Bureaucrat Beat: U.S.S. Clueless, Verizon Vexation, and Chicken Noodling

Did you hear about the cruise ship, U.S.S. Clueless? That’s our name for the ship full of fools, er, uh tourists, that cruised

into the shore at Haiti last week. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines out of Florida dock their cruise ships at Labadee on Haiti’s northern coast. Miles away people remained trapped beneath rubble, with tens of thousands injured and dying. The cruise passengers regularly jetski, parasail and drink cocktails while swinging in their hammocks there. Partying so near to the worst tragedies imaginable seems, at the very least, insensitive.

News reports said that some of the passengers were “sickened” over the decision to dock there. One passenger posted an internet message to protest vacationing where “tens of thousands of dead people are being piled up on the streets, with the survivors stunned and looking for food and water.”
Maybe the over-indulged cruisers should’ve gone into town to help.

From the truly painful to the personally irritating company called Verizon. As you know, we in the Bureaucrat Beat Newsroom have railed against Verizon’s lack of prompt and helpful customer service – you know, they put you on hold for 15 minutes, then transfer you, then hang up on you, etc., etc.


Suggested new slogan: We’re Verizon – we don’t care because we don’t have to.

Clint Hyde of Mammoth shared a worse Verizon nightmare than we have ever imagined. Hyde tried to call Verizon about a malfunctioning DSL line in a house he manages for the owner. As Clint put it, his experience with Verizon was “an exercise in endless loops of electronic bureaucracy and no results for over three weeks.” Clint, we do feel your pain.

He called tech support for Verizon, pushed countless buttons, listened to a computer talk to him and tell him how to test the DSL modem. The real, live person he finally reached was in a foreign country and was, in a word, unhelpful. After wasting hours, Clint learned that someone would come to the house and fix the DSL in a week. It was a no show. He called again and found the visit was mysteriously cancelled. Back to the phones, and now he waits for another appointment. Come on, Verizon, get it together and help people who pay those big bills!!! Hyde points out that he could get a cable modem by walking into the local cable office. He pointed to the old bumper stickers which said “Ma Bell – We don’t care, because we don’t have to.” A slogan which Hyde says now belongs to Verizon. We second that motion.

The candidates for local office have started to step up to the plate. Just in time for election season, Don McPherson of Mammoth Lakes has written an astute and perceptive piece on leadership. With incisive phrases, McPherson reveals the vast difference between a real leader and a politician. As one local woman said, “This letter should be required reading.” You should check it out in the Mammoth Times and on our website. McPherson’s letter plus self-honesty could result in some real candidates worth your vote.

Hey, just scratching our heads here in the Newsroom. We have heard no public compliment from officials in Mammoth bears-in-campgroundsLakes on the Animal Planet special on Steve Searles, the bears and Mammoth Lakes. A 2-hour TV show with more watchers than usual. Sounds like one heck of a promo for the Town to us. Surely, officialdom hasn’t allowed political stickiness get in the way of appreciation for Searles?!?

Heard about all the noodling over chickens in Bishop? Good grief. Who knew that the little cluckers could get under so many peoples’ skin? Apparently a couple of people complained about chickens in the backyards of neighbors. The gripes escalated into a full scale debate over chicken coops, the City code and the fact that two city council members have chickens.

The Council, for some reason, tabled the issue but pointed to Community Services Director Keith Caldwell to gather info and come back with a better ordinance. Caldwell, now known at City Hall as the Chicken Czar, may not have much to crow about as he tackles this one.

On one side of the citywide feud over poultry we have those who mimic W.C.Fields opinion of children. Substitute chicken for children when Fields said, “Yes, I like children, fried or fricasseed.” Flumoxed by this latest controversy, one official joked that bears eat chickens – maybe Mammoth and Bishop could combine pests and solve issues. As another official said, “This is why we live here – better a chicken debate than gangs and drive by shootings.” We’ll second that motion, too.

To the man who stood up at DWP Manager David Freeman’s meeting a week or so ago and complained bitterly about all the vandalism done to DWP pumps, equipment and facilities – may we suggest that these acts reflect the real feelings of citizens here. After all, kids act out what they hear at home, don’t you think?

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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