Bureaucrat Beat: Yachts vs. Medi-Cal, Free Stuff, and the Comfortable – Beware!

What does this say about California? Seems in their quest to deal with a huge budget deficit, legislators in Sacramento fought to save a tax loophole for the wealthy while, at the same time, they considered further cuts to Medi-Cal, which means less health care for the poor.

Seems that right now, those who buy yachts, Rvs and airplanes can avoid California sales and use tax by parking their big toys in another state for 90 days. Some reports said that closure of the yacht tax loophole would raise $26 million in the current and next fiscal year.

On the other matter, California already has the lowest Medi-Cal reimbursements in the nation. That means hospitals, doctors and pharmacies have to decide whether they can afford to help the poor.

A Los Angeles Times columnist compared these two items, and we agree protection of yacht owners and not of the poor seems like a bad message about California.

Meanwhile, the feds will send us what they call “stimulus payments” starting in May. If you’re not sure you qualify, and amidst all the bureaucracy, who knows, you can call the free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. 1-800-906-9887 will give you the closest program number.

Ever hear of freecycle.org? It’s a web program with 4.5 million members, and it’s all about giving and getting free stuff! Wow. We saw it on a television news show and checked it out on the internet. There is a Bishop Freecycle.org group. They post give-aways and wants. The idea – to avoid shuttling perfectly good stuff off to the dump and to connect things with people who need them, and it’s all for free.

What a great idea. Just go to the internet and type in freecycle.org. You can find the Bishop site from there. It seems to be the only local freecycle group. From the looks of it, they’re moving stuff right and left!

To the two people who posted critical comments about Bureaucrat Beat on our website, we stand by all of our remarks 100%. Bureaucrat Beat, by the way, is not a straight news story. It’s a column in defense of the afflicted. Our news service motto, as set by Editor John Heston in 1975, remains “Comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.” Public servants who afflict the public – listen up.

Here’s a “say what???” news brief. On a website of county news, we learned that while state legislators struggle to balance the budget, they have to spend half a billion dollars on teaching children to do things like roll sushi, juggle pins and master new dance forms. The sum scheduled to be spent on such after-school programs next year is off limits for anything else. State law, according to the site, dictates that cooking classes continue even if some calculus courses could be canceled. During good times, voters approved initiatives that billions of dollars on novel social and recreational programs. Come on guys in Sacramento, you can fix this mess. Try!!

Marin County posted a suggestion box for the public on its website. Good idea! How about it Inyo and Mono?

Marin citizens suggested cost saving measures like charging for parking in public lots, reduction of hiring consultants and offering golden handshake incentives to retire early. They also favored a 4-day work week.

Finally, Mr. Ed Matthews, are you listening? Please call us. We want your side of the Mammoth Hospital story. 873-5329.

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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