Bureaucrat Beat: No Tyrants, Energy Sales and Subpoena for Health Insurance

We just have to say it. With an eye on Chile and Haiti and other places, we feel glad to have a bureaucracy that demands building codes, sanitation and other safety measures for our lives. We must hasten to say that some bureaucracies take it too far and have morphed into tyrants. We need a good balance of protections and freedoms.

And if you thought the home foreclosure nightmare had ended, listen to this. Right now, according to a report by Mammoth Town Councilman John Eastman, 4 million U.S. homeowners remain 90 days or more delinquent on mortgages. Ouch.

On the bright side, one more note on Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra and how much happiness they brought some 26 Marines, back from war with missing limbs but still able to enjoy the ski slopes. They got the royal treatment last month from DSES. Their wide smiles told the story.

A new law tells a story of more solar power. According to news reports, the law will double the lid on how much energy customers can sell back to utilities – from a 2.5% rooftop solar cap to 5% that rooftop systems can sell back to utilities. Check in with Edison and DWP.

Here’s our favorite story so far – the California Attorney General has subpoenaed financial records of the State’s seven largest health insurance companies as part of an investigation into whether they illegally raised customer premiums and denied payment of legitimate claims, according to the LA times. The story also says that the State Assembly’s Rules Committee okayed a subpoena to force Anthem Blue Cross to hand over documents related to proposed rate hikes of up to 39% for individual policies.

Has Congress noticed that while they dither over healthcare reform, the insurance companies have jacked up rates and denied coverage? California Attorney General Jerry Brown gets the picture. He will figure out if Anthem Blue Cross violated California’s unfair-competition law with their huge rate hikes. Brown will examine how much the mega health companies spend on their executives, on marketing, administration and actual healthcare.

On a completely unrelated note, according to ScienceNews magazine, the economic impact of minor air traffic delays exceeds that of hurricane damage. Wow. Who knew? The article says that the Joint Economic Committee of Congress came up with an analysis that suggests in 2007 alone domestic air traffic delays cost the economy as much as $41 billion in increased operational costs for the airlines and $12 billion worth of lost time for passengers. It all adds up, doesn’t it?

All those trees they keep planting in Los Angeles add up to more of our water!!! Seems the group called TreePeople recently gave out 9,000 fruit trees for LA folks to plant. In the past 26 years, the group has given away nearly 100,000 fruit trees to people and groups. Hey, we love trees and think that’s great, but in the meantime the Owens Valley lives without all of its trees and southern Inyo towns fear they will not have enough water to add trees to their homes. That’s not right!! The source of all the water for more LA trees should get some help.

We just have to mention that we in the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom received an anonymous letter supposedly written to Mammoth Police Chief Randy Schienle. The letter warned the chief of some things, but hey, people – no name, no publication. We’re not into anonymous opinions. In fact, we have urged those who post comments on our website to get up front with their real names. Some people have. Others, not. We know it’s kind of the way it is on websites, but we still prefer those who have the courage to stand by their views.

Finally, had a great time at the Bishop Lions Club the other day. Rex Allen invited me to speak to the group at lunch time. What a great group of guys and true gentlemen. Had a lot of fun talking about DWP, media and public issues. You guys made my day!

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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