Bureaucrat Beat: Cottonwood Calamity, Sacramento Sacked, and Anger Management!

Some listeners have emailed us with their deep consternation over the Cottonwood Plaza in Bishop and the reckless disregard of master lessee Chuck Caldwell. Aside from the tangle of lawsuits and legal literalities, the local populace sees a tragic loss of personal and community proportions.

City of Bishop officials claim they remain helpless as the center falls to legalese and closely held financial plots. Right there in the middle of downtown Bishop will stand a ghost town or a demolished pile of rubble. In a city where little grows, this business decision represents major misfortune.

Perhaps proactive leadership might have interceded before the Swan Song. Now, it is likely too late, but citizens have begged for leaders to stop the carnage. This plea rests with elected officials who have the will to respond somehow or not. At the very least, this event should signal to leaders that their people long for vitality in a town gone tired.

Winter dumps vitality on Mammoth Lakes every winter in the form of snow and tourists. It’s part of nature for the town. If global warming ever dries it up, we’re all in trouble on the East side. Bishop doesn’t generate enough to keep us all going for long. So, pray for snow – big time.

While you’re at it, you might throw in a prayer for the elected officials of Mammoth so they will grasp the idea of their jobs, remember the little people, forget cronyism and do the big thing, and, oh, yes, don’t let anybody else run the town.

Who’s running the State of California? Apparently no one with dollars just about gone andschwarzenegger.jpg the Governor reeling back expenses and jobs. Governor Arnold says his fellow Republicans will not agree on a budget, for Heaven’s sake! What’s up with this? Why can’t they pull things together? Hey, maybe some unpopular decisions – like new taxes – might do the trick, but why would they want to risk losing their jobs and all the perks from lobbyists?!? Face it, people, government is not what you might’ve thought it was. We are mere inconveniences and excuses for legislators existences. Hey, guys in Sacramento and Washington, that’s how you make us feel!

One more outrage. Seems that in the midst of the crumbling economy, federal lawmakers have refused to freeze their own pay. Instead, they will get a $4,700 pay raise, which reports say amounts to an additional $2.5 million that taxpayers will spend on congressional salaries, and, hey, they’re doing such a spectacular job, right?!? Remember, in their world a million bucks is chump change.

Meanwhile, back at the telephone, for those who have just about reached explosion mode, here’s an idea one of the Bureaucrat Beat staff found. New software gauges which callers are ticked off when put on hold by listening to their mutterings and signs. The system transfers the most irritated to an operator after analyzing variables like voice intonation and speech patterns. Apparently the computer geniuses have reduced cursing to electronic tones. How damned nice of them!

Still seems like hiring more real humans might solve the problems better and not encourage ranting and raving on the phone.

You’ve heard of the President’s new Conscience Law? That was all over the news before the holidays. Most TV experts said they believe the Administration wants to discourage birth control, so they created a law that allows clerks in pharmacies to say they can’t sell birth control pills because they don’t believe in them. Put aside, for a moment, that we have spilled off the deep end of reason.

Let’s say it all goes beyond birth control and that some clerks, as nice as we know they really are, might have a thing about indigestion pills. Maybe they grew up in a wild household where spicey food and tensions drove them to Pepcid AC or Zantac at an early age. Say they vowed to themselves that in adulthood this kind of lifestyle would never prevail. And, say, they like to push their views on other people. Does this mean every case of heartburn and acid indigestion that walked through the door would find indignant refusal instead of pills to put out the gastric fires?!?

Speaking of heartburn, how about the Irvine woman, fearful of her bank, who stuffed 10 one hundred dollar bills into an envelope and into a box of crackers.

Trouble is, she had to return one of her boxes of crackers for some reason and, yes, she goofed and returned the box with the cool ten thousand in it.

Then, another customer bought the crackers, found the prize and, admirably, returned it to the store where the original cash stasher had flown through the doors in a panic. A sign of the times as folks start to stash cash where they think it’s safer than the bank. Better think hard on that one.

With a crunch of the crackers, 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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