Down the Rabbit Hole in D.C., Homeland Insecurity, and That FCC Guy

Observers of the Mammoth Town Council Wednesday night left in a state of mystification. Police said that the issues they raised had nothing to do with Steve Searles. What? Their entire letter to the Town Manager attacked Searles, who, Wednesday night, said he thought the police officers were his friends and that he had enjoyed working with them on bear issues. Searles did dispute some of the cops’ complaints and stood by his own actions. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, in our nation’s capitol, the Alice In Wonderland atmosphere continues. Three years overdue and millions over budget, the Capitol Visitors Center unveiling caused gasps when officials admitted the thing cost $621 million. The original budget was $71 million. Citizens Against Government Waste President Tom Schatz is quoted as saying, “The mismanagement and bloat associated with the construction of the Capitol visitors Center is emblematic of the rampant waste in the nation’s capitol.”

Seems legislators kept adding on to the project. They even have a full television and radio studio with adjoining makeup faculties. The center also includes a 450-seat dining area, two orientation theaters, a large auditorium and an exhibition hall. Legislators have blamed the architect for acting like he was “playing with monopoly money.” We really do not like to read things like this. It’s more scarey than we had imagined.

One more awful report from D.C. – The Government Accountability Office or GAO has issued another report on what they call a disturbing lack of oversight on the Department of Homeland Security’s major acquisitions. That means any investment that costs $50 million or more. The GAO also criticized Homeland Security for failure to manage its workforce. Hey, wait a minute. The last time we talked about Homeland Security, the department chief and his wife had teamed up with the Muppets to convince children to prepare for disasters – that pretty well wraps it all up, wouldn’t you say?

Meanwhile, closer to home, Northern Inyo Hospital moves steadily ahead on the new hospital project. We don’t know all the details, but we do know that the State Office of Health Planning had okayed demolition of the old hospital but then recanted and demanded a gargantuan new foundation that one official said would mean an 8.0 earthquake would level everything except the new hospital building. Well, I suppose there’s merit in that if we can all afford it. To their credit, the hospital board and the administrator have figured out how to handle it so far.

Here’s a provocative headline: Hey FCC, Let Parents Be the Net Censors. LA Times columnist David Lazarus calls out FCC Chairman Kevin Martin on the carpet for his proposal that the federal government censor sites to young web surfers. Lazarus fears that the feds will get their big feet in the door and start to censor lots of stuff. No thank you!! Hey, if what were going on in D.C. looked like the work of realized saints, we might say, yeah, sure, tell us what to do.

Remember, FCC Chairman Martin was the one who single handedly spent more than $300,000 buying advertising space on a NASCAR race car to publicize high definition TV. Ironically, the car on which the ad was placed crashed not only once but twice, which some have called instant Karma. We call it crinkled ad space.

Here in the newsroom we play KSRW-FM, needless to say, and we have noticed the soothing sounds of holiday music woven through regular songs. Whatever your faith, we hope you will enjoy the classic and beautiful melodies that say, the human race can hold hands and smile. We need a lot of that.

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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