Bureaucrat Beat: More Secrets, Frosty Relations, and Whale Watch

It’s been the talk of the newsies this week – the Washington Post expose of the nearly 900,000 top-secret security workers who are doing who knows what! Seems the fright of 9-1-1 spawned an unheard of and secret force of Homeland Security workers all over the nation. Who knew? Practically no one. It took the Post two years to uncover it.

We couldn’t say it any better than the lead of their story which goes like this: “The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.” The article calls it a “Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight.”

Other findings – 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. This is the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings – some 17 million square feet of space.

So, it’s a juggernaut that swallows untold billions of dollars, does we know not what, with no provable deterrent to terrorism. If we have this megalamess in Homeland Security, who needs a war in Afghanistan? The best question of all – why has Congress let this happen? This money and energy drain erupted during Bush, but it’s still going on! As one of our listeners said, looks like a big start for Big Brother. True enough. How many Americans are they spying on with no oversight? This is the absolute worst yet.

That is, unless you live in Bell, CA where bureaucrats and City Council members voted themselves humungous salaries. The city manager made (until he resigned) $800,000 a year. Council members- $100,000 a year. The police chief – $475,000. You get the picture – thievery disguised as government. They’re all pointing fingers.

Attorney General Jerry Brown has launched an investigation, along with CalPERS into compensation paid by the City of Bell and other local governments in California. Bell, CA, has 40,000 citizens, many of whom are low income. Nice.

Even though our local bureaucrats have not risen to the greedy heights of Bell, they’d better watch out. Government still makes way more money than private business, and some of the new Mammoth councilmen are saying government has to do the job with fewer people.

Speaking of local government, what was up with the Mammoth Town Council and the Mono Supervisors over election certification? Councilman John Eastman was obviously fried that the Mono Clerk certified the June 8th election results on June 23rd, and it took the Mono Supervisors until July 6 to accept the results. Until that happened, the newly elected Mammoth Town Councilmen could not be sworn in. That left them in a non-voting status during new budget discussions.

Eastman said in the past the supervisors held a special meeting to get the ball rolling on election results. He said he talked to some supervisors about that and so did Town Manager Rob Clark, but no go. Mono CAO Dave Wilbrecht said the Town had plenty of notice on time lines and could’ve requested a special supervisors meeting. As one of our listeners commented, “Seems like the relationship between the Mono Supervisors and the Town Council is more frosty than it should be.” Certainly does. What’s up with the frost?

The 40 ton whale that lept out of the sea near South Africa, crushing the mast of a small boat – maybe he had a similar message. Human relations with the rest of the planet are “more frosty than they should be.” Oil moguls, politicians, regular guys have put profit above concern for the whole. How could our government have let BP Oil, and who knows how many others, do a deep oil well drill with no environmental clearance or disaster plan?

The Gulf of Mexico, all of the sea creatures and the habitat, and the people reliant on the sea have and will suffer mightily. Maybe the nervous and jumpy whale was trying to give us a message from the sea. Maybe we better listen.

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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