In our editorial published in the June 27, 2013, issue, we highlighted our list of priorities for the Town of Mammoth Lakes.
We also have ideas on what we want to see in a county sheriff and assessor.
The Mammoth Times plans to cover this important election aggressively. We will steer our reporting to cover what we feel are priorities for our community.
For the town council and supervisor candidates:
At the top of our list is finance.
We would like to place high importance on how the town and county account for the money that comes into the coffers.
On the town level, we want an aggressive collections unit to administer and enforce ordinances related to transient occupancy taxes. We want a clear idea of what single-family home rentals would look like, if such a program were to be installed. We would like to have a clear understanding of how Measure R and U monies are to be spent.
On the county level, how will it make up the projected $4.7 million structural deficit?
Second on our priorities is public works.
People today really can’t see the deterioration of our streets and sidewalks, much less the out-of-sight physical infrastructure.
Yet we know that one of these days, very shortly, a road that could have been fixed today will have to be entirely rebuilt tomorrow, at 10 times the cost, unless public works gets the money and manpower it needs.
Third on our list is public safety.
In town, Police Chief Dan Watson has done a terrific job in shoring up his gutted police department, but that’s only going to get us to tomorrow.
Locals and visitors alike must feel they are safe and protected from harm around here.
Specifically to our town candidates, our list also includes free transit. We are not so large that we require tons of money for a vast transportation system.
We need it, though, so people who don’t know how to drive in snow have an alternative; so that the party crowd upon which we depend does not have a need to climb behind the wheel of a rolling, two-ton deadly weapon after a night on the town; and so that our own people can get to and from work.
And finally, economic diversification. How can the county and town create interest for businesses to move here?
What can we do to get away from “snow farming” as the only way to make a living, to providing economic stability to every business year round?
We’re looking for a sheriff who appropriately stands up for the rights of the people, who has a backbone and personal integrity—basic foundations for all the other characteristics of a respectable sheriff.
We want someone who can work effectively with prosecutors, judges, and attorneys, and be confident in his knowledge of the legal system.
Important to not only us, we’d like to see an open line of communication with the local communities.
The sheriff and his staff should always put a private citizen’s rights before any criminal conviction. The Constitution and the courts have made clear the path an officer must take to obtain evidence and statements from suspected persons. Any deviation, or any gray area of deviation, is unacceptable.
We’re eager to learn how the assessor will move toward swift tax appeal assessment settlements with both the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area and with the ORMAT geothermal project. Both of them are complicated, but while we wait, millions of property tax dollars are in limbo, while the county’s schools, for example, bide their time on razor-thin budgets.
Also, we’d like to know how this historically troubled office can achieve stability.