Letter to the editor: No joke

mltc8_6_13Sierra wave,

I read your September 23, 2013 posting and I thought that maybe you had added a comic section to your news. The specific post was your quotes of Mayor Rick Wood. It read like the funny papers in the LA Sunday Times.

The Mayor said that the dump site would be very public and transparent. So when would that be? The land has been in secret discussions for the past 6 years. Also there is a secret fee that has been collected and transferred   to the TOML.  When will the Council be transparent? After the deal is made? Will we be able to view the options such as other locations, joint venture with the County? How about costs? Will there be more special secret fees that the rate payers must pay? What is the specific purpose of these fees?  Let’s have transparency NOW.

The town has had “an extraordinary couple of years”, but what is the reason, why did the Mayor not explain some of the reasons?? By MMM leaving we no longer have any checks and balances in our Town Government. We now have the same old way of governing.

Tom Cage, are the Voters to believe that a citizen thought up this idea and approached TC?… Oh…OK. And if so where was it in/ on the agenda?

So keep the quotes coming and I hope the Town will be laughing next June.

John T. Vereuck, Mammoth Lakes

35 Responses to Letter to the editor: No joke

  1. a matter of taste September 30, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    The priority should be what is best for the town – not for the developer. People can get just as loaded and contribute to the town’s higher education needs just as easily as they could get loaded in the woods and make another developer and his associates richer.

    • Wikipedia definition September 30, 2013 at 5:32 pm #

      Political corruption is the use of power by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by private persons or corporations not directly involved with the government. An illegal act by an officeholder constitutes political corruption only if the act is directly related to their official duties, is done under color of law or involves trading in influence.

      Forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, graft, and embezzlement. Corruption may facilitate criminal enterprise such as drug trafficking, money laundering, and human trafficking, though is not restricted to these activities.

      The activities that constitute illegal corruption differ depending on the country or jurisdiction. For instance, some political funding practices that are legal in one place may be illegal in another. In some cases, government officials have broad or ill-defined powers, which make it difficult to distinguish between legal and illegal actions. Worldwide, bribery alone is estimated to involve over 1 trillion US dollars annually. A state of unrestrained political corruption is known as a kleptocracy, literally meaning “rule by thieves”.

      Some forms of corruption – now called “institutional corruption” – are distinguished from bribery and other kinds of obvious personal gain. Campaign contributions are the prime example. Even when they are legal, and do not constitute a quid pro quo, they have a tendency to bias the process in favor of special interests and undermine public confidence in the political institution. They corrupt the institution without individual members being corrupt themselves. A similar problem of corruption arises in any institution that depends on financial support from people who have interests that may conflict with the primary purpose of the institution.

      • Keepin' it simple September 30, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

        Please correct me if I am incorrect on the definition of political corruption.
        Isn’t it cronyism when a public official tries to get a friend or relative a cushy position at an airport?
        I am confused.

  2. Ken Warner September 29, 2013 at 8:35 am #

    The town should buy the Woods Site. It would be worse for the town to loose it to a developer. I don’t care if Lehman makes money from the deal. In the long run, it’s better for the town to buy the site than to loose it. And if it takes Lehman to make the T.C. do something smart — more power to him.

    I don’t understand wanting to put a dump anywhere in Mammoth. Do they really want to do that at the existing Transfer Station. Could someone point me to the article about it?

    • Benett Kessler September 29, 2013 at 9:43 am #

      No, they are apparently talking about a recyling center or MRF.

    • a viable alternative September 29, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

      A better site for the Bluesapalooza and other events would be at our Cerro Coso College. There you don’t need to close any streets and I’d rather see money directed towards higher education rather than to any developer.

      • Ken Warner September 29, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

        Not a bad idea but if the school had a decent theater, there are other events that can be added to the event list.

        I don’t particularly like the theater that’s there. The seats are uncomfortable and cramped. I like a little space around me. Maybe if they replace the seats and have fewer of them, they could have more intimate events. Just a thought.

        • Not a bad theatre space September 29, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

          Well you have to crawl before you walk, Ken. In the meantime, the Edison Theatre is becoming more and popular each year. As far as uncomfortable seats, I’ve never found them to be cramped. Perhaps shedding a couple of pounds might do the trick. (playful sarcasm)
          The outside venue at Cerro Coso yields a spectacular view of our mountain range. I’ve attended a couple of concerts there and found them to be quite nice.
          But I fear in today’s political/economic climate, the powers that be may already have made up their minds regarding the promotion of their fellow councilman’s client (the owner of Sam’s Woods) … and an investigation is already in the works re: ethics violations and conflict of interest.
          So this should be quite interesting to see how this particular new mess plays out.

          • Ken Warner September 30, 2013 at 9:06 am #

            There isn’t any place in town that has the ambience of Sam’s Woods.

            Cerro Coso could indeed be the site for many unique events tailored for Cerro Coso’s own unique characteristics and I urge those who can make it happen to make it happen.

            But don’t lose Sam’s Woods regardless of the imaginary implications of corruption. There’s been a lot of probably groundless accusations here. The seem to feed each new imaginary outrage.

            Not that I fully support the T.C. I don’t. But can we wait for facts? Please!

      • skiJohn September 29, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

        Sorry, I disagree with the Cerro Coso idea. Woodsite is a beautiful, unique property where people can meander through the forest, enjoying music and adult beverages, unlike any venue they’ve been to. I bet attendance would drop significantly if we moved events to the college. Those are a dime a dozen to our visitors from other areas. It’s nothing special at all.

    • Connect the dots September 30, 2013 at 10:53 am #

      Correct me if I’m mistaken, but didn’t a current council member(s) once have something to do with the airport mess the same way another current council member has something to do with a client of his who owns the Woods site?

      When is the town going to ban together and rid the community of this sort of in-your-face corruption?

      • Benett Kessler September 30, 2013 at 11:03 am #

        What are you talking about? At a past point, a Town Council voted in favor of an airport agreement with Terry Ballas. The Town owns the airport.
        Rick Wood was not on the Council at that time. John Eastman was. The chain of events afterward turned disastrous. Unfounded accusations of
        corruption do not help your case, whatever it is.
        Benett Kessler

        • Stopping corruption in its tracks September 30, 2013 at 11:37 am #

          Thanks for acknowledging Eastman’s corrupt part in the mess. If memory serves me, Eastman got his hands caught in the taxpayer’s cookie jar when he tried to use his political influence to get his future son-in-law a job at the airport.
          In these precarious economic times it behooves us all to keep tight reins on our elected officials, Benett. To do nothing means we’ve become part of the problem.

          • Benett Kessler September 30, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

            And to make unfounded accusations is part of the problem as well. I did not call Mr. Eastman’s vote for the development agreement “corrupt.” It might have been unwise or
            something else, but I have no proof of corruption. Do you?

          • Shine September 30, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

            Didn’t Eastman speak against acquiring airport in the first place?
            Don’t recall cronyism accusation. Is it true?

  3. Ken Warner September 29, 2013 at 7:40 am #

    The town should buy the Woods Site. It would be worse for the town to loose it to a developer. I don’t care if Lehman makes money from the deal. In the long run, it’s better for the town to buy the site than to loose it.

    The new Dump is another deal altogether. It should not be in town. It should be out 395 at the Business Park. It it’s a public site for all of Mono County, that’s better just to keep the traffic and smell out of Mammoth Lakes. Let the current small transfer station stay where it is for the convenience of the locals and maybe that should be bought by TOML also so they can (perhaps) keep fees down.

    • skiJohn September 29, 2013 at 10:41 am #

      I completely agree with you, Ken. Everyone on here is pissed over the thought of the town buying Woodsite, but what’s the alternative? A large hotel or casino?? Yes, casino. I’ve been hearing a rumor about that for a few weeks now. Could you imagine?? We also have measure U money to use towards the purchase, and we could sell the density to another developer, making the lot practically free! There’s also water under there which is extremely valuable.

      The biggest issue isn’t Woodsite, it’s that damn dump. Ken, you’re spot on…

      • Ken Warner September 29, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

        I can imagine a casino there. I don’t like the image. Ever been to Reno and look at all the sad, desperate people there who hang around downtown? Do we want those kinds of people in Mammoth Lakes?

        Walked into the casino in Bishop once. Ran back out the door in 30 seconds. I’m not that kind of person.

      • Shine September 29, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

        sJ, I’m pissed that TOML put itself in position of not being able to buy anything, including police protection and education.

  4. Tony Soprano September 27, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

    Secret fee, is that what the kids are calling kickbacks these days? TOML involved in the dump fits the profile of organized crime running waste management.

  5. MK September 27, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    What’s up with the conflict of interest on the Woods site. I hope this does not taint Lehman as it is not his fault he is a realtor.

    • Benett Kessler September 28, 2013 at 10:22 am #

      Go to our website and search Matthew Lehman. The situation is explained.

      • Get ready, Lehman September 28, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

        The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) which vigorously investigates and prohibits public officials from participating in governmental decisions affecting their “financial interests” and requires certain public officials to disclose certain assets and income is going to be hearing about this.

        Now Lehman has replaced on of his business sign on the property in question and is now doing an in-your-face to the community by having his name on the very top of the sign.

        One cannot believe that if the town council buys the property in question that Lehman (or other councilmen fort that matter will not be making a dime from the sale.

        • skiJohn September 28, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

          He’s changing his company name from Trademark to Matthew Lehman Real Estate. I hope he quits council and collects every dime in commission from that sale. He deserves it, as he’s had the listing for a long time and spent a lot of money marketing it. Why would he share his commission with other council members?? He would lose his Broker’s license as that’s illegal to share commission with unlicensed people. Not to mention I get the feeling he can’t stand Eastman and Wood. They would be the last people he’d give a dime to.

          • Profiteering uber alles September 28, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

            Sorry SkiJohn, but I must disagree with you.

            It seems to me that if an elected official uses any sort of influence to sway fellow council members to have the town purchase his client’s property this is corruption at its highest form.

          • Benett Kessler September 28, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

            It’s easy to speculate.

          • Clandestine political behavior September 28, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

            Who know what goes on behind closed doors or outside the council chambers?
            Especially when it comes to money these days.

          • Shine September 28, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

            It’s easy to speculate in property. Not always easy to stay out the red with $30mil judgements. NO PURCHASE, NO CONFLICT

        • Halting Political Corruption September 28, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

          The FPPC (Fair Political Practices Commission) has a website that John Q. Citizen/Taxpayer can suggest a possible infraction to be investigated.

          Here is the URL:


          • Halting Political Corruption September 30, 2013 at 9:44 am #

            This from the FPPC (Fair Political Practices Commission)

            “I believe it would be worth your effort to file a sworn complaint on this issue. Our sworn complaint form and instructions are on our website http://www.fppc.ca.gov. In the upper right hand corner, click on Enforcement and options open including one on the enforcement/complaint process. The form itself it embedded in the text in blue.”

            Unless we as united citizens do something about this (online complaints on this site) I fear our elected officials will continue to go merrily on their way throwing business deals at each other under the guise “it’s good for the community.”

          • Benett Kessler September 30, 2013 at 9:45 am #

            You’ve made your point. Facts remain to be seen.
            Benett Kessler

    • Cased not that easily closed September 28, 2013 at 11:34 am #

      The ultimate question that is on everybody’s mind is whether or not Lehman used any power and/or influence in any of the numerous closed-door secret council meetings to promote the sale of his client’s property and if so, does this constitute a conflict of interest?
      Hard to believe Lehman will receive absolutely nothing if the town council votes that Mammoth Lakes buys the property.
      Then there is the very legal possibility that those voting for the sale (as Lehman will surely recuse himself) can be guilty of being an accessory to the conflict.

      • Shine September 28, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

        If Lehman didn’t recuse himself from closed meetings as soon as the purchase entered into discussion, he may have tainted his relationship with Council as well as client. There would stiil be doubts about what information was disclosed over coffee.

      • MK September 28, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

        I doubt Lehman used any influence. I don’t think he would do such a think. The problem is that there is an inherent conflict. It really does not matter how honorable the person is from what the BBK lawyer states. I think the town just needs to stay away from that property for now. We need Lehman to stay around TC for a while.

      • Stopping corruption in its tracks September 30, 2013 at 11:40 am #

        Thanks to the 11 thumbs-up v only 2 thumbs down to the very real problem of trying to halt corruption in our town.


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