Town Council moves ahead with plans to cut

Privately, citizens in Mammoth Lakes are saying that Town officials “orchestrated their online survey to match their already decided on plan.”  At last week’s Town Council meeting, even though the survey revealed that only about a third of the respondents supported the cut of seven police officers, all five councilmembers seemed to support the police reduction.  At least two of them said no new taxes.  All five seemed ready to go ahead with the October re-structuring plan of town government.

After more comments from the public, the Town Council decided to have one more meeting this month before their December 5th final vote on restructuring.  The item that caused a special meeting this Tuesday was the mention of creating a Business Improvement District.

When Councilman Michael Raimondo asked Mammoth Mountain CEO Rusty Gregory if he would support a lift ticket or admissions tax, Gregory said, “There’s a better way – a Business Improvement District.”  Essentially, this district would place a tax on all businesses. Informed sources say that officials have been meeting to talk about this subject with no real firm plan in place.

The Town survey, which seemed to say two-thirds did not want police cuts, also showed various percentages supporting new or higher taxes to avoid those cuts.  Some also supported further cuts in tourism, transit and housing.  58% said look for other ways to keep police at a lower cost. Another 58% said use Measure R money to keep Whitmore Pool open. Written comments pointed to Police Chief Dan Watson’s pay, although many don’t have the right numbers.  Watson’s salary is $183,000 with a $50,000 cut to come under the restructuring plan.  Others want to eliminate the Assistant Town Manager, Marianna Marysheva-Martinez and her $200,000 plus contract.

Written comments pointed to Police Chief Dan Watson’s pay, although many don’t have the right numbers.  Watson’s salary is $183,000 with a $50,000 cut to come under the restructuring plan.  Others want to eliminate the Assistant Town Manager, Marianna Marysheva-Martinez.

The restructuring plan includes other cuts too – consolidation of parks and road maintenance, cuts in Community Development, elimination of an IT specialist and a budget manager.

Public comments  ranged from support of new taxes to pay off the MLLA debt to Snowcreek’s Chuck Lande calling for focus on planning to prepare for future growth.  Kirk Stapp and Supervisor Larry Johnston stood up to support Mammoth Lakes Housing’s work and no more cuts. Others spoke against cuts in the police department.  Rich McAteer called for public safety first and no cuts in police.  Sean Turner pointed to the very difficult business environment and the need to examine Measure R and other means to save Whitmore Pool.

Mayor Matthew Lehman said he would stick with cuts to the police department, which he said is “doing a great job.”  He also said it’s up to the police officers to renegotiate their contract for savings.  He said the Town has to be “development ready”.  Lehman said he would consider new taxes if the community brought a petition to the Council.

Councilwoman Jo Bacon stood by police cuts. She supported volunteer programs generally.  Mayor Pro-Tem Rick Wood said he would not support tax increases of any kind.  He said, “Let’s focus on what we can afford.”

Councilman John Eastman called what has been happening “a once in a lifetime, sobering experience.  He also said he does not support any more taxes unless a proposal is brought forward by the public.  He also does not support taking money from already approved tax measures or making cuts in tourism, housing and transit.

More on the situation at Tuesday night’s Town Council meeting at 6pm.

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26 Responses to Town Council moves ahead with plans to cut

  1. restructure our Gov. November 15, 2012 at 8:02 am #

    Yes this is our biggest problem having citizens owning personal businesses running our town. It’s been like this for years The words MOVING FORWARD is a joke. Any time this word is brought up 1 more step on the later breaks falling down. Wood has 2 law firms Mammoth and Bishop, Lehman is a appraiser and property management, he’s real busy with apraisels and dealing with foreclosures and short sales. He mentioned people are paying cash for these homes, Raimando has a number of locations of New York deli stores all over California, Joe Bacon is a retired bean counter, And Eastman has a second home property management and snow removal service and manitains Snowcreek were his wife works. He works 7 day a week. Sometimes I see him in the Bobocat removing snow. How can we expect good service from this council when the 1 is there own surviving businesses. Our last council members were the worst council Mammoth ever had. Council let Staff run the town. All of the head honchos were fired once the new council got in. This was during the Steve Searles drama. The names of that council. Skip Harvey,Jo Bacon, Neil McCarrol,Wendy Sigamura, and John Eastman. We could be facing another lawsuit with our former chief of police. The story is airing on Sierrawave right now about breaking a retirement contract. A new government structure needs to be put in place. Mono County supervisors government are paid employees. It’s a full time job with salaries and benefits. A Paid Mayor, remove the town Manager and assitant manger position. The rotating Mayor isn’t working. I think in the 15 years I’ve been back Matt Lehman has shown good Mayor ethics. He treats the community with respect. He never shuts anybody off during public comment even if there are personal attacks. Someday maybe Mammoth citizens will get a grip on Government like it was written in a document when the town got Inc.The document plak of our decalration of independance is at the Hayden cabin on a wall. I suggest the citizens look for this document on the towns site or ask John eastman to bring it and read at our town council meetings. John Eastman was the driving force to Inc. the town of Mammoth Lakes.

  2. ferdinand lopez November 14, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    id pay money to see a town council run by employees,instead of employers,wow

    • Jen November 14, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

      How is an employee who’s already working 40+ hours a week going to add an additional 30 hours a week being a council member??

      • Benett Kessler November 14, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

        Some of them already on the Council do work full-time.

        • Jen November 14, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

          Raimondo, Lehman, Wood all do. Not sure about Bacon and Eastman

  3. elsinoreracer November 13, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    I do not agree with our town council members at all. But if you really can’t stand them get out in front of Vons and every other business in town and starting getting signatures for recall elections of each and every one of them. Most of you did this some years back to our former Governor Gray Davis and then we got the Governator. That worked out well. Or better yet for those of you who voted to make Mammoth a city, you can change that too. If the council does not wish to listen to the public that voted them in office, then wait for their terms to expire and vote them out. Otherwise this forum doesn’t really help anything. Thanks

  4. Chris November 13, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

    …aaaannnndddd the name of this nightmare movie is “Stupid and Stupider”.

    Issuing surveys and ignoring results is a typical “management” ploy, used often in government and corporate business. Management acts as if it’s interested in what the peons have to say, but it’s really not. It thinks that if the public, in this case, has its say, it’ll make y’all feel better. NOT.

    My heartfelt sympathies to the fine men and women of MLPD, some of whom I know personally. They are being insulted beyond measure. Similar sorrow to ML citizens who definitely deserve better from their ‘leaders’. Come campaign season for Council, no matter how unattractive and unappealing the job of Councilmember seems, seriously consider running for office, being open minded and thinking beyond the norm, AND taking into consideration not only the opinions of highly paid consultants and free state reports (POST), but those of your constituents.

    Mammoth Town politics was only a small reason why we moved to Bishop 3+ yrs. ago. Now I’m hugely thankful that we’re outta there. I sincerely wish you all, including the very ignorant existing TC, the best.

  5. MJA November 12, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    The only cut that mammoth needs to make is the payment to Terry Ballas and his money acquisition corporation.
    Cut him out of the budget and leave the police and the rest of the town alone.
    It the best Way to go.


  6. cl November 12, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

    does anyone on here or Bennett know who you would write a letter of complaint to when you feel like you’re being unjustly treated by the town council? Do you write the county supervisor or who? I feel like this survey fiasco is so wrong and I don’t want to be passive about it. You can’t just issue a survey under the guise that it will matter then crap all over the results!

    • Benett Kessler November 12, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

      If you are a citizen of Mammoth Lakes, call your council members. Their names and phone numbers are on the Town website here –

    • Sean F November 13, 2012 at 1:36 am #

      You run for office and take their jobs if you feel they are doing a poor job. But as I understand it the TC members often run unopposed so one might assume either no one wants the job, or no one is upset enough to do something about it like run against them. After reading all the hateraid here who would want to be on the TC?

      And as I understand it TC members get paid $300 a month plus medical coverage. Is this correct? I would not deal with what they have to deal with for $300 a month.

      If you want some competition you have to give people something to fight for. Pay the TC members a real income and then I bet you get some motivated people running for office. And they will want to stay in office to keep their jobs so they may work hard to get your votes (aka please the highest % of people in town to get a majority vote= stay in office).

      • Benett Kessler November 13, 2012 at 9:44 am #

        Before this last Town Council election, there were always lots of candidates – as many or more than a half dozen. Apparently this last time, the situation in Town government
        looked too unattractive for most people. Yes, they are paid roughly $300 per month plus medical coverage.
        Benett Kessler

    • Mike J November 13, 2012 at 8:12 am #

      What about the grand jury?

      • LOL November 13, 2012 at 10:07 am #

        The Grand Jury is a joke and a waste of time. Don’t bother.

  7. Mike J November 12, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    I agree with CL. They conduct a survey and have several meetings to invite the public for input, and they continue with their lies and do whatever they want to do regardless. Lies, lies, lies, STILL! Why do they continue to attack the police officers? I’m sure when the police contract is expired they will negotiate for savings. That was a completely unnecessary and unethical comment for any council member to make and has nothing to do with the current situation. You can probably be guaranteed that the police association won’t be giving up anything before the the contract is expired, and by the looks of the number of officers that will be gone by the end of the year and the additional ones that’ll be gone before July, I don’t think the town will have anyone to negotiate with, except for maybe the sheriffs office.

    I feel sorry the the citizens and the officers of mammoth. It’s funny how all this talk of reductions, reorganizing, layoffs, etc. wasn’t an issue before the two town managers arrived.

    • Jen November 12, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

      We didn’t have a 29 million dollar judgment before the managers started, either. How else are we going to pay for it? No matter what they cut or how they come up with the money, people are going to be pissed.

    • President Bush November 13, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

      No kidding! I think the Forest Service takes their cue from these morons as well. Always asking for “public comment,” and attendance to their “meetings” – like it means anything. The entire US population can comment on something….but that wont make a difference.
      The decision’s been made.

      What a joke!

  8. firsttime November 12, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    I thought the fired the budget manager 6 months ago

  9. Councilman's Qualifications November 12, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    I know this sounds incredibly naive, but it has always dumfounded me that the only qualifications our “esteemed” elected officials are required to have is that received the most votes.

    What a sadly screwed up process.

    • Jen November 12, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

      It’s no more screwed up than the presidential election process

    • LOL November 13, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

      All elections are popularity contests. It is not like the process of hiring someone for a job where only qualified people can apply. Kinda like the only choices you have for president is an inexperienced community organizer and a vulture captalist.

      Standing by for thumbs down from both left and right!

  10. Charles O. Jones November 12, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

    “He also said it’s up to the police officers to renegotiate their contract for savings.”

    Dear Town council:
    Please stop negotiating with your employees through the press. At best, this is poor form, and at worst, it’s illegal.

  11. CL November 12, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

    So you did a survey for what reason then town council? Two thirds of the town doesn’t want the cuts per your survey and you’re just going to disregard? I said it before and I’ll say it now, you guys are rotten to the core. Evil

    • Stopping the American Way November 13, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

      Until it is 100% against the law for our elected officials to gain one thin dime on projects, ie., land development, fish hatcheries, airports, airport employment opportunites for relatives, etc., the system you have in place will always be a corrupt one.

      It’s to the sad point where everything must go through the expensive litigation process where lawyers always profit.

      I don’t know if John Q. Citizen can ever put a stop to this ugy part of the American Way.

      • Devout Liberal November 14, 2012 at 10:33 am #

        Stopping the American Way,

        You are so right. Just look at Solyndra. Corruption at it’s finest.

        Donations, paybacks, kick-backs, pay-offs ( Sad but true )

  12. President Bush November 12, 2012 at 10:43 am #

    And we’re letting these idiots call the shots? STILL? HAHAHA! Wake up Mammoth Lakes! I say we run them out of town – ALL OF THEM. Well, at least out of office…

    john eastman, jo bacon, rusty gregory, matthew lehman, rick wood, michael raimondo…etc etc etc


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