residents, and the latter should naturally take priority.

      • h June 11, 2015 at 9:38 pm #

        Your logic is truly bemusing and sad. It doesn’t matter where one lives or resides – if you are a property owner you have equal rights regardless. If that is the rule of law that you subscribe to – it is truly a sad day for our community. I usually disagree with everything that Paul Rudder has to say but for a change he is spot on with his letter to the editor in the current Mammoth Times. My message to the Council is to not be bullied by this group, stand strong, and take as much time as necessary to fully analyze this issue, and come to a decision that is fair and equitable to all property owners.

  8. Tinner June 10, 2015 at 6:51 pm #

    I signed that thing, I don’t feel misled. I’ll vote against it for sure but it’s not solely my decision. It’s OUR decision. I’m betting it won’t pass, I hope to hell it won’t pass. Who the heck wants a bunch of loud obnoxious, disrespectful yay-hoos who shoo our dogs away, take our parking spaces and keep us up all hours of the night throwing up in our yards after a long hard day of dealing with them at work. I want to chill when I get home. The second homeowners and their friends and families can be bad enough. Sorry, am I straying from the subject?
    Let Mammoth Decide town council people, that’s the American way.

  9. Jeremiah J. June 10, 2015 at 5:53 pm #

    It’s interesting how some current and former councilmembers are in favor of the democratic process when it gives them power, but are opposed to the democratic process when it takes their power away.

    • Mo McClain June 11, 2015 at 8:58 pm #

      In the most objective manner, I would beg people to first consider the following; what makes staff” qualified to make further suggestions? There is no one on staff who is a subject matter expert. They have no legitimate experience. Has Staff ever properly completed an audit of the TOT as it stands? No. They have no baseline to make any suggestions. Please everyone go to a council meeting and ask staff when the last completed audit was done. As them the results. Does the staff have anything to gain from siding with council. Yes. A 2% pay raise across the board. This alone would disqualify them from making recommendations.

      Council has not given staff a clear question to answer. I will guarantee you that staff will
      come back with the response council wants.Their jobs depend on it. Their raises depend on it. I have seen Raimondo’s emails to staff and he is not working for the people. Jo Bacon is intimidating and judgmental, no staff member is going to cross her. I heard her ask staff if she was legally required to read emails from town citizens.

      This initiative is an us against them. At the least, the initiative should have sent a message to the Council that this was a sensitive issue. Is that what you are hearing? No? They should be begging for your voice so that they can make the best decisions on YOUR behalf. Clearly this is not the case.

      This may not be a subject you care about, but when something does come up that you’re passionate about the Council will be the ones making decisions on your behalf. Be that a business you want to open, free transportation, parking,…I am telling you this Council can change your life on a dime, without giving you the slightest nod.

      This is your life and your town. Own it. Maureen McClain


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