Bureaucrat Beat: Play Nice, Car Wars and Jail Pass

The focus tightened this week. The Inyo Supervisors apparently do not much believe in environmental protection. During their wilderness discussion, several board members expressed disdain, not just difference of opinion, for those who favor protection of federal acres. And, hey, we totally understand the desire for access to public lands, but you don’t have to hate the other side.

Supervisor Bev Brown said something to the effect that if a wilderness supporter breaks a leg in the wilderness, “Let them stay there.” Yikes.

Maybe this attitude explains why the board members don’t seem too concerned about environmental damage by LADWP pumps. They’ve never bothered to pursue the more than a dozen violations of the water agreement.

Citizens called us on another matter. They heard the story about the County Counsel’s new county-provided vehicle. One woman reminded us that under previous Administrator Brent Wallace, car allowances were added to department heads’ salaries. As she put it, the car allowances became hidden to the public. Now, they’re getting cars on top of auto allowances.

Many rank and file workers, not to mention citizens who don’t work for Inyo County, drive their own cars and pay for their own gasoline.

Consistency – that’s what many bureaucracies lack. Take the Mammoth Post Office – a post office box only facility – requires use of correct p.o.boxes for mail delivery, yet in their own fee notice, the post office gave patrons the option to pay their bill and send it to a street address – the Mammoth Post Office, 3330 Main St., Mammoth Lakes. And, they wonder why we get confused?!?

On the state level, we can only say that legislators continue to fail in their duty to come up with a budget.

Eventually, no state budget will really, really hurt people. For now, the four-lane project underway in Southern Inyo will move forward, but eventually, it might be tough for Caltrans to pay the contractor.

We’re checking with hospitals to see how a budgetless state will impact them.

Meanwhile, the California Workers Compensation program did a stupid thing – that department announced they would adopt a “paperless” system which has no translated into a system that uses five or six times more paper. Wow. What an accomplishment.

News headline patrol found this: “Legislators vote to curb extreme practices in healthcare, but such key issues as cost and uneven care are unaddressed.” We don’t even want to read that story.

The Los Angeles Times ran a story on Mayor Villaraigosa’s drought buster laws that forbid wasting water and call for penalties, but he story included a photo of an LA City parks worker washing down tennis courts with a hose. That’s a violation of measures to save water. Whoops.

Then there was the audit of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Seems those folks have released dangerous felons prematurely, just to reduce prison numbers, and a State Assemblyman from Orange County uncovered this widespread practice.

Asssemblyman Todd Spitzer found that Corrections has discharged parolees without any review and in some cases against the recommendations of parole agents and unit supervisors familiar with the cases.

Prisoners jailed on lewd acts with a child, murder and robbery got out before they were supposed to with no review.

Assemblyman Spitzer also reminded citizens that the Department of Corrections had actually moved sex offenders around to circumvent the sex offender notification requirements. Hello! Who needs prisons and laws when the guys in charge ignore the rules. The Director of Parole was canned. New guy on the scene now.

You know, you gotta hand it to Mississippi. Their legislators have managed to corral lots of pork barrel money. Almost $38 million will go to special projects with virtually no public scrutiny. What’s called the State and Foreign Operations budget includes those millions for Mississippi to pay for bus facilities, four lane projects, Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation, a multipurpose facility and more. And, they were screaming about $100,000 for a mule museum in Bishop!

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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