This week, superlatives among the bureaucrats as the State hurts the frailest of the frail and the Department of Interior hits the lowest of low behavior and betrayal of public trust.
Oh, where shall we begin???!! How about with the New York Times headline that says: “Sex, Drug Use and Graft Cited in Interior Department.” Good grief!
In case you haven’t heard, Congress received three reports Wednesday. The Inspector General of the Department of Interior found what has been described as “wrongdoing by a dozen current and former employees of the Minerals Management Service which collects about $10 billion in royalties annually and is one of the government’s largest sources of revenue other than taxes.”
The reports said that a “culture of ethical failure” pervades the agency. The New York Times wrote that the reports “portray a dysfunctional organization that has been riddled with conflicts of interest, unprofessional behavior and a free-for-all atmosphere for much of the Bush administration’s watch.”
In short, the bureaucrats collecting $4 billion in royalties from federal leases to oil companies were also taking expensive gifts, trips and other percs from the oil industry. Bureaucrats are also accused of using alcohol, cocaine and marijuana and indulging in sexual relations with oil and gas company representatives. How low can they go?
Way deeper than an oil drill. Bureaucrats were also selling each other cocaine and having affairs. Clearly business was not first on their minds or any other body part.
The bureaucrats in these departments did some self-dealing, pointing contracts to each other when they retired and started businesses of their own.
All we can say is the example starts at the top. Maybe the Interior Department people wanted their piece of action along with Halliburton and the Vice President.
Closer to home, if the City of Los Angeles has ever gotten your goat, now you can get theirs. Here’s a bureaucratic story with a wild, or semi-domesticated, twist. Did you hear about the LA Community Redevelopment Agency that hired 100 goats to munch down a steep slope of thick weeds in downtown LA? Yep.
Seems the chivos cost less and provide a more environmentally friendly weed eradication than humans with weed-whackers. Lots of public gawking at the goats and picture taking, too. Maybe there will still be room for humans as goat herders.
Animals don’t usually harbor hidden agendas. They want to eat and feel comfortable. Humans do too, but power trips sometimes interfere. One of our website readers noted that at some public meetings citizens, and even officials, have made it clear that people who have lived here longer or whose families go back generations have greater rights in the political process.
We all sat down at the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom table and talked about this. We shuffled papers, searched the internet and then our own minds. We decided that political rights belong to all community members unless they forfeit those rights by, say, commission of a crime. Sometimes the elevated character of a particular citizen wins them more influence, but automatic preference due to longevity falls short of community needs.
Finally, we have to say, come on, state legislators, pass the budget and stop the suffering in your districts! No budget has meant our hospitals don’t get MediCal funds and neither do nursing homes. I suppose it’s easy to hurt those who have little political clout. Just remember, state politicians, we’ll all grow old or need hospital care at some point, if we live long enough.
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.