Bureaucrat Beat: Lower Lockness, Fearless Leaders and Tree Wisdom

We have an exclusive news flash to start today. Sources confirmed that a strange variety of aquatic animal has been documented in the Lower Owens River. Witnesses over the week-end said that while they were recreating around the new river, they saw tall fins sticking out of the river surface at regular intervals. Closer examination revealed a long, scaly amphibious creature believed to have lain dormant for many years underground until recently.

In fact, a similar siting was also made from the banks of the Owens Gorge. LADWP and Inyo scientists have begun to investigate. They are examining cell phone photos snapped by witnesses.

In Mammoth Lakes, shocking news today. In a sweeping turn-around, the Town of Mammoth Lakes has re-hired Steve Searles, famous Bear man. Mayor Skip Harvey made a public announcement that Town officials had failed to understand Mr. Searles concerns about relations with the Police Department and that they now understand why he was unable to sign a contract. Considering the widespread acclaim of Searles – major networks, resorts with their own bear issues, Harvey said, “Gosh. Are we nuts. This guy’s the real deal.”

Ha! April Fools! Gotcha for a second, huh? No? We actually did research the history of April Fools Day. Some sources say it was designed to “embarrass the gullible.” Hey, who wouldn’t want the Lockness monster in our local rivers and elected officials who actually deal with what’s important! Here are some notable April Fool’s Day hoaxes:

In 1957, the BBC program Panorama showed the Swiss harvesting spaghetti from trees. A large number of viewers called the BBC to find out how they could cultivate the
pasta tree.

In the early 90s in Mammoth Lakes, the Mammoth Times featured an exploding volcano in the April 1st edition. Southern California media believed it and the unexpected results of a joke hit town. Almost no one was laughing.

In 1998, Burger King ran an ad saying people could get a Whopper for left-handed people whose condiments were designed to drip out of the right side. Yep, you guessed it, customers flocked to BK for left-handed orders.

In 1996, Taco Bell took out a full-page ad in The New York Times announcing that they had purchased the Liberty Bell to reduce the country’s debt and renamed it the Taco Liberty Bell.

Just kidding!! Mark Twain was not fooling when he said, “April 1st: This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other 364.”

Here’s a for real one. Hershey’s Chocolate has issued a new Political FrustrationCandy. Images of our esteemed leaders in hollow chocolate form, somewhat like the Easter Bunny, for melting, chopping or whatever activity that will help relieve political angst! No. Not really. Pretty good idea, however. Hershey’s, are you listening? They have issued a much more conventional confection. Bliss Chocolate in little bite-sized pieces designed to melt in your mouth. Ho-hum.

Here’s another no-joke bit of news. Amy Henderson of Independence wrote a letter to the Board of Supervisors, who planned to order the removal of two Deodar Cedar trees. She recommended an arborist examine the trees for a real assessment. She also pointed to the value of trees to a community. Her letter might be helpful to all of our Eastern Sierra towns. The letter, among others that were not made public at the last Board meeting, points to the benefits of trees – shade, beauty, privacy, improvements in air quality, increased humidity, wind buffers.

Ms. Henderson points to the fact that mature trees are long-term investments. “They can’t be replaced in our lifetimes. She suggests that a qualified arborist with experience in tree appraisal methods should be consulted to determine replacement costs for the trees in question and to determine safety issues, including advice on legal risk. A hazard tree analysis, Henderson wrote, should include three steps: problem identification, documentation and corrective action, if necessary. “Removal,” she wrote, “should only be considered as a last resort.”

Reasonable advice for the Board of Supervisors and for the towns and their tree assets.

And, that’s no foolin’!

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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