Bureaucrat Beat: Vote Smart, Bear Letter and Medicare Shame

This being election day, the Bureaucrat Beat staff sat down yesterday to kick around any election issues we wanted to mention. We don't do endorsements. That assumes the local voter is not capable of making a decision. We don't assume that. After munching our way through a box of wheat thins and downing several cups of coffee, we all decided the bestvoting_machines.jpg advice on election day is to crank into gear all those brain cells and find the best decision, based on your own highest and best self. Then, consider yourself lucky to vote in Inyo or Mono where we don't have to stand in 5 hour lines and we can trust the integrity of our election officials.

Here's an elected official who took the bull, or in this case bear, by the horns. Councilman John Eastman on Mammoth and its bears:

Dear Editor –

It is time for the Town Council to make a decision regarding the Bear population in Mammoth Lakes.

We have tried "Plan B", which was reducing the influence, the necessary tools, the
amount of time and money, and therefore the ability of our previous "wildlife
specialist", Steve Searles, to do the job of bear management. We have now reached the point of literally, No Bear Management.

I just received a Town Council report which stated that "Bear activity is noticeably slowing down". Yet, during the past two weeks, there have been Bear break-ins and or ransacking at the Mammoth Elementary School, the Mammoth Hospital kitchen, the Austria Hof, a house/kitchen on Sherwin Street in Old Mammoth. Plus, on just a single day, Sunday, October 26th, there were five, 911 "bear calls". It is my understanding that there are currently 28 Bears identified within the Mammoth Lakes area. I just don't believe that our local Bears are any where near under containment, and they are still very active.bears-in-campgrounds.jpg

It is my feeling that three things are evident. First, I believe that there is a
great majority of local residents who believe that good "Bear/wildlife management"
is important for Mammoth Lakes. And second, I believe that there is a great majority of local residents who feel that our current "Bear with us" program is not working – at all. And thirdly, that there is a desire to re-instate our past Wildlife Specialist, Steve Searles, back into his previous position of managing our wildlife.

Therefore, I have requested to have this subject agendized for Town Council
discussion at our November 5th Council meeting. My intent is to get a majority of
the Town Council to agree with the urgency of this issue, and to direct both Neil
McCarroll and myself to work with Town Staff and Steve Searles, with the goal of
rehiring Mr. Searles as our Wildlife Specialist, ASAP.

If you have an interest in our local bear population, and wish to express your
personal thoughts on this issue, please plan on attending the Town Council Meeting
on November 5th at 6:30 pm in the Council chambers, above the movie theater.

Thank you,

John Eastman

One more note on this issue. I did ask Councilman Eastman to comment on whether or not Police Chief Randy Schienle and Steve Searles can work together, considering past differences.

The Councilman's response was "I suspect that IF an agreement is reached with Mr. Searles that, yes, both he and the Police Chief will be able to work together, as they are both professionals in their respective fields. The key challenge will be to work out a contract with Mr. Searles that will meet the desires of both the community of Mammoth Lakes and of Steve."

Before we move on to another letter and another issue, just a quick mention of third quarter oil profits. Exxon Mobile Corporation recorded more record profits with a jump of 58% in profit over last quarter, which was $14.8 billion over last quarter's record 9.41 billion. Royal Dutch She3ll reported a 22% gain, BP reported a net income rise of 83%. ConocoPhillips, up 41%. Marathon Oil, up 50%. You wanna talk redistribution of wealth? Those companies have our money in their pockets – way, way, way too much of it.

Okay. On to tragedy in Sacramento. The California Department of Health sent out letters to Medicare and Medi-Cal recipients. The letters arrived with the news that the State would no longer pay Medicare Part B premiums as of November 1st. Instantly, Senior Citizens and those on fixed income lost nearly $100 a month or more.

One of those recipients is Bruce Cotton of Lone Pine. He writes:


I got this letter in the mail October 30th. This is the way our Great Governor of this great state treats its senior citizens, the disabled and the disabled veterans.

I have been paying into Medicare Part D for the last 2 years. The plan started out at $15.70 a month, then this year it went up to $23 per month and now, as of the first of the year, is going up to $40.60 a month. Then I got this letter from State Health telling me that I have to start paying Medicare Part B at $96.50 a month starting November 1st.

Those of us on Social Security Disabled Benefits, senior citizens and disabled vets don't even know what, if any, cost of living we are going to get. It is rumored it will be 6%, but even that will not cover the cost of this and the cost of every thing else.

Printing in different languages, tightening up on welfare would help balance the budget. Now, like thousands of others, I have a choice – go bankrupt, eat only one meal a day that is dog or cat food, stop paying my bills or drop both parts of Medicare totally and hope that my veterans medical keeps going. If they don't, I'll become another person on the uninsured roles. If I keep just my veterans' coverage, I will have to travel 300 miles just to get help no matter what.

Like millions that wrote and are now writing a blank check payable up to my life for this country, I am now ashamed that I have done it, to have a person that has never put on a uniform except for a movie role, to do this type of thing to us – the citizens of this country. It is an outrage.

Thank You,
Bruce Cotton
Lone Pine

Oil moguls make billions, the already poor grow even more poor. Something real wrong with this picture. Don't forget it when you go to the polls today.

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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