Bureaucrat Beat: Shame City, LA epiphany, and bird paranoia

“From city halls to county courthouses, from the State house to the White House – bureaucrats control our lives.  Public servants who often try to become our masters.  People whose salaries we pay, but what goods and services do we get?  On Sierra Wave’s Bureaucrat Beat, we’ll report what they’re up to.”  That’s the Bureaucrat Beat declaration of dissatisfaction, but as you may know, Bureaucrat Beat talks about so much more.

capitol-u.s.jpgNothing says “I don’t care” like a government shutdown.  We in the Bureaucrat Beat Newsroom want someone to propose a simple appropriations bill and vote for it !!  Health care is a separate matter.  If the public could pass legislation, we could ban Congress from appearing on TV for a couple of months and get some work done.

We also want Congress to get cozy with the concept of shame.  Clearly they have no working relationship with that feeling.  Our elected officials, and perhaps ourselves, need to make the moral decision – will we provide health care or let people suffer?  It’s really that simple.  Other, less fortunate nations have found a way to resolve this issue.

Mammoth’s Mayor, Rick Wood, recently ran the Berlin Marathon. Wood is unstoppable.  He noted that on our government shutdown, European news outlets see the U.S. as “ridiculous”, generally blaming the Republican Party.  Way to go, USA.  Said Wood, “They (the Europeans) cannot understand why  universal health care, which most countries have, can be in the way of keeping the government running.”  They are not alone in their head scratching.

DWP and LA officials must feel alone.  They have actually started a project to replenish their own groundwater.  Someone down there must’ve lit up with an epiphany that one day they may not be able to suck everybody else dry.  After all, they have not tried hard to make friends with those at the source of Eastern Sierra water.  DWP’s new plan is called the Groundwater Replenishment Project.  You can comment on it through October 21st.  According to a press release, the project “plans to use highly purified water from the Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant each year to replenish the San Fernando Groundwater Basin at existing spreading grounds and new injection wells in the San Fernando Valley.”  Don’t look for any Inyo-Mono Groundwater Replenishment Project.

Do watch “The Town” – the Rise and Fall of Mammoth Lakes created and produced as an online documentary by C.K. Hickey and Matt Sarnacki, students of the UC Berkley Graduate School of Journalism.  C.K. is a lifetime visitor to Mammoth and got interested in the impending bankruptcy.  The pair interview Dave McCoy about the burst of energy that became Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.  The documentary tracks a storkdecline into turmoil when McCoy sold to Intrawest. As Mr. McCoy said, with corporations it’s all about the dollars on the table.  It’s a strange feeling watching some 60 years of Mammoth in one sitting.

One of our website commenters mused that maybe the government shutdown halted all the spying on American citizens.  We doubt it.  Things have gotten so crazy that birds are now being detained for their potential to eavesdrop.  Say what??!!  Yep.  According to a story in the LA Times, a stork was once detained by Egyptian authorities on suspicion of being a spy.  Holy beak, Batman.

The story says residents in Egypt found the bird had died on an island in the Nile.  Earlier, someone found the stork southeast of Cairo.  A device was reportedly found on the long-legged, winged creature.  It was a European wildlife tracker.  Police were suspicious.  Now we’re so paranoid, we’re afraid of storks!!!

Before the recent political theater was a farce called the Sequester – some Congressional game about senseless cuts if they couldn’t make a decision.  According to Medscape, billions of dollars in research funding and thousands of health-related jobs were lost.  The National Institutes of Health lost $1.7 billion due to Congressional hijinks.  So much for cancer research.

And, it’s not just the government shutdown that has Yosemite National Park in its crosshairs.  According to an LA Times article by writer Louis Sahagun who covers our area, climate change has hit Lyell Glacier in Yosemite which is the source of a great deal of water.  The article says Lyell has dropped 62% of its mass and 120 vertical feet in the last 100 years.  Geologists give it 20 more years.  But, of course, climate change is just a con, right?

With that, this is Benett Kessler signing off for Bureaucrat Beat where we await your word on our lives in the Eastern Sierra and beyond.




















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22 Responses to Bureaucrat Beat: Shame City, LA epiphany, and bird paranoia

  1. Wayne Deja October 3, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    Medium….Can you imagine how ANGRY those you mentioned….among others,are going to be when the mid-term elections take place in 2014 ?…and the voters get some of these tea-baggers and Republicans out from the House and Senate …and finally be able to get something done for a change ….

    • There's $$$ in nasty October 4, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

      I’m not so sure those media persons/pundits are as ANGRY as they would like to appear they are. They have found a good way to get wealthy – very wealthy. It all started when they went non-stop and full-force into the process of demonizing the word LIBERAL. Ever noticed how often they like to use that word? Of course, this to that group is a very snarky and clever way to attack the Democratic Party. For the record, the true meaning of LIBERAL is open-minded. NOT a communist. All of this is backfiring on them … as it should. We are all tired of the nasty Limbaughism some types seem to adore.

      And speaking of politics:

  2. MJA October 3, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    As for the government shut down: I think the White House and Congress, the military, the IRS, CIA, FBI, BLM, and NSA should all be condemned and boarded up for freedoms sake!
    “Ya say ya want a revolution, hay hay ya know” =

    • Desert Tortoise October 3, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

      Lives are lost and property destroyed in revolutions. We elect our governments and you want ruin what we freely chose at the point of a gun? Go back to whatever you are smoking and leave solving our nation’s problems to adults.

      • MJA October 3, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

        Freely choose to be governed? I didn’t choose to be governed, did you? I don’t need to be controlled or ruled over, do you? And I don’t believe in guns either, guns kill. Do you bullets and guns? As for our nations problems, the problem is the government, isn’t it? Hasn’t it always been? Do you think the problem of government can fix the problem of government? Are you the adult that you refer too that can fix the government? Well fix away, fix the government away! And I’m not much for drugs either, what about you? =

        • Benett Kessler October 3, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

          Dear MJA, Problems always start with the people. We really do have some say in our government. If we focus on the real priorities of life and the principles that govern
          living together, the right people may run for office and represent us. Ignorant, lazy, greedy, ill-informed, self-centered voters elect the same.
          Benett Kessler

          • Pedro October 3, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

            Yes, and MJA says shut them down if they cause us problems. We can speak and vote for that.

          • MJA October 4, 2013 at 10:27 am #

            I won’t vote again Benett until there is a single ballot question that asks: Do you wish to be governed or free? I will vote for freedom. As for Democracy, One cannot be governed and free, can we? The control of government, no matter its ideals is the problem because it is the opposite of freedom, government is the opposite of independence. Independence is what our forefathers and the natives before us fought and died for. As for representation, who would you elect besides yourself to represent you? Anyone? Who would you elect to govern you? Who is a better than you?

            Maybe I am wrong to think as our forefathers thought, that independence is right, that freedom from government is our inalienable self-evident right. Maybe I am wrong to see government as the problem and freedom the solution we need. But then maybe not. =

          • Benett Kessler October 4, 2013 at 10:35 am #

            Complete freedom in a society is an illusion. We can strive for personal freedom within our own selves. We have to face the fact that we live with a whole planet full of people,
            and we all have responsibilities to each other – not to live someone else’s life but to help those who legitimately need it. We all need help from time to time. The obscenely
            rich 1% or whatever it is have forgotten their responsibilities, most of them. Ideas unrooted in practical reality don’t really make much sense.

          • Desert Tortoise October 4, 2013 at 11:21 am #

            MJA, the founders of this nation fought to overthrow absolute monarchy in favor of a republic governed by elected representatives. In no way did they fight for an absence of government. Their first attempt, the Articles of Confederation, was so weak the new nation threatened to collapse and break apart. The Constitution we have today, amended over time, reflects their experience with the Articles of Confederation regarding the balance of power not just among the various branches of government but between the states and Federal government.

            If you read the Federalist Papers you find that the founders had exceedingly harsh things to say about direct democracy. In every historical case they could examine it failed, so this nation’s founders explicitly chose a republican form of government as preferable to democracy . Rather than me burning up the keyboard here, you really ought to read the Federalist Papers so you can understand why our nation is organized the way it is and how without this government, you have no protections of your rights and no freedoms whatsoever, other perhaps than those you can gain through the application of brute force on others.

            We have government to protect our rights, our property and to allow us to live without the constant resort to violence to protect ourselves or to maintain our rights. You are kidding yourself if you think you can live without depending on others in whatever society you inhabit. Your whole life depends on millions of other Americans doing their jobs every day. That is an inescapable fact. A society has to be organized in some way, and we chose elected government. Other nations have unelected dictators, military juntas and a few sad societies like Somalia have effectively no government and are ruled by armed mobs. If you prefer the armed mob, more power to you but spare the rest of us who prefer a peacful and productive life.

        • Pedro October 3, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

          Funny how some minds automatically go to violence and drugs at any threat of peaceful change.

          • MJA October 4, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

            “Complete freedom in a society is an illusion.”

            I have a dream too. =

          • Peace? There's no profit in it! October 4, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

            Now you must know Pedro, that comments like that will get you the moniker of a ” No-good, do-gooder, Peacenik, Commie Liberal” from some of our more deep-thinking Americans.


        • Desert Tortoise October 4, 2013 at 9:25 am #

          You would be surprised what informed public participation can achieve, particularly at the local level. I am a member of a tax oversight committee in my city. I was an opponent of a new tax, and had some pretty harsh words for some members of our city council that they were well aware of through my blogging, using my own name btw, not Desert Tortoise.

          Nevertheless I was able to gain a seat on the oversight committee and became an immediate bur in the saddle of our mayor. But by mobilizing public support, and through an education campaign to demystify the budget process we were able to prevail over the mayor and force a degree of accountability. It was, um, interesting to see nasty things written about me in the local newspaper editorial pages but who cares really. We got people out to the City Council meetings, our voice was heard and the council and the mayor had to take a step back.
          We continue to hold them accountable through our committee, and I may yet spark more contention if I cannot obtain satisfactory budget and expenditure data from the Finance Dept. If that happens we will once again educate and mobilize the public. This is how self government is supposed to work.

          Regardless, governing this way is preferable to the chaos of no government. You say you do not wish to be governed, but what that gets you is Somalia or Haiti, empoverished and violent places where no one will invest and nothing good gets done. Without a government there is absolutely nothing to protect your rights or your property and life devolves to a contest of brute force. Is that really how you want to live? Without an organized society able and willing to fund education, infrastructure and health care, nothing happens economically and you end up like too many empoverished third world stink holes. “Freedom” comes with obligations and responsibilities. Self government requires work, and compromise. It isn’t all free.

    • The Medium IS the message October 3, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

      Limbaugh, Hannity, Bachman, Coulter and Fox News would be proud of you, MJA.

    • Randy Keller October 4, 2013 at 10:39 am #

      The people who hate our government are ascendant, refusing to accept our democratic processes and using the force of political blackmail to get their way. It is far easier to destroy than to build, and destruction is their sole game. They are not only hateful, shameless and anarchist, they are evil.

      Our way of governing ourselves is what has made this country great; it is how we have adapted and excelled as the world has changed for the past couple hundred years. The people who want to destroy our government (shrink it down and drown it in the bathtub) are working to destroy our country. They are a noxious brew of theocrats, anarchists and nihilists, sponsored by elite monied interests who benefit when money rules the land, rather than the people. They have not shut down the government and do not threaten to default on our debts for any principle other than to destroy the great American experiment. They are fundamentally un-American and a threat to the American way of life.

      These people have taken noble conservative principles and perverted them to simple hatred of others and an unwillingness to accept common rules for our common survival. They are actively seeking to destroy the ability for the American people to work together through our governments at every level to address the many challenges we face. We cannot move forward by destroying what is great about this country. The problem with our country is not the government, it is the people who have worked for many years to destroy our government, culminating in a group of politicians whose sole motivation appears to be dismantling 250 years of progress. We need a great debate, not a war to destroy our ability to govern ourselves.

      I do not think that all who support this evil are evil anymore than I think all who call themselves religious are holy. But it does appear the evil will not be halted until all decent Americans of all political persuasions point to it and say enough is enough. We are not the sons of anarchy, we are America.

      • Benett Kessler October 4, 2013 at 11:09 am #

        Wow. So well stated. It reminds of the time of Joe McCarthy, who was in a different way destroying our way of life. Newsman Ed Morrow and some others finally went public with the truth
        about McCarthy’s destructive behavior. It just takes a few strong people to state the truth.

        Thank you, Randy,

        • House of UnAmerican Activities October 4, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

          Good one, Benett!
          McCarthy era Part II.
          Instead of the nasty House of Un-American Activities back then, we get to hear how LIBERALS are destroying the country today.
          And, sadly, this type truly believes it represents the one, true, White, Anglo-Saxon Christian Protestant America.
          But the cycle is running its course already. Thank God.

      • What the ...? October 4, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

        So, what ever happened to the Compassionate Conservative?

      • How quickly they forget October 4, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

        “The people who hate our government…” Where the hell were these people when that very same government invaded Iraq based on faulty intelligence (of non-existent WMDs) that only resulted in killing many young civilians and our troops as well, bankrupted the country, and made defense contractors Halliburton and Lockheed Martin stockholders mega-rich.

        You remember Lockheed Martin and Halliburton? Both had former CEOs named Mr. and Mrs. Dick Cheney.

  3. Desert Tortoise October 2, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

    A key point regarding San Fernando Valley ground water is “existing spreading basins”. LA County Flood Control District has had spreading basins in place in the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys for as long as I can remember, placed near major flood control channels that allow flood waters to be retained and allowed to percolate into the aquifers underying these two valleys. You can see examples of these along the entire length of the San Gabriel River, especially in Santa Fe Basin, and at the interchange of the Golden State and Hollywood Freeways adjacent Tujunga Wash. There are others. Flood waters are retained upstream in the reservoirs behind Big Tujunga Dam and others, then released into these spreading basins over the course of the spring and summer to recharge the aquifer.

    The new project is to purify waste water to a potable standard and pump this water into the aquifer. It could just as easily be pumped into city reservoirs but for the yuck factor. Putting this treated waste, which is fine to drink despite it’s source, into the ground water is being done entirely to overcome popular revulsion to the idea of drinking treated waste water.

    This becomes practical as DWP opens a pair of big treatment plants designed to treat ground water contaminated by hexavalent chromium and other industrial contaminants, a legacy of Cold War aircraft and weapons production that has taken more than half the wells in both valleys out of production. It does not do you much good to recharge the aquifer if the result is more contaminated water, so cleaning the aquifer has to go hand in hand with recharging it. The process used at the Tillman treatment plant won’t clean up chromium 6.

    All of this becomes economical to do as water from the state water project exceeds $1200 per acre foot.


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