As most suspected, the Christmas season and recent holiday drew booming business to Mammoth Lakes’ stores. Mammoth Tourism Director John Urdi told the Town Council this week that retailers, lodging and restaurants report breaking records.
Urdi said bookings remain strong and the number of air service passengers has gone up this season – some 20% to 30% more passengers in the San Francisco, San Diego and Orange County routes. 12% in the Los Angeles route. Early snow, he said, and the advertising of it, gave Mammoth momentum.
On a different business note, new Mammoth Lakes Chamber of Commerce President Jack Copeland, stood up at the Council meeting to say, “We are pro-development of business but not at any expense. We want reasonable, responsible and sustainable growth.” Copeland said, “It’s very clear Vons needs to expand and even get a facelift.” But, he said, there could be unintended consequences to other businesses.
Copeland repeated that the Chamber is not anti-growth but that small businesses should be considered if growth comes up. He added that the Chamber hopes the community will be “development-ready” when growth comes back.
Meanwhile, Town government continues to shrink. Earlier, the Town Council had made it clear they would eliminate the Mobility and Airport Commissions to save staff time and money in their push to pay off the big lawsuit debt.
Eric Wasserman, a Mobility Commission member, stood up to take the Council to task for how they informed commissioners about this elimination. He said he received an email December 26th about a meeting to get rid of the commission January 2nd. He said he got no response form his reply email.
Mayor Matthew Lehman apologized for the feeling that the Commission was not respected. “That was not intended,” said Lehman. “You’ve done a lot of heavy lifting.” He said at some point the Town may decide to bring back the commissions. Later in the meeting, Town Manager Dave Wilbrecht also apologized to commissions for short notice. The
Council then voted unanimously to eliminate the Mobility and Airport Commissions.
And on an up note, the Council noticed Mammoth Police Officer Doug Hornbeck for 15 years of Service. Police Chief Dan Watson said Hornbeck has worked as a detective until recently and likely will again. Watson called Hornbeck “a really good example of the benefit of small town police departments.” The Chief said Hornbeck lives in town, knows many and is a bridge between the police department and the community. He said Hornbeck is the kind of seasoned officer that makes any department better.