Bureaucrat Beat: Hardball, Tabloid and Movie Magic

One of our website comments wanted to know why Inyo Water Director Bob Harrington “recommended” DWP obey the Water Agreement instead of demand it. Good question. Answer? The Inyo Supervisors, who set policy, apparently have not backed up Harrington so that he feels he can play hardball. He has, however, implied hardball which is something new for the Water Department.

Remember, even the Mayor of LA can’t deal very well with DWP. As our website reader noted, and many before him have too, confrontation is the only way. Get one of the lawyers, hey, how about Greg James, to go get an injunction – either LA obeys the Water Agreement or we stop the pumps completely. That’s probably the best way.

In the 80s, many intelligent people predicted the Water Agreement would never protect the Valley and would cost untold amounts. Even the Third District Court of Appeals judges warned Inyo about the failures of the Agreement. The problems go right back in the lap of the Inyo Supervisors.

Speaking of the DWP, they played some hardball with LA City Hall. Somebody in DWP withheld the annual transfer of millions to the LA general fund. It was all wrapped up in a big whoopdeedoo over power rate hikes. Finally, DWP sent the Mayor and Council $73.5 million. How nice. Can we have some, too?

Meanwhile, from the barely sublime to the totally ridiculous. News reports said that CBS TV news went on an undercover investigation and caught LADWP workers (get this) “drinking and driving on the job and going to strip clubs.” KCBS said some DWP linemen, when the weather turns bad, don’t go back and work in the yard like they’re supposed to. Instead, they headed to the strip bar, ordered drinks and watched the action.

From the tabloid to Town of Mammoth stuff. Councilman and candidate John Eastman issued a letter to point out that while Mammoth may have less money than it did in 2006, things still look pretty good. For the past two years, said Eastman, the Town budgets have been balanced and both have generated revenue surpluses. Okay. Pretty good. Eastman supports a continuation of two furlough days per month, putting all revenue surplus into the Reserve for Economic Uncertainty and funding the new marketing organization with Measure A money. He also supports staff cuts to provide dollars for the new Parks and Rec. Dept. and reinstatement of the three winter-time public works snow removal operator positions. That’s an Eastman note.

Election time means money flows. The LA Times reported that so far, Pacific Gas & Electric has spent $28.5 million on Proposition 16 which requires votes for new utilities that would compete with PG&E. Think about it. The oil industry, not looking so great right now, raised $1.2 million to collect signatures for an initiative to suspend the state’s greenhouse gas restrictions. Oh, good grief.

While many point fingers at BP and other companies related to the Gulf disaster, others point at the federal agency charged with oversight. Seems the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service downplayed the potential for environmental damage in a document that assessed potential impacts of oil spills. One more chummy relationship between bureaucrats and big timers.

Wanna get your mind off nonsense? Go to the movies! In weeks to come, Julia Roberts will star in the film version of the bestselling novel, “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Fascinating book, but will JR bring it to life on the screen? Plenty of us will go see.

If you’re just into pretty faces, how about Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise in “Knight and Day” – you know, action, romance, etc. Or, how about the Sorcerer’s Apprentice with Nicolas Cage, coming in July.

Ending on a note of fantasy, 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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