Bureaucrat Beat: Real History, Money Laundering and Mammoth’s Oz

Funny how some people like to re-do history. News reports said that the State Board of Education in Texas recently voted for a more conservative curriculum in the schools. They will de-emphasize the separation of church and state and they will exclude much about Thomas Jefferson. Instead, the report said, Texas will highlight Phyllis Schlafly, a conservative who opposed equal rights for women, and Senator Joe McCarthy, who destroyed the lives of good people with his personal power trip to root out Communists where there were none. Wow! What do they put in that Texas barbecue?!?

In California, State Senator Leland Yee said he would work out legislation to protect California students from the Texas version of history. Yeah for Yee!!!! We will only mention the famous quote from Spanish philosopher George Santayana: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Keep your eye on Texas. Hey, maybe this explains Dubya’s strange take on reality.

The Howard Jarvis Association has an eye on the LADWP. The group sued the Department for transferring ratepayers dollars to the LA City general fund. Yep. They do that every year. The Jarvis people called it illegal taxation under Proposition 218 which requires votes on new taxes. After all, who knew their increased water and power bills would pay for City of Los Angeles government? That includes ratepayers in the Eastern Sierra.

In fact, for many years, folks up here have resented DWP’s annual gift of many millions to LA City government. Cozy little relationship.

Anyway, on the recent Jarvis lawsuit, a judge agreed with the Jarvis folks, then DWP pulled a fast one. They transferred the millions to the City of LA out of the power side of the utility. Prop. 218 has no authority over power rates, only water and sewer related services. Director of the Howard Jarvis Association, Kris Vosburgh, filled us in on the details. He called it a loop hole in Proposition 218.

LA Mayor Villaraigosa recently threatened the LA City Council that if they didn’t approve water rate increases, DWP wouldn’t be able to transfer $73 million to the City. Duhhhhh! Looks like a direct link between water rates and a gift to LA.

Mr. Vosburgh said the Jarvis group calls it money laundering when DWP switches water funds over to power and then to the City. He said their organization is “looking into it.”

One gets the feeling that money laundering or worse plague the state government. A $21 Billion deficit?!? As Mono Supervisor Byng Hunt commented, how do they plan to solve this huge problem? Hunt said state officials keep pushing off handling things and opportunities are minimal. ‘There have to be drastic changes,” he said. Hunt and others expect lay offs and service cuts. He did add that right now, Mono County is in pretty good shape. Local impacts are inevitable.

Is that the yellow brick road we see winding its way into Mammoth Lakes? Hey, we know lots of folks think they live in the land of Oz there, but a new town council candidate gave the Emerald City a whole new meaning. Allen Blumer wants a wildlife sanctuary in the Valentine Reserve. Lions, tigers and bears, Oh my!! Blumer explained that he would get a grant to install 15 foot high cyclone fencing with an angled top and concertina wire. Good grief. Inside, says Blumer, will be bears, coyotes, raccoons and even Siberian Tigers and Snow Leopards. He sees big cages on flatbed trailers that will haul the wild critters around town for tourists to look at. Wait a minute, this has morphed from The Wizard to Nightmare on Elm St!

On a final, porcine note, Bishop City Administrator Rick Pucci reflected on the question, “Were there complaints in Bishop over the years about chickens?” Not really, said Pucci. But he did recall a pig furor. Seems a few years back folks kept pot belly pigs as pets. Cute little porkers. One of them ran around the neighborhood like a pet dog. Unleashed pigs make people just as made as free roaming dogs. An offended neighbor painted the little pot belly lime green in protest. The whole affair ran up against the City’s ordinance that does flatly ban pigs in the city limits. Hopefully it won’t take green chickens to resolve the feather fight.

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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