Bureaucrat Beat: Church bells and gavels, More Tales of Lovett and Two Letters

The Bureaucrat Beat newsroom staff hashed through news reports on the sometimes touchy issue of church and state. You know – political candidates who make it clear that they follow one religion or another and leave citizens with the feeling that if they don’t see life the way the candidate does, don’t count on government help.

We spent the weekend pondering this issue. We checked history to remind ourselves that our ancestors left England for America, in part, because of religious persecution. So, they made sure the new nation would have freedom of thought protected by the Constitution. Not some king telling them what to believe about life.

Do we really think some of these jokers running for office have deeper insights than Thomas Jefferson and James Madison? Okay. Enough said before we are branded as heathens. We are, after all, just crusty news reporters with a healthy sense of cynicism about today’s politics. We also happen to believe that candidates who include everyone they can instead of exclude all but their favorites will show the leadership we need.

Back to the Bridgeport courthouse. Assessor Jim Lovett told Tom Woods and Cleland Hoff, in response to criticisms of his drinking, that no one in Bridgeport has ever seen him intoxicated. We can’t confirm or deny that statement, but we did learn that when Lovett was interviewed initially by members of the Mono Board of Supervisors for appointment to Assessor, he reportedly asked the officials how they felt about his having a beer during lunch. They said, no go to the beer but hired the man.

At one point, Lovett reportedly issued a memo to his staff to say it was okay for them to have a beer at lunch. We hear the County Administrator and others put their feet down and Lovett retracted the memo. Yikes.

Inquiring minds in Inyo County want to know – why did the Inyo Supervisors apparently give the boot to former Water Director Tom Brooks? One source revealed that the grand jury had apparently entertained a look at the Water Department.

Someone might want to examine the fact that the Inyo Water Department lives with conflicted realities. What’s happening to the Owens Valley environment, on one hand and political pressures not to push DWP too far on the other. That’s a prescription for trouble!?!

And, finally, some good bureaucratic news. As this next listener points out, there are good public servants that need recognition. We admit, all too often we only become aware of the irritating among the bureaucrats. Just like every area of life, the bureaucracy holds some hard working, sincere folks.

Irwin Heit of Bishop offered this:

This message is to call your attention to the retirement at the end of this month of local bureaucrat Charley Broten, Director of Inyo Mono Area Agency on Aging. His bureaucracy implements the senior programs for Inyo and Mono counties. These programs are described in a brochure available from the agency office in Bishop.

As you know, not all seniors are affluent, spending their retirement hours traveling, playing golf and enjoying a golden time. Charley has administered programs intended to help aging women and men live independently and cope with physical and mental disability. He has done this in a loving, caring way. He has also used his talent to entertain and support our local musical arts.

I also want to comment on your Bureaucrat Beat feature. I recognize you intend to expose bureaucrat abuse and ridiculous action, but if one believes, as I do, that government is a solution and not a problem, bureaucrats make government work. There are competent bureaucrats as well as self-serving bureaucrats. A little balance is a good thing.

Yours Truly, Irwin Heit

And here’s a letter in response to the early news we reported – Tim and Pam Alpers sale of the famous Owens River Ranch:

The Sierras won’t be the same. A beloved retreat is gone. For me, it was paradise on earth. The memories that I have span 20+ years at both Arcularius and Alper’s ranches. Whenever I lay awake anxious at night, I could settle myself to sleep recalling a vivid memory standing on the Alper’s ranch listening to the wind blow through the trees before a perfectly blue sky. My grandfather passed away last year.

I felt his loss, but also felt good that I had the time I had with him. He taught me things and gave me memories I won’t forget. The same can be said about Alper’s ranch. It still saddens me that it’s over. There will not be further memories with family and loved ones there. I had looked forward to having kids and taking my sons/daughters there to hopefully share with them what I experienced with my father.

Before I get on a selfish rant I first want to thank Tim and Pam. Without them, I wouldn’t have had all of the good memories and experiences that I had there. They are thoughtful, kind, and hardworking people.
During a difficult time, Pam let me bend her ear. Even during the few seasons when I wasn’t a guest, I could still drop by to get a friendly smile and an open invitation to wander around and soak up the atmosphere. This has to be a hard time for them and all I have to say to them is Thank You!

Thank you for keeping it going for as long as you did. I’m sure it wasn’t easy. I’ll miss you two. I don’t know the new owner personally. But I suspect if he didn’t want to share Arcularius anymore, he isn’t likely to do so with Alper’s either. Of course, if the possibility exists, I hope otherwise.

Jason Morales

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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