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Hard times for Mammoth Lakes

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Hard times for Mammoth Lakes

Postby Alpinist » Tue Jul 03, 2012 5:48 am

They declared bankruptcy on Monday...

Source.
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Re: Hard times for Mammoth Lakes

Postby Kahuna » Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:01 am

This has been in the works for well over two years now. Fact is, the town is led by nothing more than a bunch of fiscal inept arrogant morons that do not want to come to terms with the facts of modern day realities. They literally can not see past their noses.

They had the opportunity to resolve this MLLA issue over three years ago. They went to court and did the opposite of what their counsel recommended they do. The judge found for MLLA as the town presented no counter offer, insisting that they should not pay a dime. Since then, they have done nothing but stall and complain that the legal system wronged them. Their appeal went way south late last Fall when they went to court with the same arrogant ignorant attitude. The appeals judge slammed them with a notice to pay up the original sum plus interest. Again, the town leaders cried foul and did not accept the reality. Saturday was the date set to pay up.

They have terminated over two dozen plus employees in the past month. Good dedicated hard working people. Many that have been in place for over 30 plus years. Yet the local Police Chief of only 3 or so years, continues to get a $300K plus a year salary voted him by the Town Council. All the while he too had to terminate two of his Patrol Officers just last week for lack of funds. All the while he keeps his current salary.

It is going to get a lot worse for the Town of Mammoth Lakes before it gets better. Unfortunately, it is no ones fault but the local people who sat back and allowed their Town Council to continue and make these totally insane and inept decisions.
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Re: Hard times for Mammoth Lakes

Postby simonov » Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:17 pm

Sounds a little like what happened to Half Moon Bay.

I was deeply involved in local city politics about ten years ago. City councils are often out of control due to voter apathy (more interested in voting for President than the local council whose decisions actually affect them more). On the other hand, it's also relatively easy for a dedicated individual or group to lobby city governments and effect change. Been there, done that.
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Re: Hard times for Mammoth Lakes

Postby obsidian » Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:36 pm

A5RP,
I love your comment (above),...sounds pretty accurate too.
It's unfortunate that the local politicians responsible for the debacle are not liable for monetary damages.
Last edited by obsidian on Fri Jul 06, 2012 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hard times for Mammoth Lakes

Postby asmrz » Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:48 pm

Mammoth Lakes, yet another small California town that forgot its roots and history. The LA suburbia's poisonous influence, the mindless desire for more development, the even you can get rich in Mammoth attitude, the corporate greed, all of these combined to make Mammoth a gigantic mess. It is not likely to get on even keel soon, if ever.
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Re: Hard times for Mammoth Lakes

Postby Alpinist » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:21 am

simonov wrote:Sounds a little like what happened to Half Moon Bay.

I was deeply involved in local city politics about ten years ago. City councils are often out of control due to voter apathy (more interested in voting for President than the local council whose decisions actually affect them more). On the other hand, it's also relatively easy for a dedicated individual or group to lobby city governments and effect change. Been there, done that.

I'm not familiar with the situation in Mammoth but you're absolutely right about HMB. A close friend of mine lives on Terrace Ave. His house backs up against that empty field they've been trying to develop for years. He vents to me once in a while about how the developer is trying to build a gazzillion tiny homes back there when the Coastal Commission approved a plan for fewer/larger homes. The HMB city planners seem willing to give the developer whatever he wants but thankfully the CC is holding firm on its decision.

He's got some interesting stories to tell, like how the developer sent a bulldozer to level the field in the middle of the night a couple of weeks before the environmental impact survey was to be conducted, you know, to make sure there are no endangered critters to be found....or so that the field is not deemed to be a wetland. (That's illegal.)
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Re: Hard times for Mammoth Lakes

Postby lcarreau » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:57 pm

asmrz wrote:Mammoth Lakes, yet another small California town that forgot its roots and history. The LA suburbia's poisonous influence, the mindless desire for more development ...


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Re: Hard times for Mammoth Lakes

Postby Kahuna » Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:23 pm

Mammoth Lakes forgot it's "roots"? Oh yes they have. In this case, had it not been for a "developer", this would all be a completely moot point. The Town of Mammoth Lakes was created by Dave McCoy and his dream of developing a ski area back in the late 40's and then making it so in the early 50's. Had he not followed through on his vision, there would be no Mammoth Lakes. People here have totally lost track of that reality. It is a Ski Resort. Nothing more and nothing less. Without the "The Mountain" and all the people and their money from So Cal and the rest of the world that come to ski here, it all goes away.

Today, many in this town want the "developers" out. Ranting how those "developers" have infected the spirit of the "locals". Oh how their ignorance and selfishness incites their inability to realize that they are cutting off their legs, arms, ears and are just short of cutting off their heads.

The village of June Lake is now suddenly realizing how much impact the "developer" has on their existence. For years they too have been crying to rid themselves of these "developers". Well, that "developer" has shut it's operation down. MMSA will not open June Mtn this summer nor next winter. All of sudden, the locals are demanding an explanation and insist that they be saved.

Again, people for the most part around here need to remember their roots and why their quaint little mountain town exists. Without the "developer" and all the hundreds of thousands of visitors that come annually to utilize what the "developer" has created, they no longer have a town. Period.
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Re: Hard times for Mammoth Lakes

Postby phydeux » Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:49 pm

Sad to see Mammoth Lakes fall on its face. Been following this for a few years and I'd put the blame on the city council members and city staff who developed that airport/developer contract. They didn't leave themselves an escape clause if the FAA denied the airport enlargement plan (which I believe was what happened and triggered the whole debacle). Personally, I couldn't see how they could squeeze a larger airport into that valley-type area next to Hwy 395 so larger commercial planes could take off and land there (talk was of 757s, but even Embraer or Bombardier 'regional-size' jets would have been tricky to get in and out). Sad to see June Mtn get snuffed - the less crowded slopes made the skiing more fun (great place to practice telemark turns :) )

A little subjectivity here: The town's lifeblood definately is the tourist trade, but the town itself could have done a better job in planning where everything goes. Granted, I wouldn't want to see a sterile, highly planned community like Irvine, CA, but also not a hodge-podge where industry/homes/commercial districts are totally mixed together. Always thought Mammoth Lakes was more skewed towards the latter category.
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Re: Hard times for Mammoth Lakes

Postby Kahuna » Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:24 pm

phydeux wrote: Personally, I couldn't see how they could squeeze a larger airport into that valley-type area next to Hwy 395 so larger commercial planes could take off and land there (talk was of 757s, but even Embraer or Bombardier 'regional-size' jets would have been tricky to get in and out).


No way could that have ever been developed here. It would then be just like this one that exists in a far more intense geographical location and has been in operation as a Class B airport for over 20 some years now:
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Eagle Vail Regional Airport
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Re: Hard times for Mammoth Lakes

Postby Kahuna » Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:51 pm

The FAA was all for the proposed "expansion plan" of the Mammoth Yosemite Airport. But, the MLLA development clause was not included in the original "ALP" that was approved by the FAA prior to the Land Acquisition Plan which the Town Council voted to allow back in 1997 and then subsequently reneged on. That was the conflict of interest. It was the lack of research on the Town's leadership part before they voted for it that started the disaster ball rolling. Then the finger pointing began.

This prevailing behavior on the Town's leaderships part in the past 17 or so years, has been the prime mover in all that is occurring today. Sadly, not only does it continue, but it is getting worse, not better. Seems they do not want to learn from all their prior mistakes.
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Re: Hard times for Mammoth Lakes

Postby Fletch » Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:06 pm

Amazing that an airport did them in and not the police/fire/public sector pension costs that has BK'd other CA towns...

Sad day for Mammoth, but I think CA is in for more BK's as cities/counties come to the realization that all their fiscal projections done in 2000-2008 were crap (they have been 'hoping' that the stock market and tax revenues would bail them out - but alas no...).

Ironically, I think Mammoth's problems are fixable (as others have said, it's only a matter of time before a new regime steps in), while CA's problems in general won't be fixed for a long time (if ever). The DJIA hitting 15,000 and median home prices north of $400k only give short term reassurances that their crap models are sustainable...

I really feel bad though... I love CA and have spent more time in Mammoth than most places, but CA is out of control (see France's new president). One of the main reasons I left... :cry:
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Re: Hard times for Mammoth Lakes

Postby asmrz » Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:53 pm

McCoy was not a developer in today's sense of the word. He was a skier in the first place, he developed a California mountain, lived and skied on it most of his life. He lived and preached sustained development and Mammoth did very well. When he got old he sold it to corporation that owned ski areas elsewhere and their investments in the skiing were for profit only, a big difference.

Ever since that time, Mammoth went to hell. Everything done to Mammoth since that time was profit motivated, not sport, not skiing, nor outdoor experience motivated like during the McCoy era, profit in the first place. The town just went along with developers, embraced the concept for the town and the area. Getting rich was reasonable and expected, just build some more condos, etc...

I have not been in Mammoth skiing for many years. I do not need yet another big city experience in the mountains. Lately, it looks to me like I'm not the only one. There is a limit to what you can squeeze out of people. People are staying away. Only the really wealthy can afford to ski these days. I keep my AT set up sharp.

And with June Lake, remember the Swiss owners? I do. I skied there for years. Did more then one appraisal of lodges there as well. Mammoth Mountain will have to clear and clean June of all the skiing equipment, lifts etc. to put it into pristine condition to be able to return it to Forest Service. I bet you an independent NEW owner will be found before this all shakes down. June's population just would not dance with the developers like Mammoth did, and I don't blame the people, I would not either.
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Re: Hard times for Mammoth Lakes

Postby Kahuna » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:55 pm

Alois,

You are correct in saying that Dave was not a "developer". But, let us not forget that the sale took place only seven years ago, in 2005. Rusty Gregory, which Dave groomed for over 15 years to take over as CEO, owns 49% of the stock in MMSA. The town of Mammoth Lakes began expanding in the late 80's after the 87' earthquake. That is when began to flourish. Many ran and dumped their property for penny's on the dollar. That is when the "developers" began showing up. Dave McCoy incorporated his "Marketing Dept" in '91.

My point is that without MMSA being in place, the town is nothing. If MMSA goes away, so does the Town of Mammoth Lakes.

As far as June, I first skied it back in the mid 70's. Used to drive down from NAS Fallon NV (a little over a two hour drive) and ski every chance I could as the folks that owned it then ( the Swiss as you mention), allowed the military to buy their annual unlimited ski passes for only $50.00 back then. I never went any where near Mammoth. Up until I started working up at MMSA in '06, I only held a June Pass (did so for over 20 something years) and strictly skied there. So, I am very well acquainted with the situ in June and in Mammoth. I began skiing at Mammoth in the late 60's as my brother was part owner of an original Condo then.

This whole issue could had been avoided had the Town's leadership, in both communities, researched their facts and looked at all the dots and crossed t's before making many of the decisions that they have over the past 18 years. Most of these blunders were made long before Dave McCoy sold his share to Rusty and Starwood Capital.

Believe me as well, Dave McCoy was well informed and had much to do with many of the development dealings that were occurring down at the Airport since 1996.

Here are some real facts:

"Over the next 68 years, this affable, compact Paul Bunyan cleared land, groomed slopes, laid concrete, maneuvered cranes and even forged his own tools to transform Mammoth Mountain into a ski resort for Southern Californians and a community for his employees.

McCoy, who never kept a planner on his desk, launched the town's first water district, fire department, high school and college, and he often dispatched his crews to fix a resident's plumbing problem or to patch a leaky roof. Untold numbers of people have received financial help, even property, from McCoy over the years."


-http://articles.latimes.com/2005/mar/27/local/me-mammoth27


Mammoth Lakes was built by Dave McCoy and MMSA. Many seem to forget that.
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Re: Hard times for Mammoth Lakes

Postby asmrz » Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:27 am

I hear your point.

My point is that only reasonably sustained development has the potential for long term well-being of the area. Mammoth Lakes forgot that concept and went all out with the developers, all of them outsiders. Now it is payback time.

The airport is a lost cause too. Out of state people will not fly to California for snow, why should they, they have Utah and Colorado. LA folks are far better off if they drive, with distance, parking and going through airport security, the time to get to Mammoth is about even and prices for flying will be sky high without competition. The airport is another big city concept that does not fit Mammoth.

What Mammoth needs is people who think locally rather then globally. Mammoth Lakes needs to stay within itself, not try to compete with Aspen or Sun Valley. Again that is what the outsiders (developers, etc) want.
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