I wholeheartedly reject the notion that we are a "resort town". It's a lazy phrase that keeps us from being responsible for our community's destiny. We can't and shouldn't ignore Mammoth Mountain: it is clearly a major economic driver. But my priorities are to the families, kids, and retirees living here. It is my voters I answer to, not a ski resort.
Public Safety - Emergency Medicine
As a firefighter and current member of Mono County Search & Rescue, I have a close connection with people in their time of need. Our emergency services have been neglected by the current Board of Supervisors.
- On December 27 2017, our 911 system was offline nearly the entire county.
- Over the years, Red's Meadow was mismanaged from an EMS prospective. Rather than being proactively addressed by leadership, most crews knew it would take someone getting injured or possibly killed for the Board of Supervisors to act. On October 15th, 2017, that is exactly what happened.
- Mammoth Fire's candidate class for 2018 was cancelled: less firefighters available as we head into a drought summer. Firefighters are unable to live in the place that they protect.
Like a smoke alarm with the battery missing, neglecting fire and EMS is something you can get away with right until there's an emergency and then it's too late.
Innovative programs, such as Community Paramedicine (regular house calls on residents with chronic health problems) saves lives and reduces healthcare costs ultimately put on taxpayers. We can not only fix our problems, but we can make better use of our available resources.
I have been and will continue to head into the backcountry to provide emergency medical services. There is a wealth of sound and practical ideas from the EMS community I am looking forward to implementing.
Public Safety - law enforcement
In fall of 2016, a resident in Mammoth Lakes was gunned down in a hail of gunfire in front of his home. Rite Aid's pharmacy has been robbed in broad daylight. Mammoth Lakes police and Mono County Deputies routinely find drug traffickers who openly admit to knowing that because of reduced law enforcement funding they have an easier time moving drugs like methamphetamine and opioids into and through our community.
Mammoth Lakes and Mono County needs the tools, dollars, and support to aggressively tackle commercial narcotics traffickers and violent offenders. The damage to our communities is profound and is not a legacy we can pass on to our children.
CHILD CARE - preschool
Raising a family is hard, but raising one in Mammoth Lakes can be incredibly difficult. As a parent of two wonderful children, I've seen the struggle dads and in particular moms have to make: balancing careers, childcare, their own relationships, and paying the bills. Most families simply do not have the $1,000+ a month for childcare per child. This responsibility usually falls on moms who know all too well the balancing act of modern parenting.
Our community isn't just us: it's the the children who will soon be the voters, workers, and civic leaders. Evidence is clear that early childhood education has a massive impact on future academic success. Additionally, those parents who can't work when they desire to cause jobs to go unfilled, which further hurts our community economically.
Interest free federal grants have been available to the county for a robust childcare center, but this just has not been aggressively pursued.
That spending for new county office space has been prioritized over child care facilities is nothing short of an insult to working families.
Housing - we're done waiting
Living in Mono County, and especially Mammoth Lakes, housing is the elephant in every corner of local issues. With a winter season that triples the workforce over that of the summer months, out-of-town owners moving to AirBnb style offerings, and wages far out of step with available home prices it is little wonder that the problem has spiraled out of control.
Serving on the Board of Directors at the Mammoth Community Water District, one of the first things I was able to vote on was a home loan assistance program for a district employee. Soon after I would learn that the water district has a down payment assistance program superior to anything else available in Mono County. Why, I wondered, could our fiscally solvent program that nearly 25% of employees take advantage of not be made available to police, firefighters, teachers, and medics throughout Mono? Why could it not be made available to dedicated members of our community who have our backs? Simply put, why couldn't we have theirs?
Walking through District 5 I've had the chance to speak with hundreds of voters including those living in deed restricted housing: while it serves a purpose and is a component of a larger housing discussion, it is not a panacea and is not the final answer to "home ownership".
I bought my family's home here in Old Mammoth with a VA Home Loan benefit available to me as a veteran. Much like the water district's model, I am free from PMI, have no deed restrictions, and have a home that appreciates, which is the same for the current members of the Board of Supervisors. Why shouldn't someone taking care of us when we're sick, policing our streets, and teaching our kids have the same options through a fiscally sound and merit based approach?
Further, I do support parcel taxes for critical infrastructure spending provided two components are met:
- Primary residents (those who live here) are excluded 100%. Given that 90% of condos are second home or AirBnB businesses, the cost can be more than borne by those entities. In fact for those AirBnBs a special tax is yet another business deduction. We need infrastructure dollars and I will not vote yes on a special tax that impacts primary residents.
- The dollars are not available to a general fund, only to specified projects made clear to voters. Bait-and-switch manuevers are over.
The housing crisis in Mammoth is just that, and we need to be done with half measures.