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An open apology

July 20, 2012

On July 11, there was a special meeting held in Suite Z to discuss options for the funding of air subsidy to Alaska Airlines. I stood up and openly challenged one of Mammoth’s Supervisors, Mr. Byng Hunt, after his comments on the podium to our Town Council and the people of Mammoth.

I want to say that I am sorry to everyone in Mammoth and Mono County for not saying more!
I am continually amazed by our elected officials in Bridgeport; did Mr. Hunt not learn from other supervisors that have recently been replaced? Does Mr. Hunt not realize that the economic engine begins in Mammoth?

Does Mr. Hunt not understand that the majority of property taxes originate in Mammoth? Does Mr. Hunt think that losing air service would help June Lake, Crowley Lake, or Lee Vining? You may be surprised, Mr. Hunt, there are people in Bishop who use our airport and the air service provided.

I failed to point out these exact issues and others and I am deeply sorry for not holding Mr. Hunt’s feet to the fire. I want to publicly say that I will point my finger at you and any elected official that I feel is not representing the majority and the good of the people. And I am pointing my finger at you, Supervisor Hunt, to get whatever information you need (it is available) to understand that air service benefits the majority of Mono County and Mammoth. It brings in new business, convenience to local residents, additional bed tax, FAA funds, money spent in our establishments and enplanement dollars.

And don’t say those that benefit should pay; MMSA pays millions of dollars per year for this a far greater percent than they benefit. I am working with Mr. Urdi to find a way business owners may contribute and receive ticket vouchers for their direct investment, even though the Mammoth business community is taxed beyond belief and suffering from a poor winter.The county has meagerly supported the air service subsidy the last two years with a continued increase in traffic at our airport (adjusted for the drought) and now wants to back out.

To me this is just another case of an elected official not realizing who he is elected by and who he should be representing. In two years I will be here to make sure people are reminded of your lack of support to the people of Mammoth who elected you.

As for your comments to the Mammoth Town Council about getting back to basics. Have you had your head buried in the sand the last year? Do you not realize what the TC has gone through, what the staff has given up, the cuts that have been made and the people that have been affected? Please prove me wrong and correct the path you are traveling down. Support the Mammoth/Yosemite Airport and contribute $100,000.00 from the county.

There is nothing basic about the challenges we all face today. We all need to work together, get creative, contribute as much as we can and openly communicate with each other.

Tom Cage
Local Resident, businessman and elected official of the MCWD

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