August in the High Country is always hard to figure out, but it happens every year, in one way or another. People just tend to go a little bit haywire in August, this year more than most.
As a run-up to August, there was that brutal beating at a Pearsonville gas station that will probably result in an attempted murder charge, for example. Then, the same guy later is alleged to have stabbed someone up at quiet, pristine Kennedy Meadows.
Having been a patron and a volunteer for the Mammoth Lakes Jazz Jubilee for the better part of 20 years, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank Ken and Flossie Coulter for the dedication and supreme effort it took to keep this wonderful event going.
Years ago, I was hooked the very first time I listened to the astounding variety of jazz, blues, swing and zydeco bands in the many venues they organized.
So much so, and even though I live on the Western side of the Sierras, I became a volunteer at the Big Top for five of those Jazz Jubilees.
The notion of “Getting To Yes” is not just a business mantra.
In Mammoth, it applies all over the place, most recently in a renewed effort by the town (see story, P. 10) in getting our recreation leaders on the same page.
Fat chance, we say.
Heaven knows we’ve tried this kind of thing before, most recently with the long forgotten Sports Council, which aimed to unite recreation groups toward the practical idea of figuring out which groups should get which piece of the economic pie.
When it comes to putting on an event as large as the 25th Mammoth Lakes Jazz Jubilee, it really does take a town.
What most people see and hear is the finished result of over a whole year’s worth of work by a small army of very dedicated volunteers.
The tents that go up and come down very quickly, the variety of music played that fills the air all hours of the day and night during the event, the amount of increased foot traffic in several locations around town, and the many smiling faces were all part of this annual July event.
There is an arrogant dominance of incivility passing for dialogue today.
We are beginning to hear more and more disagreements of the heated variety, most of them are underlying political and/or ideological in nature that any reasonable person might deem as uncivil.
We are witnessing angry talking heads on television, talk-radio designed to infuriate and demean, email blogging that promotes insulting exchanges, and even our local media is sometimes prone to childish sniping of its own.
We have volunteers for the Half-Marathon; we have do-gooders for the Fourth of July Parade. The Jazz Jubilee draws so many volunteers that sometimes we wonder if they don’t outnumber the paying customers.
There were so many volunteers for the Town Cleanup Day in the spring that there wasn’t a single McDonald’s bag, Carl’s Jr. cup, or Vons plastic bag that was safe; this coming weekend, volunteers will be at Minaret Vista, helping rebuild a trail that badly needs it.
The Mammoth Town Council, in a stroke of uncharacteristic wisdom, declared earlier this week a pair of “strategic planning” meetings, designed to put the disparate, argumentative, and disgruntled citizenry on the same page with the town government.
It’s about time.
For years around here, the tail has wagged the dog; that is, crises, contingencies, and exigencies have been the basis of longstanding town policies.
We agree with Supervisor Tim Alpers and Mammoth Mountain Ski Area CEO Rusty Gregory that the time has come to begin thinking of Mammoth Lakes, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, and the June Lake area as a unified whole.
Alpers envisions it as an “all-inclusive, premier, year-around recreation corridor” which is marketed and branded as an integrated whole.
It’s kind of a drumbeat around most successful resorts these days, this idea of regionalization.
The recent Eastern Sierra Philanthropy Guide is an impressive, high quality publication.
It is good to see many nonprofit, volunteer organizations serving our area. I couldn’t help being surprised, however, by the omission of many other great groups that do wonderful work and also need support.
Just two of the ones I am personally familiar with are Laws Museum and The Salvation Army.
At town meetings, we are beginning to hear more and more references to the term “customers” and less and less of the term “residents.”
Like other small, rural communities in California, Mammoth Lakes faces issues pertaining to a tourist-based economy that involves striking a yin-yang balance between competing economic forces and cultural opportunities that include quality of life for its residents.