Bureaucrat Beat: Wild Cards, Old Friends, and Postal Perturbations

A guy who talks to bears and convinces them to cooperate with people – different kind of cat, yes? The Bureaucrat Beat staff huddled over our table to kick around the issues that revolve around Steve Searles and the Town of Mammoth Lakes. Searles is not a bureaucrat. He’s more like a Wildlife Genie, and no one can expect him to function like a button-down collar man. We figured this may be where the current troubles lie, in part.

The Town’s people know what they want – a man like Searles who can manage bears without killing them. Sometimes the things communities want and need don’t play by the rules, and sometimes government needs to respect that and find a way to go with it. After all, no one else in Mammoth has managed to attract all of the major networks and many of the major newspapers for what mounts to priceless publicity for the community.

After our discussion and analysis, we concluded what we have many times before – life is messy. Keep an open mind and an eye on the public good.

Here’s a blast from our past. Remember Al Leydecker? He was the lightning rod Supervisor for Mono County back in the early 80s. Leydecker brought casual dress (he frequently wore shorts to Board meetings) and thoughtful dialogue to local politics.

Locals noted that in the most recent Atlantic Monthly magazine, Leydecker submitted an article that refers to the reversal of political and personal freedoms in the wake of the war and specter of terrorism. Leydecker points to plenty of other causes of death and suffering and to the need to hold fast to whats important to us.

Leydecker suggests we need to evaluate what’s important to us and if it’s not our basic freedoms, what is it? He suggests that worse problems may likely be about to hit. Time to think about what we cherish and get ready to protect it.

Leydecker closes his article with this: “There are days I don’t mind being old. And on some of them I wouldn’t mind being even older.”

A commentary on our very troubled times from an old friend, as one put it.

Here’s part of the trouble. A national news report told of the National Security Agency had virtually set up shop in one of the AT&T offices. The Security types had full access to private citizens’ emails. Seems a former AT&T technician, Mark Klein has decided to spill the truth about how phone calls and internet communiques all went to the government, unbeknownst to the public.

Lawsuits are now pending, charging big communication companies with illegal collaboration with the government to invade private communications of citizens. To claims that the government only reviews communications related to terrorist suspects, Klein says not so. They vacuumed up all calls and emails, no matter what.

Just a quick mention of all the scams that came to our attention this week – they all want your private information and claim they’ll give you something for nothing. Forget it. We’re begging you, please don’t do it!!

Quick postal note. Is there such a thing? One of our listeners called to say he was concerned that the Big Pine Post Office might be hording JC Penny’s catalogs. He hadn’t received his. So, we call and talked to Big Pine Post Master Lupita Mahoney. She said summarily that they post all of the mail they get and that maybe the customer concerned had not ordered from Penny’s recently and so was removed from the catalog list. Maybe so.

I took the opportunity to ask Ms. Mahoney how folks are doing with the tight rules at the post office now – you know, like if someone failed to use your p.o.box and used a street address instead, wooosh!! Back goes the mail.

Mahoney said people need to “properly address mail and give other people correct information.” End of story. Ah, the good old days really were good.

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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