Bureaucrat Beat: Cobbler Wanted, Tree Responsibility and 2 Letters

The Bureaucrat Beat newsroom staff thought it over and agreed that we really miss the former cobbler in Bishop – Mas Blackwell. Besides the fact that he fixed shoes and saved old favorites from the trash bin, Mas was a symbol of a certain life – inventive, practical, creative and comforting. Do we have any cobblers left in the Eastern Sierra? We don’t know of any,cobbler.jpg but call us if you’re out there. A cobbler mends the souls of man and woman to keep them on their feet.

And, in the Land of Few Trees, would it really hurt to assess the health of big, beautiful trees before applying the buzz saw? A few weeks back, Inyo County cut down two very large cedar trees because a limb had fallen on a nearby fence more than a year ago. Was removal really the best answer?

We suspect the legal department said, “Chop ’em down!” to eliminate liability worries. Do we really want the specter of liability to rule our lives? How about hiring a tree expert to assess trees in public rights of way before instant removal. As one citizen noted, it is the responsibility of county government to take care of their trees in public rights of way – water them, trim them.

A member of the Independence Civic Club asked for a copy of the assessment of the health of the two doomed trees. She received a response from the Public Works Department that an assessment was never done and that the “health” of the trees was never an issue. Trees in the Owens Valley are worth a lot since most of them fell to groundwater pumping. Inyo County’s own Tree Removal Policy lists the purpose of the policy as “preserving the trees in Inyo County by limiting the removal of trees within the County Road Right of Way and encouraging the replacement of those which are removed.” How about we preserve the spirit of government policies.

A potential, future policy could exclude all but the very wealthy from extensive internet service. Russ Monroe offers this view:


Time Warner starts a “test” this week… in Beaumont Texas. They call it “Tiered Internet Service”. Gosh-oh-gee, sounds like the beginning of: “Kick the Peasants OFF” to me, but what do YOU think? The bottom line is: a cap on your service! You can have the BASE 768k service, but you ONLY get a little bit. IF you dare go over the minimum, your charges go up exponentially. In practical terms: If you use the net for almost nothing… you pay $29.95 a month. If you download even 5gb a month…. (say, one DVD) , you pay $54.90 a month, and if you use the internet at any level above that, you pay…. a LOT more.
That means that libraries, internet cafes and anyone that actually depends on the net for access, much less income, is out of business or pays through the nose! IS this CHINA? Are we willing to roll over and let corporate fascism rule?
I hope not. The current administration has sold us out to his spoiled. brat buddies at every opportunity so far… are we going to let them turn the last real freedom into an elitist domain? Now IS the time to say NO! Most countries in Europe and Asia have much faster service than we do, for the same or LESS money. We are the ONLY country in the world that allows phone companies to charge for INCOMING cell phone calls, thank you congress. Making access to the net the privilege of the rich is the worst insult that the Bush administration wants to dump on us… after ten -dollar-a-gallon gas. WE need to stop this, now!
Russ Monroe
We agree. Our country needs to include as many as possible in services, not exclude the less wealthy.

And, we received another letter which we will read in part. It comes from April Johnson of Big Pine. She writes:

“I am deeply concerned about the rising occurrence of vandalism here in the Owens Valley. Yet I am more concerned about the lack of punishment for the crime. Recently, my own vehicle was vandalized. A local man over the age of 50 years is the alleged perpetrator, and a paintball gun loaded with paintballs was his tool of choice for application of said vandalism.”

Ms. Johnson goes on to say that there might have been an issue over the parking lot where she had placed her vehicle which is for sale.

She did contact law enforcement and wrote that “after contacting the proper authorities and removing the vehicle, I found no charges woujld be made against the alleged perpetrator because no permanent damage was done to my vehicle. All that could be said by the law enforcement officer was that the California Penal Code does not consider non-permanent vandalism a crime.”

Johnson recommends that locals and visitors beware. “Vandalism is on the rise,” she wrote, “and if paint balling happens to you, all you can do is first, feel like a victim but overall you’ll have to grin and bear it as no recourse for the law can be taken.”

All we can say is misunderstandings seem to abound in life so don’t contribute to that. We have found that it pays to go the extra mile to be considerate and to clearly communicate with your neighbors.

World peace starts on your block.

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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