MLTC hears about Whitmore funding, need for police

In three weeks, as it stands now, the Mammoth Town Council will make the final decision on how to restructure their town government. At a special meeting Tuesday night, the Council heard about the issue of how to save Whitmore Pool with Measure R tax money, how to raise taxes and get out of the huge debt, how to avoid trouble by not cutting police, and how business leaders continue talks over a Business Improvement District.

Members of the Mammoth Recreation Commission, who met Tuesday, offered up two options at Tuesday night’s Council meeting on the use of Measure R money for Whitmore Pool. Plan A suggests the Town find money somewhere else. Plan B calls for use of Measure R money for two years with plans for improved recreation facilities after that.

Recreation Commissioner Bill Sauser said commissioners themselves are divided on what to do. John Wentworth of Mammoth Lakes Trails seemed to support a temporary use of Measure R money on Whitmore.

Dieter Fiebriger, long-time citizen, said of the whole money mess, “Stop finger pointing. Pay for it.” He suggested a specific tax that would tap everyone and end it in five years. “Pay it off,” he said, “so we won’t lose our public safety and other needs.” Another long-timer, Ken Coulter said if police cuts go forward, “We are going to get into trouble.”

Councilwoman Jo Bacon did not support a loan from Measure R since it would be very difficult to pay it back. She did not rule out use of Measure R money. Councilman John Eastman did not support use of money from any tax measure but said the Town could look elsewhere. Councilman Michael Raimondo supported a two-year plan and use of Measure R. Councilman Rick Wood said only, “I’m still listening.” Mayor Matthew Lehman said he would support a two-year use of Measure R or use of other money if it becomes available. Lehman said he wants to see Mammoth’s budget grow from $17 million a year to $25 million per year.

Marianna Marysheva-Martinez spoke briefly again about possible taxes that the public could vote on. She said they would have to be brought forward by January or February for a special election. She and Tourism Director John Urdi spoke of the Business Improvement District idea. Check out our website for Urdi’s complete explanation. Bottom line – this would mean a possible 1% assessment on lodging, restaurants and some retail to raise $1.4 million for air service subsidy and some marketing.

The Council’s next meeting, at this point, comes up December 5th.


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29 Responses to MLTC hears about Whitmore funding, need for police

  1. upthecreek November 14, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    “Marianna Marysheva-Martinez spoke briefly again about possible taxes that the public could vote on”

    Please explain to me why she is still here? How long is here contract with the Town?

    Govt gone wild

    Spend Spend Spend
    Tax Tax Tax
    Cut Cut Cut….


    • Benett Kessler November 14, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

      I think her contract goes to or through March.

      • Dumb comments of a few folks November 15, 2012 at 11:21 am #

        These posts make me sick. If town residents want to have an effect on the decisions the town makes then they should bring their ideas through proper avenues, posting negative comments about towncouncil members and employees in a non-productive manor (through these types of comments on websites) is just faceless cyber bullying. It contributes no positive actions towards the resolution of the town problems. Quit acting like teenagers and contribute respectfully and properly or shut up and accept how things are.

        Bennett Kessler, you paint the picture of the news topics you cover, and therefore, how these comments roll out. You allow this type of cyber bullying to occur… its as distastefull as FOX news, fair and balanced… BS.

        • Re: Dumb comments November 15, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

          This poster clearly is not aware of how this Town Council functions:

          One guy tried to use his influence to get a relative hired
          Another guy is an attorney his with fingers in lots of pies
          The two above have been around forever
          A new guy is a land developer …

          And the entire process is hidden from the public behind closed doors away from the prying eyes of We the People.

          The poster who is now going after Bennett Kessler, must have some connection to one or more of the suspicious subjects in question and/or naively believes that We the People can just waltz in and put a stop to corruption in our town by insisting the council does business up front for all to see.

        • J.J. November 15, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

          These post accomplished one more thing than the town survey. Drink two beers and call me in the morning.

        • upthecreek November 15, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

          if they make you sick..
          Why do you read them?


        • Ken Warner November 16, 2012 at 10:33 am #

          You make a good point. The people here complain about their tax money being spent inappropriately when they have the right to petition for a referendum to repeal those taxes.

          If the people take away the taxes that they voted on themselves, then those moneys can’t be spent.

          Repeal U and R! Let the BID deal with their own taxes. If they want to increase or support more taxes on themselves, I wish them all the best.

    • Why 2 town managers? November 14, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

      MMM reminds me of my corporate days when some people were brilliant at making power-point presentations complete with graphs and such and bombarding the audience with number and figures, more numbers and figures ad nauseum, that leaves the audience confused and numbed-out. At the end of her mind-numbing and confusing presentations, I have noticed that when asks: “Are there any questions?” not once has the board replied.

      Nice work if you can get it, I suppose. But does our town need two town managers?

      • Benett Kessler November 14, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

        That’s a question for debate. Another point – we really don’t know what Ms. Martinez has done. The real work in the past year on the MLLA issue was all behind closed doors and privately conducted.

        • Good Point November 15, 2012 at 9:05 am #

          Good point, but at least she apparently did something. What do we really know about what Wilbrecht does other than the pap that’s in his job description? What makes him so valuable as to justify $300,000 a year in salary and benefits, more than any comparable government employee in Mono or Inyo?

          If the Police Chief’s salary can be cut $50,000, why can’t Wilbrecht’s as well? Worst case, he’d just retire on his inflated PERS pension, courtesy of the Town, and move back to Washington to avoid state income taxes.

          • upthecreek November 15, 2012 at 11:25 am #

            “What do we really know about what Wilbrecht does other than the pap that’s in his job description?”

            Be nice to him …. He needs a nice warm office to rest until he can qualify for his Full (HUGE) Public Pension and benefits package.


          • upthecreek November 15, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

            “he’d just retire on his inflated PERS pension, courtesy of the Town, and move back to Washington to avoid state income taxes.”

            Glad to see more and more people are starting to figure out the scam they call “public Servants”

            Pensions for Everyone…


    • J.J. November 14, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

      Typical Mammoth, get rid of the work horses but keep the old carts.

  2. And she doesn't even live here November 14, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    Two town managers at $200K per year plus expenses and (for MMM) free housing, that’s right, MMM even gets a free home to live when she’s in town.
    Somebody has sold somebody a bill of goods.

  3. MJA November 15, 2012 at 12:47 am #

    Rather than taxing and cutting anything in Mammoth simply cut the payments to Ballas and his money grabbing acquisition corporation and leave the town alone. Cut out the problem not the necessities.


    • Bemused November 15, 2012 at 9:20 am #

      MJA – What part of the fact that ignoring MLLA is not an option at this point don’t you understand?? TOML has entered into a binding settlement agreement with them, underlying which is a final court judgement.

      It’s pretty simple: TOML lost, TOML stalled, and now TOML must pay. I don’t like it either, but your “position” on the matter is nonsensical at this point. Move on already…

      • MJA November 15, 2012 at 9:51 am #

        Binding agreement?
        Nothing is bound yet.
        Cut Ballas and his money grabber corporation and leave the town be.


        • Benett Kessler November 15, 2012 at 10:31 am #

          The Superior Court and now the Bankruptcy Court are in the process of amending court documents to accomodate the signed agreement
          among MLLA, Ballas and the Town. This is the prelude to bankruptcy dismissal. It’s all over, basically.
          Benett Kessler

          • MJA November 15, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

            So i guess what you’re saying Benett is: Mammoth signed another agreement with Ballas this time to pay him and his sue happy friends 50 plus million dollars without a single condo being built and without working out the details first? Details like where the money is coming from, Right? That can’t be right. And that’s the done deal?


      • Jen November 15, 2012 at 10:07 am #

        Exactly, Bemused. MJA is like a broken record with his/her nutty plan of not paying our debt. No one likes it, but we owe the money and have to find a way to pay it. Period.

        • ONE voice November 15, 2012 at 11:50 am #


          WE as a community did elect these council members, but we did not make all of these very poor decisions. We as a town should not have to support the Greed of Mr. Ballas. We have already paid for these services via taxes etc. that are now being threatend. Why should WE pay more for less?

          • Jen November 15, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

            I’m with you, I truly am, but the reality is the bankruptcy judge told us to mediate with the other side, which we did. We could have taken a chance and declined their terms, but the judge at that point could have told us to pay the entire amount. From what I’ve heard, the judge was a live wire who could have really screwed us. Sometimes in life we have to cut our losses and move on. This whole debacle has been a nightmare from day one. From the original trail in Bridgeport, to the extremely poor decisions made by the council back then, to where we are now – it’s a mess, but we can’t walk away from it. We have to pay them. Just like you and I have to pay our bills. I hate making my mortgage every month, but if I don’t I lose my home.

  4. MJA November 15, 2012 at 12:55 am #

    And furthermore: when it come down to Mammoth vs a flighty airport condo developer, court or no court, the town must prevail. Developers are a dime a dozen but Mammoth is quite special, its One of a kind.
    Protect the town, that is what the council must do.


    • Developer on Town Council November 15, 2012 at 10:09 am #

      MJA – You are correct. Developers are a dime a dozen in Mammoth Lakes.

      And please don’t forget Matthew Lehman, who is the head of our town council, is …
      you guessed it – a developer.

    • MJA November 15, 2012 at 11:52 am #

      Its all over except there is no money to pay.
      Now who would sign an agreement like that.
      Is that even legal?


      • MJA November 15, 2012 at 11:58 am #

        And as for Mammoth signing another agreement with the same guy who took Mammoth to bankruptcy over the last agreement, ah, that doesn’t seem right either.
        What will this new one cost Mammoth in the future, 100 million more?


  5. Why Two Managers? November 15, 2012 at 7:44 am #

    Why two managers?

    Because the MLTC hired an ineffective Town Manager, one Dave Wilbrecht, who knows about as much about number crunching as he knows about astrophysics. Consequently, they had to get MMM back from Pasadena to run the numbers for him.

    Let’s not forget that, right after he started, DW hired a budget guy to do his numbers work, and even paid him $5,000 a year extra to manage IT as well, since DW’s IT skills are about as sharp as his arithmetic skills.

    As it turned out, DW’s recruiting prowess isn’t that good either since he had to quietly let the guy go after less than a year. And now DW’s taking credit for his bungling by proposing to eliminate that same budget position that he created.

    Bottom line: The MLTC should have kept MMM on as interim Town Manager at her original $200,000 a year (and that was without benefits) and not blown close to a half million bucks in salary and benefits over the past 18 months on this so-called “manager” whose only skill seems to be firing employees whose function and value he knows NOTHING about.

  6. Mark November 15, 2012 at 7:56 am #

    The council continues to go down the wrong path. Their number one priority should be to provide basic services and keep MLPD officers on the payroll.

  7. Numbers November 15, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    A thought. Most days, Mammoth is a sleepy town and a smaller police force should be able to keep peace. However, we all know the town can swell with partiers, and when it does 6 officers is simply not going to be enough. A scenario in which hundreds of drunken trouble makers descending upon town with no intention of securing a place to spend the night is one Facebook page away, just ask the Tahoe PDs. Plus, due to our remoteness, we can’t just call up a dozen officers from a neighboring jurisdiction when things get out of hand. What if we worked out some shared resource deals with jurisdictions from the Southland. We could even offer free lift tickets and kick MMM out of her town owned condo giving at least 1 or 2 of them a place to stay. The agreement would limit their authority as police officers in our jurisdiction unless the Chief thought things were getting out of control, and then, bam, you have 6 more officers show up at the village at bar closing time. If I were an officer from down south, I would jump at the opportunity to get a free trip to Mammoth, free lift ticket, probably get paid on top of it, and more than likely, not even have to do any policing. If the surge of So-Cal partiers is the reason we need such a large force, it seems satisfyingly equitable that those jurisdictions help out on the weekends.


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