The low turn-out at a public event caused Mammoth officials to speculate on economic hard times in town.
At the end of March, town officials asked the public to offer input on community needs. The process was meant to get a feel for what the community wants from developers in terms of community benefits. At the April 1 Town Council meeting, Community Development Director announced that 84 people had participated in the activity. Others said economic hard times make bureaucratic participation more difficult.
Mammoth resident and former mayor Rick Wood was appalled at the number.
“Eighty-four people out of 7,500 does not give a good handle on the pulse of the community,” Wood stated.
Councilman Neil McCarroll was taken aback at the few participants who had children. According to the exit survey from the exercise, 45 of the 84 people did not have children.
Wood and Councilman John Eastman tried to explain that the low participation may be connected to the economic hardships many people in town are facing.
“Many families are focused on survival right now,” Wood stated. “Only prosperous people who are interested and have time on their hands are able to attend these things.”
Eastman then told a story of a man he had run into earlier in the day who had lost his job and was overdrawn in his bank account. The man was trying to work up the courage to go into the bank and talk with someone about his problems. The point he was making was that many people are hanging on by a thread right now.
Mayor Wendy Sugimura pointed out that the survey was not supposed to be statistically valid, but Councilwoman Jo Bacon added that it should not be discredited because it’s not scientific.
“It’s a good first start,” stated Advocate for Mammoth John Walter.
A fuller set of results is expected at the April 15 Council meeting.