You know, it’s tough to hold a powerful public spot and have former colleagues call you a “whack job”. That’s what former DWP Commissioner Rick Caruso, who did nothing for the Owens Valley, said about current DWP interim manager David Freeman.

Caruso responded to questions in an LA Times interview. The writer asked him about Freeman. Casruso said, “David Freeman’s a whack job. The fact that he’s heading up the DWP again is a joke. The man is not qualified, nor was he at the time, to run that organization, and I was really happy to see him leave it.” Caruso then said something like put Freeman back on his horse and send him out of town, referring to the manager’s down-home, Tennessee style. Wow. Snippy.

Mayor Villaraigosa would disagree and probably so would most folks up here, even if they don’t like what Freeman wants to do with solar arrays in the Eastern Sierra. Probably just a cheap shot by Caruso. LA’s a tough town, you know. Hey, maybe it’s not that they’re just rude to us. They don’t really treat each other very well either.

The local health bureaucracy still treats us well and has an eye on H1N1. The holidays did see more outpatient visits for respiratory ills in Mammoth Lakes at the hospital ER and Sierra Park Clinic. Sick visitors mostly showed up. Overall the H1N1 has waned, for now. Stay tuned for next spring and a possible resurgence.

One more thing about flu. Our Health Officer Dr. Rick Johnson shared a Newsweek article that dispels the earlier assertiondr._rick_johnson that senior citizens need not fear H1N1. Now, the Center for Disease Controls numbers, according to Newsweek, show that H1N1 is more than twice as deadly to seniors than to children. Bottom line now – kids are most likely to catch the flu but adults and the elderly are most likely to die if they catch it. Sounds like vaccination time.

Favorite story of the week so far? The one about the Maryland nurse who took on the IRS and won! She argued that the Infernal Revenue Service should allow her to deduct $15,000 in business school tuition fees. The U.S. Tax Court Judge agreed. Lori Singleton-Clarke said she could hardly believe it. The court judgment will likely open the door to other students to deduct tuition fees from taxes. Check with your accountant.

If you need social services in California or believe those who do should have it, you will not like the Governor’s last move. More cuts because of a huge deficit. They knew this, so why did it come to one more round of shocks for the poor?

A $269 million cut in Calworks. A maximum grant for a family of three goes from $694 to $586 per month. Social Security Disability or SSI will get another cut of $336 million or $15 a month. No much, you say? This is not the first cut and those who get it do not have a spare $15.

Food assistance will go down by $56 million. In-home support gets cut by $950 million. The Governor wants $6.9 billion from the federal government or else he will make the threatened cuts, says Arnold. Not pretty.

Neither is the way rated jobs for 2010. They examine 200 jobs from actuary to news reporter, which ranks 184th. They base the rank on things like salary, likelihood to get hired, etc. What about passion and duty? What about fun and frolic? Computer Systems Analyst ranks third on the list. Federal Judge, 63rd. A clergyman, 96th. An actor, 160th. A police officer, 180th. Cab driver comes in last. These days, a job is a job. The luxury of best job fell to the floor with all the stock market ticker tape.

Like to do things right? Sure, you do. Then, repeat after us. This year is twenty ten, not two thousand and ten. One of our own passed on the word that the National Association of Good Grammar has decreed that this year should officially be pronounced twenty ten. Okay. Got it.

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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