The Mono County District 4 supervisor race has mostly been ignored by Mammoth in the past.
After all, the district was way up at the north end of the county, with a good part of its shopping, jobs, and services allegiance to a whole different stateâ€”Nevada.
The end result was North County didnâ€™t talk much to Mammoth and Mammoth didnâ€™t talk much to North County.
But that changed last year, when a good chunk of Mammoth was redistricted into District 4â€”the whole eastern chunk of the town north of U.S. 395, in fact.
Suddenly, any new District 4 supervisor will have to put some of Mammothâ€™s interests and needs into the pot with the interests of Bridgeport, Walker, Coleville, and the Antelope Valley.
And despite these challenges (not to mention the current state of the economy), theyâ€™re not stopping Tim Fesko, Bob Peters, or Jan Huggans from running the District 4 seat.
One issue candidates feel strongly about are airport subsidies.
Mono County currently gives $85,000 a year toward the subsidies for year-around air service. Whether the county should save a portion of its budget to air service has emerged as one of the bigger platforms the candidates are addressing.
Fesko does not believe itâ€™s the governmentâ€™s job to subsidize a private company.
â€śIf that company cannot survive, they need to modify their plan,â€ť Fesko said. â€śAnd now, they have asked the county for $215,000. Now they want more money. If the county is going to try to boost the economy, why donâ€™t we guarantee prices for the motel in Bridgeport, and all over the rest of the county, and let the county pick up the rest? Whatâ€™s the difference?â€ť
Peters feels the subsidies help support Mammoth Lakes, something the county needs to do more ofâ€”to a certain degree.
â€śI donâ€™t think we should bail out the town regarding the lawsuit, but I do think we need to support Mammoth Lakes,â€ť Peters said. â€śMammoth is where 73 percent of our property taxes are generated. We have to support the growth of Mammoth. The whole county is linked together just like it always has been and weâ€™ve been fortunate in the past that Mammoth has grown so we can all grow.
â€śI know many people in North County are opposed,â€ť Peters said. â€śBut I have found when I talk to them and they understand it, that changes. I think this new district could be the bridge between the two areas. I know there is a lot of mistrust, but that has to be overcome for any of us to thrive now.â€ť
Candidate Jan Huggans is from Bridgeport and did not return emails or phone calls before press time.
Candidate Fesko has an addition obstacle to overcome, outside of the election sphere.
Feskoâ€™s brother, Gregory Fesko, and his wife, Mammie, recently sued Fesko and his wife, Mary. The complaint, filed in Mono County Superior Court late last year, alleges Tim and Mary committed fraud in the sale of Meadowcliff Restaurant when they leased it to Gregory and Mammie several years ago.
â€śThis is a contractual dispute between parties and I look forward to my day in court to prove my innocence,â€ť Fesko said. â€śI believe Mary and I did everything properly. It was a family member, we went out of our way to help them, my brother offered us less than another buyer was going to offer us, and they had a great business when they took it over from us. Unfortunately, it is back in our hands.â€ť
When asked if the lawsuit against Fesko should affect votersâ€™ perception of the candidate, Peters answered, â€śThe voters can make up their own minds.â€ť
â€śI donâ€™t believe this should affect the voter because this is not about character,â€ť Fesko said. â€śThis is a painful family dispute.â€ť
Calls to Mammie and Gregory Fesko were not returned.