Bureaucrat Beat: Grow Up, Cool Clint, Dapper David

Our biggest problem with Sarah Palin? Immaturity. Come on, already. If you’re a public figure and you pose for a kind of silly cheesecake shot in shorts, expect it to go public. Palin now whines about her photo on the cover of Newsweek. She scrambles and grubs for publicity and then goes on the attack if it’s not exactly what she wanted. Grow up, Palin.

We wish a lot of public officials would take the mature approach which means they understand the need for open government, respect for all views and the right of their constituents to know, well, just about everything going on in government and, to some extent, in their private lives.

Clint Eastwood put it like this. In GQ Magazine, Eastwood, named one of the men of the year, said America is becoming more juvenile as a nation. Right on, Dirty Harry.

It was Dapper David who slithered into the Eastern Sierra with his cowboy hat, boots and big plans to develop solar power here where, as he put it, DWP owns the Owens Valley “lock, stock and barrel.” In typical DWP style, Interim DWP Manager David Freeman declared on LA TV that the Owens Valley would become Los Angeles’ Solar Park. Who knew? Hey, it might be a good thing, but we in the colonial territory would like to know what it all means. What do we get out of it? What will it look like? How will this impact our already tromped on environment?

Freeman divided select people into separate groups and met secretly with them. What did he tell the ranchers? Officials? Environmental groups? Will they compare notes? Will the media and general public find out what’s up? As one observer put it, there they go again with the divide and conquer tactic. Hey, Freeman, nobody likes to feel manipulated.

While we’re on the topic of LA and the Owens Valley, thought you might like to know a Special Collector’s Edition DVD of the movie “Chinatown” just came out. That’s the story of LA and our water. Seems a second DVD with it includes featurettes, including interviews with Owens Valley locals close to the water issue – Stan Matlick, Mike Prather, Mark Bagley to name a few.

The real horror story of today – California slapped together a budget about four months ago and already they’re crying deficit of more than $20 billion. More across-the-board cuts ahead, they say. In another part of Sacramento, Attorney General Jerry Brown has toy companies up against the wall. Seems 7 toys exceed lead limits – like Disney Fairies Silvermist’s Water Lilly Necklace and the Barbie Bike Flair Accessory Kit. The AG has asked the companies to pull the lead-ridden toys off the shelves.

And as the shroud of ignorance darkens minds, the University of California Board of Regents voted to up the fees to attend college by more than 32%. Students demonstrated against the tuition hike but regents pointed to the failed State budget and the need for more money from students and their families.

From one disaster to another. Seems a federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had displayed gross negligence in failing to maintain a navigation channel resulting in levee breaches that flooded large areas of New Orleans. The government could face billions in claims from Hurricane Katrina victims. In his ruling, the federal judge said that for more than 40 years the Army Corps had known that a crucial levee protecting suburban St. Bernard Parish and the Lower 9th Ward neighborhood would be compromised by the deterioration of the channel. The judge said the Corps had myriad ways to address the problem but failed to do so. Bureaucracy at its worst – when it leads to human suffering and death.

Locally, tongues still wag over the failure of Inyo County to carry out a school flu shot program because some county supervisors didn’t want health department workers or nurses to ask teen girls if they were pregnant before administering the vaccination. That’s a routine medical question. So, no program. What if an H1N1 vaccination program comes forward for the schools, will elected leaders stand in the way of that vaccine too? Hoping for the protection of our children,

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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