Bureaucrat Beat: Mini-War Over Storm and Crack Down on Puffies

Not that we’ve become born-again Dale Carnegie devotees, but we just have to pull out one more quote from the principles of How to Win Friends and influence People. Here goes: “Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.” After hearing lots of views on all sides of the last storm and how it was handled, the Bureaucrat Beat Newsroom found valid concerns on all sides. That’s where Dale Carnegie comes in. Stay with us on this.

Last week, the National Weather Service issued stern warnings to law enforcement in Monosnow.jpg and Inyo. Advise people not to travel in the Sierra, they said. This could put lives at risk. Fast forward a day or so. Business owners in Mammoth Lakes have now come unglued. Service stations have run out of gasoline, Vons – bare shelves. Locals determined to have plenty of food in case of overwhelming snow. Visitors, tuned in to national TV, pack their bags to escape what sounds like the biggest snow storm in 50 years, not to mention wind, and their own homes in Los Angeles might be at risk.

Mammoth business owners, still smarting from a couple of so-so years of low snow and recession, watch dollar bills driving out of town in front of snow storm frights. If you’ve ever owned a business and had to meet payroll, you know how they felt.

Let’s do a mind-meld with law enforcement, fire, Caltrans, CHP. They have received stern and repeated communiques from the National Weather Service and State Office of Emergency Service. A life threatening storm, they said. Remember, in these times, our bureaucrats look back at New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina when government knew about the potential disaster and did virtually nothing.

From their viewpoints, the only thing to do is put out the word. They did what they must do – watch out for public safety. Mono County sent out a reverse 911 warning to have supplies on hand in case of power outages and road closures.

Another good point – The whole State was in turmoil over this storm. If bad things had happened here, there would’ve been no extra help.

So, after much talking, TV watching, listening and thinking, the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom staff recommends that Mammoth Lakes put away its anger, bring business owners and cops together to talk, as Dale Carnegie said, “in terms of the other person’s interests.” Surely, they can find solutions. As a news colleague in southern California agreed, no wonder we have world wars, sometimes we can’t even handle small-town spats.

Back to new laws of the year. Some of the new rules really set off laughing fits in the newsroom, however, there are some that do not. Like all of the new tobacco laws which further put the screws to smoking. Now, on one hand, we come from the era of reports who puffed on cigarettes and cigars as deadlines pounded on their heads, but our publisher and founder, John Heston, who lit up his share of puffies, would have agreed that the harsh laws are trying to help. Heston died, in part, due to severe breathing issues. He picked up Lucky Strikes when he was 16. It was very cool then. One thing Heston, nor the rest of us reformed smokers in the newsroom, ever appreciated – the self-righteous condemnation of smoking.

Come to think of it, nothing self-righteous is all that appealing.

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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