Mammoth Town Council views on affordable housing

37% of the workforce commutes to Mammoth Lakes. 170 more housing units are needed, according to a new housing needs assessment.  Some Mammoth Town Council members expressed their views on affordable housing.  One official called housing “an extra”,  not a necessity.

All of this came up at the last Mammoth Town Council meeting when Mammoth Lakes Housing Director Pam Hennarty talked about the new housing study.  She said the study “reaffirmed that there is still an affordable housing need.”  With unemployment and a bad economy, the situation has worsened, she said.

The study revealed that low income residents often pay as much as 35% of their income on housing.  600 households are somewhat or very dissatisfied with their housing.  Survey responses say units mltc 12-7-11need repairs or are poorly maintained.  575 households said they are overcrowded.

Hennarty said the Town needs 170 more units.  In the last eight years, Mammoth Housing has spent $42 million in grant money building or rehabilitating units and has provided 82 units.

Councilmen Skip Harvey and Rick Wood commended Hennarty for a good job and supported the need for government-supported housing units.  Councilman Wood pointed out that in 2010, the state average annual wage was $53,000 while in Mono County it was $33,000.

Wood also pointed to the study survey and the fact that half of employers who responded felt affordable housing was one of the most or the most serious problems in the community.  He said housing demand will continue to go up.  Councilman Wood said that without adequate housing, the Town can not accommodate the workers who make the beds, do the dishes and meet other needs for tourists.

Councilman Matthew Lehman was less generous in his view.  He said, “I’m one of those who thinks housing is an extra.  I personally feel that government should take as small a role as possible and leave it to the capitalist market.”

Lehman claimed that private developers are not willing to build affordable housing if they have to compete with government.  He implied that the Mammoth Lakes Housing survey was manipulated to get certain results.  Lehman added that 10% of responders are frustrated about illegal immigrants in Mammoth.

Hennarty said that she and her staff will work on a housing strategy which will go to public meetings for input in the new year.


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53 Responses to Mammoth Town Council views on affordable housing

  1. Ken Warner December 9, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

    Affordable housing is a myth created by greedy capitalists and used to finagle cheap housing for their employees so that they can pay lower wages to those employees and keep the money they should be paying as a livable wage.

    It is a scam to get other people to pay for a cheap workforce. Government grants are moneys that we all pay in the various and seemingly endless taxes that we all pay every day. Those moneys are then given back to the people and labeled “grants” Just another way to screw us while trying to appear benevolent.

    “Councilman Wood pointed out that in 2010, the state average annual wage was $53,000 while in Mono County it was $33,000.” — Could the root cause of the “need for affordable housing” be any more clear?

    Pay a living wage so people can afford to live a decent life in decent housing.

    Government sponsored housing only dilutes the pool of renters and makes renting a privately owned housing unit more difficult. Those units will stand vacant longer and reduce the money a property owner will take in thereby reducing the money available for upkeep and in extreme situations can result in the property owner being forced to sell or go into foreclosure.

    Government sponsored housing attracts unskilled, low wage people. That’s it’s primary purpose. Why is it that a good thing for the community as a whole? We should be attracting skilled, educated people — that’s what builds a vibrant community.

    It would be better for the town if grant money was used to build other kinds of infrastructure like high-tech office space — investing in renewable energy — establishing and enhancing a high speed internet for towns people. Spending money in those areas would be far more fruitful for the town as a whole than providing wage subsidies for greedy capitalists.

    • kaat December 10, 2011 at 10:16 am #

      Ken! Right on! Thanks for sharing your ideas! Let’s put them into action.

    • Borders/Language/Culture December 10, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

      Like renewable energy that does not EXIST as yet.
      Of do you propose to scatter dozens of 100 Ft wind towers across the hillsides facing west.
      And Furthermore , Councilman woods statment about an average wage of $53.000 in the state of calif is obviously not an accurate number any longer due to the fact that Ca is now closing on 18% un-employment.
      The jobs simply do not exist for your average long time citizen and resident.
      And in ending, Since verizon is basically in ownership of the fossilized and overtaxed hardwire data pipline that we are all paying premium prices for, and recieving a below standard product.
      Your idea of high speed internet is wonderfull.
      Good luck buying out VERIZON.

      • Ken Warner December 10, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

        So the geothermal plant at Casa Diablo is a mirage?

        And Woods statement is incorrect — median income is $58,931.

        You’ve fixated on Verizon for some reason. I mean our own pipeline via satellite. With our own servers.

        Take the blinders off and try thinking instead of knee jerk reactions….

  2. Nes Lessman December 9, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    Any new affordable or “workforce” housing should include wider parking slots for all of those Cadillac Escalades.

  3. Terry December 9, 2011 at 6:49 pm #


    Perhaps the eastside of Bishop would be to your liking where multiple families live under one roof. They might have a shed for you to hang your head and play the little violin!

    • Ken Warner December 10, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

      So you don’t want people to be paid a decent wage so they can live decent lives?

      • Terry December 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

        People should be paid for what their skills and education call for instead of showing up and expecting to be provided for. America was built on this principle and it should continue instead of the entitlement mentality. Cost of living is higher in CA. If people don’t have “decent lives” here, then pack up and move to the North Dakota oil fields. I’m tired of the “woe be me” and “where’s my hand-out” mentality.

        • Borders/Language/Culture December 12, 2011 at 8:46 am #

          Very good post, takes me back to the days before the brainwashing of america began.
          Before the internet, Before X-box , Before cradle to grave excuses and government aid.
          Before our children became so coddled as to become unable to grow up and become adults.
          Before every county and city in california decided to look the other way and put the health and welfare of over 10 million illegal alien criminals above the best interests of its own citizens.
          And i am justified in calling them criminals, because their first step into my country is a definate criminal act.

          • Friar Tuck December 12, 2011 at 11:54 am #

            The American way was occupying someone else’s land and saying we live here now.Today we call that an illegal invasion, people that repeat this behavior are now criminals, our relatives that committed the same acts are called patriots, I still scratch my head on this one.

            I’m tired of those who attempt to rewrite history by portraying our forefathers and countries history in a more honorable manner than they actually were. The facts are available for anyone seeking the truth.

            The world is changing at an ever rapid pace, all the wishing in the world will never change that. Adapt or perish is the lesson I’ve learned from history. These are the good old days, quit wasting time with lies of yesterday with more lies of today. Try opening your eyes to what is the reality of today and possibilities of tomorrow by living in the present.

            Maybe Boarders should exercise his own advice and move before you go the way of the dinosaurs?

        • upthecreek December 12, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

          “People should be paid for what their skills and education call for instead of showing up and expecting to be provided for”

          Are you saying all these people with Public Pensions and government jobs are a “scam on society”.

          Well if you are ..I would tend to agree with you..


          • Ken Warner December 12, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

            So you want no government jobs? Like the FAA air traffic controllers? The Border Patrol? The Forest Service? EPA so you have clean water? FEMA in case of natural disaster? All the people who work to keep your roads clear? The FDA people who make sure your medicine is safe? The various education departments who helped you get whatever education you now have. The FCC who make sure your internet connection works so you can make insane rants whenever you want?

            And Public Pensions are funded by the people who get them who pay into pension funds.

            You are simply deluded and uninformed…..

          • upthecreek December 12, 2011 at 10:47 pm #

            @ ken

            Yes we do need “Some” gov. jobs.

            What we can do without is the “Public pension” funded by the lonely TAX payer.

            unfunded public pensions just in Taxifornia are over 500 billion dollars.

            Call me “deluded and uninformed ”
            No sir. I’m just awake.

            poor poor sheeple…


  4. Friar Tuck December 9, 2011 at 10:52 pm #

    Housing is an “extra” when you own more than one. Arrogance on the other hand is “those” with an “extra” sense of entitlement.

    The capitalists have been allowed to bankrupt this town because of the lack of governance by our elected officials. They are now pulling the strings to structure a settlement with MLLA that will have little impact on their business interest. The fleecing of the town’s tax dollars for their benefit will continue.

    The 10% of responders who are frustrated about illegal immigrants in Mammoth, are most likely those who can’t afford to exploit them or must compete with them for part of that $33,000 average annual slave wage. If this is a real concern, why not propose an e-verify program? My guess is this was nothing more than lip service, pandering for votes at the expense of those exploited by the town’s crony capitalism.

    • Borders/Language/Culture December 10, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

      It is obvious that your OPEN BORDERS stance is due to your use of the old supply and demand sales ideal.
      Given the demand of your addiction , The source of your supply no longer matters to you.

    • Borders/Language/Culture December 12, 2011 at 9:00 am #

      Tuck , you sound un-happy with your life.
      If the capitalist AMERICAN system is not your cup of tea, why not renounce your citizenship and find a new home where you can be all you can be.
      perhaps europe, perhaps asia,perhaps even canada, yes CANADA.
      In canada you will have a new and fresh start, without that old lead weight called the bill of rights and the constitutrion to slow you down.
      Yes, in canada you will be free that cursed old hardship that human beings are stuck with , Self Reliance.
      You will be FREE to feed off of the teat of society and live your life exactly like the state commands you.
      Yes, a far less stressfull life awaits you tuck.
      Good luck now.

      • Benett Kessler December 12, 2011 at 9:49 am #

        Dear Borders,
        We might mention to you that our founding fathers pointed out that the downfall of Democracy could be
        capitalism. A little self-examination of even the best system in the world, comprised of flawed humans,
        never hurts.
        Benett Kesler

        • Borders/Language/Culture December 12, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

          With all due respect benett, most flaws can be overcome, unless congenital.
          And my founding fathers intended this Union to be a REPUBLIC, Not a democracy.
          And can you please be specific as to which founding founding fathers made that statment , and in which book or text it exists.

          • Benett Kessler December 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

            In fact, there are many flaws that can only be overcome with great, lifetime effort and some not even then. You clearly hold a more severe view of life than I. America is the great philosophical experiment where, as you point out, a Republic protects individual rights and the concept of Democracy encourages all to participate. The fact is we are all in this together. We do not have a monarch who points to those who deserve help and those who don’t. Check out Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence for the purpose of government – to protect the rights of individuals – life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. It doesn’t say protection of the elite perfect.

            In fact, it was Thomas Jefferson who made many statements warning against the pitfalls of capitalism – primarily the fault of many, who perhaps you think are the deserving – greed. Capitalism leaves the door wide open for the greedy unless there are some regulations to maintain a balance. You can check out the internet for Jefferson and capitalism.

            Benett Kessler

          • Tourbillon December 12, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

            Borders, no need to take Benett up on her advice to check out the Internet to locate Jefferson quotes supporting her belief that he “warned against the pitfalls of capitalism.” I have done it for you:

            “A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.”

          • Ken Warner December 12, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

            Yeah, our founding fathers and slave owners who spawned illegitimate children by the dozens and lived off the sweat of their human chattel.

            Why do the uninformed get all proud and puffy chested when they instill imaginary virtue on our “founding fathers” They where just a bunch of thugs like most people. In some countries the would be called insurgents and today would be setting off road side bombs.

            I find all those references to the virtues of those people a little hard to take.

          • Benett Kessler December 12, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

            Our founding fathers were just men, not saints. But, they were highly intelligent and wise men in some important respects. They dealt with the realities of their times (slavery) and managed to create an enlightened framework for a new society.
            Benett Kessler

      • Friar Tuck December 12, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

        Au Contraire, Mon Frère Boarders;

        I’m neither unhappy or angry at 9.00 in the morning. Thanks for your concern and advice but I don’t think you’re in the position to offer either constructively.

        Take care of that blood pressure, it’s a silent killer.

  5. Justin December 11, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    I agree with what Ken has said about paying people a living wage so that they can afford decent housing, instead of subsidizing out of public funds. I also remember hearing from a long-time Mammoth resident about a rapacious builder who took money (from the town?) to build affordable housing, but built high-end single family homes and raked in the profits instead. Can this happen again? And can we trust (some of) our current council members to see that it does not happen?

    • sierragrl December 12, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

      I think you could say it just did happen again….the same exact guy (BT), a beloved older figure in both the mammoth and bishop communities, was able to purchase the shady rest tract from the USFS for a very low sum, mostly because the town had zoned the parcel ‘low income or affordable’ housing. The developer took his low cost land and sold it for millions more then he paid! That’s right, no entitlements nothing. Just the raw land for millions more. So the new owner cries before the town, but I paid so much, I can’t make any money if I build only affordable housing. So the town wants to build a town govt center on this land, so they say if you will donate land for a town center, we’ll up your allowed density and let you build some non-affordable housing units. Then the recession hit. I’m sure this will raise its ugly head again.

  6. downthecreek December 11, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

    government needs to stay out of all the markets.

  7. John Barton December 12, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

    The post by “Terry” doesn’t mention anything about illegals or taking over a country. It refers to people who are here now by whatever means should not expect a “decent wage” by simply showing up without qualifications to justify whatever one considers a decent wage. I agree fully with Terry and would suggest “Friar” check history facts as well. If he is referring to the European displacement of native Americans, then history will show native Americans were pretty good at displacing each other too.

  8. Friar Tuck December 12, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    John, you are correct, Boarders did and my reply was directed to his factually false statement .

    “Before every county and city in california decided to look the other way and put the health and welfare of over 10 million illegal alien criminals above the best interests of its own citizens.
    And i am justified in calling them criminals, because their first step into my country is a definate criminal act”.

    Now for your comment John:

    ” European displacement of native Americans, then history will show native Americans were pretty good at displacing each other too.” Both factually true John. Americans then displaced British,French, Native Americans, Mexicans et cetera. by any means necessary including force, theft and death too.

    So what is your point? That people coaxed here today by illegal jobs for illegal employers should be subjected to inhumane treatment and/ or living conditions and wages? The social problems for those who fail to adapt to this country are then passed on to society for the actions of the greedy? Wake up, somebody’s paying, just not those profiting from the cheap labor you and Terry both condone.

    Call me crazy but I humbly disagree with this vision of America’s future. This represents a modern day slavery model, one that has torn this country apart once before and could very easily do it again.

    Remember the original point, “housing is an extra” and illegals were brought up by the council man.

    Nice spin attempt though, you’ll get some of the not so bright with it.

    Do the cities of Vernon or Bell jar anybodies memory?

    • Borders/Language/Culture December 12, 2011 at 11:33 pm #

      And i am also tired of your revisionist history and outright lies.
      For your information , at the time of the decraration and long after.
      the number of mexicans living on the land now known as the United States was under 500, and 90% of those were living within the walls of california missions for protection against bandits amd native indians.
      In fact, it was those same x-patriot mexicans who begged our young republic for stathood so as gain the protection of the army against the constant harrassment and slaughter by native indians.
      So in truth, Without the help of the White Europeans , many mexican american familys may not exist today.
      Are there any other topics i can help you with.
      I am blessed with a wealth of historically factual information, i own books that have been removed from most city and state libraries due to their content .
      the lies that are bieng taught in our schools will not be allowed to florish.

      • Ken Warner December 13, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

        Here’s a summary of the history of Mexico which held a large portion of what is now the Western United States until well into the middle of the 19’th century. So the statement that, “…number of mexicans living on the land now known as the United States was under 500…” might need to be qualified more clearly.

        • Ken Warner December 15, 2011 at 6:02 am #

          giggle — two out of three people don’t like history — that’s definitely a Republican constituency…

      • Friar Tuck December 13, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

        I’m speechless Boarders!

    • John Barton December 13, 2011 at 7:41 am #

      Instead of trying to change the topic multiple times in your posts, let’s focus on one issue at a time.

      Once again I’ll have to refer to Terry’s post in that if people (illegal or not) don’t feel that they are earning a “decent wage” then they should do the following: 1. educate themselves, 2. move 3. Go back to their own country and start a revolution to improve conditions, end corruption etc. The French, Americans and Mexicans have all done so successfully in the past.

      If it is the wish of the general readership to turn this thread into a immigration policy debate, I’m all for it.

      • Friar Tuck December 13, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

        Spin any way you want John, I haven’t the time for your nonsense.

  9. o2lvnmmth December 14, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    talk about getting off topic people. Here’s the facts, many families (whites and hispanics both) live in small, non-weather tight homes that they pay a lot more for then their incomes support. On top of that, they pay out hundreds in heating bills (even keeping the temp below 63 f). And they drive beater cars that are risky to travel out of mammoth. These families often have single breadwinners who work permanent jobs (some the same job for many years), yet they don’t get paid enough to support their family. My preference is jobs that pay a living wage….but right now, that is not happening. So therefore, affordable housing programs in a community like ours are imperative. Get a living wage in place, then these programs can go away.

    • Rob December 15, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

      You want a living wage it starts by forcing employers to use legal hiring practices and then paying those they hire according to State & Federal law.

      Neither of which will probably ever happen in TOML.

      • skier December 15, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

        You go Rob!

      • Borders/language/Culture December 17, 2011 at 1:42 am #

        Legal Hiring Practices.
        Good Idea.
        Contact our rep Buck M and demand he adds his voice to the other politicians in DC who are attempting to provide the United States citizen with the E-Verify identification card.
        Once it becomes impossible for illegal aliens to gain or maintain employment within our borders then the only option left open to the 20-25 million scofflaws will be self deportation.
        and the wages will rise accordingly.

    • Terry December 15, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

      That’s all lovely in fairyland but there are plenty driving their Escalades with 20″ wheels to their “small, non-weather tight homes”. It is about cultural differences and priorties. Jobs that are in demand will pay in accordance with what supply will bear. There is an overabundance of people with little to no skills. It is also worth mentioning that there are a number of cities around the US that are now paying over $10/hr minimum wage. If you’re not making it here then move where you think you’ll be paid what you’re worth.

      • Rob December 16, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

        Terry- I agree however before we have people moving out of town lets at least play by the same employment regulations.

    • Big Rick O'Brien December 15, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

      Wayne, people don’t go to Mammoth primarily to ski…they go for the NIGHT-LIFE, and THEN ski, or snowboard. The thing that amazes me is that Mammoth PD can keep it all together with the meager amount of officers they have.

    • Big Rick O'Brien December 15, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

      I have always lived by the basic rule that if all you can do is make beds and run a vacuum cleaner, you have NO BUSINESS having a family in the first place. If you can’t support yourself AND your children, DON”T HAVE THEM! Problem solved.

      • Rob December 16, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

        Hey Big Rick – It’s degradation of society when the poor and uneducated are having more babies then the educated and financially capable.

        • Wayne Deja December 16, 2011 at 8:07 pm #

          What Rob is trying to say is couples that don’t have a good education or a high paying job should somehow not be able….or allowed… to have a family or children.What a great society that would be….only the rich should be blessed with children….

          • Ken Warner December 17, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

            We could never have any policy that constrains parenthood because we are too humane (read stupid). And it makes too much sense to restrict people who can’t take care of a child from having a child. We do not worship common sense in this country.

            China has a different attitude and maybe that’s why China is the new World Superpower.

            In China —

            The one-child policy refers to the one-child limitation applying to a minority of families in the population control policy of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The Chinese government refers to it under the official translation of family planning policy.

            It officially restricts married, urban couples to having only one child, while allowing exemptions for several cases, including rural couples, ethnic minorities, and parents without any siblings themselves.

            A spokesperson of the Committee on the One-Child Policy has said that approximately 35.9% of China’s population is currently subject to the one-child restriction. The Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau are completely exempt from the policy. Also exempt from this law are foreigners living in China.

            The policy was introduced in 1978 and initially applied to first-born children in the year of 1978. It was created by the Chinese government to alleviate social, economic, and environmental problems in China, And authorities claim that the policy has prevented between 250 and 300 million births from its implementation until 2000 and 400 million births from 1979 to 2011.

            The policy is controversial both within and outside China because of the manner in which the policy has been implemented, and because of concerns about negative social consequences. The policy has been implicated in an increase in forced abortions, female infanticide, and under reporting of female births, and has been suggested as a possible cause behind China’s gender imbalance. Nonetheless, a 2008 survey undertaken by the Pew Research Center reported that 76% of the Chinese population supports the policy.

  10. o2lvnmmth December 14, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    matthew lehman…housing is not an extra, don’t know how you can say that. As far as private industry building affordable housing, YOU, Mr. Lehman, have a big say in that. For example, the Shady Rest tract…The USFS sold that tract to a developer dirt cheap, to allow for and encourage the construction of affordable housing. With that low purchase price, the developer could easily built duet homes, some condos, maybe some smaller SFRs all to be sold at mkt prices (but as smaller homes, at less then the average home prices). But, instead he sold the land to a developer who had no intention of building quality, but smaller, affordable homes, because he knew he could get the town council to change the zoning. The town council actually encourages higher housing prices by giving in to developers who pay too much for the land (thus driving up prices) and then who claim the only way they can make money is by building large SFR’s instead of more modest places. That’s all that gets built in Mammoth, huge homes geared toward wealthy second home owners. Make your legacy Mr. lehman, let’s see some middle class LIVABLE homes built.

  11. Wayne Deja December 15, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    Advance the calender to 2020…or maybe 2013….And there is that tour bus packed with visitors to the Sierras’….driving up HWY.395,and about to make the right turn on 203.And the tour guide getting on the microphone,stating “We are about to enter the ghost town of Mammoth Lakes”….I have NEVER seen such a screwed up town….in so many ways….and all because of greed back in the late 70’s and 80’s….And judging from a lot of posts,an easy thing to blame for the town’s problems has now become immigration issues…..QUESTION……Why on earth would ANYONE want to live…or even visit(for more than an hour or so) the town of Mammoth Lakes?What does Mammoth have that June Lake doesn’t ….besides the numereous bars and taverns to get drunk.

  12. esfotoguy December 16, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    ???????? greed in the late 90s

  13. Borders/language/Culture December 17, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    Most of you youngsters have no idea how good you have it.
    You complain about the rich, and all the whiile you live a quality of life that far exeeds 90% of all other people on this planet.
    How many of your children are willing to go out and work at twelve or thirteen years old when they want that $400 x box or that $2000 motorcycle.
    because they expect it.
    Nothing is valued when everthing comes easy.
    When we were kids we coveted our property because we earned it.
    When you work odd jobs for a year and a half in order to earn $60 dollars to buy a stingray bike you begin to learn the american dream.

    • sierragrl December 17, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

      you think no youngsters today go out and work at 13 or so? You just showed how out of touch you are…you speak based on no actual knowledge at all…just open your eyes old man and see the real world…you know how many high schoolers I know who are going to school full time, playing sports, and holding down 25 hour a week jobs? a lot…they can only do this because they have to work and they don’t want to give up their high school years. ..that’s dedication and hard work…if you want to be biased at least have something to base it on

      • Wayne Deja December 19, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

        sierragirl is right….The twelve and thirteen year olds ARE willing to go out and mow yards,rake leaves, etc.and make $$$$….It’s the nineteen,twenty-plus year olds that are the lazy ones……

    • Wayne Deja December 17, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

      “How many of the kids nowdays are willing to go out and work at twelve or thirteen?…How about how many are willing to go out and work at eighteen or nineteen,if the job doesn’t pay $15.00 an hour?….In my town….not too many.

    • Big Rick O'Brien December 17, 2011 at 11:30 pm #

      And we had to go out & mow lawns & pick up soda bottles to pay for a new inner tube when that stingray got a flat tire.


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