Bureaucrat Beat: Tuxedo and Tazbo, a Poet and Carunchio

What is it about showing off one’s pet? The Bureaucrat Beat newsroom does have a soft spot for Tuxedo, the black and white cat who first made news when he was evacuated, along with the people, during the Inyo Complex fire. The Los Angeles times wanted to know about him when we packed up Tuxedo in his cat carrier box, put him in the back seat and waited for the fire to get too close.

He was a good boy. He didn’t make noise, and he just waited with the rest of us to discover our fate. Tuxedo explored the new fallen snow Thursday with, yes, the curiosity of a cat, but it was somewhat short-lived. After all, cats do claim a large quantity of curiosity but perhaps an even greater aversion to – reowwww! Icy water.

Au contraire! Says Bob Todd’s dog, Tazbo, who pretty much adores snow and cold. Tuxedo and Tazbo appeared on TV33 with their animal joy. Speaking of Bob, we have a poem. By now, you’re asking yourself, “What do cats and dogs and Bob Todd have to do with bureaucracy? They are, as we have noted, antidotes to the sometimes mind strangling nonsense of the bureaus and oth3r parts of life. And, we think the listener who wrote a poem in response to Bob Todd’s morning show on KSRW-FM recognized the same thing. She was obviously listening to Bob’s Show and faxed this poem:

And, just when I think that there’s nothing but wrong,
An invisible stranger relieves me with song!

I set myself up in a room, people free,
Then imagine he knows, and is playing for me.

Most of his choices are tunes I hold dear.
Most make me happy and some bring a tear.

Now, some of you may think his ramblings are odd,
But I truly don’t! I sure than you Bob Todd!

Wow. Great rhyme and beautiful insight.

Now that we’ve had our attitudes adjusted, back to the silliness at hand. Here’s a question put to us:

Can building owners rent to companies that merely want to keep space empty of competitors? That was the question posed by some of you when we ran the story about Cottonwood Plaza’s new leases and a general lack of retail space in Bishop. Vons has tied up the old Kmart space on Main St. in Bishop and its sizeable parking lot. Rite-Aid has tied up the empty space on the ground floor of Cottonwood Plaza to keep out competitors.

Just for the heck of it, we checked in with City of Bishop’s Gary Schley. Asked if companies can just rent spaces to keep them vacant of competitors, Schley said there’s no reason he’s aware of to stop them. Schley himself said, “I don’t like to see that blight.” He’s not alone. Come on Vons, give it up!

Should Leigh Gaasch of Mammoth Lakes give it up? Some have suggested that. Gaasch has organized a series of public meetings on various issues, but primarily her wish for a District Plan in Sierra Valley Sites. A District Plan, she says, would guide the neighborhood into the future. In a letter, Gaasch says “Sierra Valley Sites has no boundaries or rules…it’s time to control our destiny. Step up to the plate and show pride in your place of residence. Think of your future and the future of generations to follow. I would like ot host more meetings on this issue in the future,” says Gaasch, “however for now, it’s your turn to get involved and make a difference. I’m sure you don’t want to live by someone else’s rules.”

Hard to say. The last public meeting Gaasch organized drew mixed reviews. A modest number showed up. Possibly more officials than citizens sat in Suites Z. Discussion spiraled downward to minor name-calling and complaining, causing Police Chief Randy Schienle to warn one man that he would have to settle down or leave.

Others point out that there is a public comment period before each Town Council meeting and the chance to get an agenda item before the Council. At least with our local governments there is hope we can have some control over our lives.

When it comes to state and federal governments, forget about it! Inyo County Administrator Kevin Carunchio just returned from Sacramento where he got the scoop on the $14 billion deficit in the state budget upcoming. Carunchio reminded us of a statement made last November by a state senator. He said to county officials, “Don’t look for any help from Sacramento.”

Thanks. We almost never have, but if, as Carunchio said things appear, Inyo loses grant programs in the District Attorney’s office on a loss of health programs, these things can hurt.

Carunchio has asked county departments to keep in mind that the Governor has asked for a $3.8 billion cutback in the current state budget. It all rolls downhill, as they say. Carunchio has asked each department to see how state cuts may impact their work.

Aside from specific programs, Carunchio questioned what look like “social policy implications”, he said, as a result of attempts not to spend money. Example: The release of 23,000 state prisoners and at the same time the erosion of social assistance programs. Hello! Is anyone looking at the big picture?

The chaos factor grows.

Finally, if FEMA keeps it up, the agency will claim the prize as most hypocritical bureaucracy of the year. We told you FEMA has refused to offer disaster help to those whose homes or businesses were destroyed by Santa Ana winds in Southern California in October. Fire damage will receive assistance. Who made that decision? Then, to add true insult to injury, FEMA issued a press release to praise itself for assistance to firefighters – local fire departments and emergency medical services. That’s a good thing, but where’s the press release about what FEMA failed to do?

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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