Casting about for thought provoking material, the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom staff came across Dale Carnegie’s Golden Book – you know the “How to Win Friends and Influence People” guy? After a careful examination of Carnegie’s principles, we have concluded that we can’t really win many friends.

Carnegie says, “Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.” Too late for us on that point. Another gem – “The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.” No chance. However, we were pleased to note that we can embrace many other principles by Carnegie. Like “Give honest, sincere appreciation.” We can do that! And, “Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.” We can do that, although sometimes we really don’t like to.

Anyway, Carnegie publishes good, common sense. Let us just say it is a commodity that has nearly vanished. Sadly, the bureaucracies make little use of plain old, down to earth thinking.

What goes around comes around. Poor Postal Service has Netflix nightmare on its hands. According to reports, the red DVD mailers Netflix uses jam up mail machines so that postal processors have to manually deal with 70% of Netflix’s DVD envelopes. What will they do?!?!? Get this – seems that this situation is not discussed in the official Postal Manual so the postal people can’t classify the envelopes as “nonmachineable” with another, bigger charge. It was costing millions, but now the Postal Service’s Inspector General stepped in and has pushed Netflix to make its envelopes easier to process or pay a 17 cent surcharge for each one. The movie people will re-do the envelopes. Netflix mails 1.6 million DVDs a day.

Hey, here’s a good one! Will divorce require an Environmental Impact Report? Ouch!! According to one science writer, divorce does impact the environment. Each time a family dissolves, the result is two new households. That means more use of land, water and energy. Yeah. Go ahead, require an EIR – might cut the divorce rate or the marriage rate. One local attorney close to the divorce circuit pointed out that while divorce creates a new household, soon other divorcees will join with other divorcees and voila! Households combine! Oh, my.

Now, we hop into the way back machine for a look at centuries past and the founding of America. A new book, “Democracy, Bureaucracy and Character” by William D. Richardson, examines our favorite topic – bureaucracy. Seems the Founders, according to Richardson, “advocated an energetic public administration as an essential component of government and even considered the emergence of a ‘natural aristocracy’ of virtuous civil servants.” Yikes. Maybe those guys were a tad too idealistic.

Richardson goes on to say that the Founding Fathers “would see the fault of today’s federal bureaucracy not as much in its size as in the character of its members.” The author says the Founders’ belief that the nation should “strive to produce public servants committed to developing character traits, such as wisdom and moderation, that would exemplify the highest ideals of the republic and thus ensure its survival.”

Richardson says the Founders anticipated some self-interest on the part of administrators, but “believed it would be held in check by public opinion and the political process.”

So, where has the failure cropped up? Some have suggested that the corporate influence on politicians has contributed to building bureaucratic empires to do the bidding of big money. Others point to the public apathy. Well, yeah, we’re apathetic. Who has the time and money to go up against the bizarre reality of bureaus? Sometimes, though, it just takes a few.

After all, it’s not just bureaucrats who need to “develop character traits such as wisdom and moderation.” That’s a way to counteract crazy bureaucracy! Get character and stick with it.

Final notes: Can’t wait to meet the new Lady Police Chief in Bishop and a big thank you to Tom Woods and Cleland Hoff for cornering Mono County’s Assessor and finally getting a response to criticism that he doesn’t work enough hours and perhaps tips the bottle too much. His response: He’s meeting his Constitutional mandate so bug off.

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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