Bureaucrat Beat: Viva La Individual, Black Bat Flowers and No Lawsuits

When floundering, turn to Webster’s Dictionary. The definition of bureaucracy includes this: “An unwieldy administrative system burdened with excessive complexity and lack of flexibility.” A definition that, sadly, fits a number of outfits.

We in the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom listened to Webster’s, leaned back in our chairs and sipped coffee, gazing at the flag on our wall that says, Don’t Tread on Me. We arranged and re-arranged papers on our table and flipped through the pages of the Los Angeles Times. Hmmmm, we said, as a meditative mood settled over the room like a grey fog. The radio delivered CNN news at the top of the air. The announcer said that someone had called the Dalai Lama a liar. Wow. We’re glad we don’t have to challenge the Dalai Lama. China can say what it might, but the leader of Tibet has survived hideous violence in his country and attempts to extinguish it. The Dalai Lama preaches happiness. A dynamic leader can get things done. Unlike an unwieldy system – complex and inflexible.

At last. We had arrived at our conclusion. What America, and the Eastern Sierra in particular, needs is dynamic leadership and not more bureaucracy. Hail, Hail the individual! We love it when great ideas bubble up from the depths of pondering in our brains.

We won’t be voting in the Mono County Assessor’s race, but we had occasion to meet Randy Cook, a south county candidate for Assessor. He chatted with us briefly, but in a short time he told the story of his hard work in Mono County and elsewhere, his talent for initiating financial programs, his experience and his fresh attitude toward active leadership. An individual who wants to contribute and lead. Sounds good to us.

We shy away from most election recommendations, but Cook just happened to stumble by when we were contemplating leadership. Good Karma, the Dalai Lama might say.

Someone sent us a gift the other day – flower bulbs to plant outside the newsroom. Flowers that will return to show their colors every year. We like that, although one of them was called Black Bat Flower. What was our friend trying to say with that selection? We’re pretty sure it’s an astute observation of our favorite color and bird – black and bat. You know, being the cave dweller types that we are – no windows, dark, mysterious. Thanks for the flowers and the recognition of our dark, secretive side.

Here was a surprising line in a press release: “…a program that will enable individuals to possibly resolve disputes without the necessity of filing lawsuits.” Wow. Can this really happen? We don’t know much about dispute resolution. We’re usually just trying to document disputes while we watch them escalate.

The Inyo Superior Court, on the other hand, has expressed an interest in resolving problems before the escalation part sets in. Presiding Judge Dean Stout said that the Court received a planning grant to develop a civil alternative disputes resolution program. He will hold a planning meeting, for those interested, Monday at 3pm in the Bishop courtroom. Judge Stout has invited the public.

Judge Stout says mediation has worked well in other communities, especially family law cases. Avoid lawsuits? Yes. Sounds good.

This also sounds good and may redeem the Postal Service from its sins of customer torture. Seems that the U.S. Postal Service has launched a pilot program which recycles dead gadgets. It’s called the Mail Back Program. It’s just in 10 big markets right now, but who knows.

You bring in old gadgets – handhelds, cell phones, MP3players – seal them in preprinted, postage-paid envelopes and drop them in the mail. The package goes to Clover Technologies Group. Clover will supposedly refurbish, resell or break down the discarded gadgets and that nothing will end up in a landfill. Not bad. Stay tuned.

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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