Bureaucrat Beat: St. Patrick’s Day massacre, martinis and no-smoking

Heston and Kessler circa 1976 were fired when DWP threatened station owner with lease cancellation.

Heston and Kessler circa 1976 were fired when DWP threatened station owner with lease cancellation.

“From city halls to county courthouses, from the State house to the White House – bureaucrats control our lives.  Public servants who often try to become our masters.  People whose salaries we pay, but what goods and services do we get?  On Sierra Wave’s Bureaucrat Beat, we’ll report what they’re up to.”

They did it again.  Egypt’s government jammed the television signal of the station that airs comedian Bassem Youssef, known as the Jon Stewart of Egypt.  He performs satire, as he pokes fun at Egyptian officials.  According to the LA Times, a spokesperson for the TV station said they had identified small satellite transmitters as the cause of the jamming.  They can’t know for sure if it’s the government, but come on, who else would want to silence the funny man!

Nice to know that even if our government is bought and paid for by corporations, we can still exercise some freedom of speech.  Keep in mind, elected officials have the least protection from defamation laws.  We can tell it like it is about them as long as we don’t act out of what’s known as actual malice.  That means the person had to either know he was lying about the public official or was “wreckless with the truth.”  Keep that in mind, website commenters.  You can go way farther with elected officials than with others – but, not too far!!

38 years ago this St. Patrick’s Day DWP went too far.  They sent a letter to the radio station on which John Heston and I broadcast our first radio news show and said if the owner did not fire us, DWP would cancel their tower lease.  We were doing some fierce reporting on DWP’s brutal groundwater pumping during the drought.  The owner fired us.  We posted fliers about the truth and went to the Los Angeles Press Club where all radio and TV stations picked up our story about LADWP silencing the media in the Owens Valley.  An exciting experience which launched my news career.  Thanks, DWP!!

OK.  Inyo County has another problem – planners want to plan for solar and wind energy, as many other authorities want them to. A sizable public fight has ensued.  How about the Inyo Supervisors listen to the peoples’ complaints and work to answer them.  The plan on the books now does not have to be the accepted plan.  When is the last time you saw more than 70 people raising hell in the Boardroom, Supervisors?  Look for a way to hear the people and do your work.  It can be done.  Even with your vote scheduled for April Fool’s Day – no kidding.

Nothing complicated about the fact that the LADWP filed lawsuits as often as they had three martini lunches in the past year, and they lost all five of those suits.  That’s what Mammoth Town Councilman John Eastman said.  He sits on the Air Pollution Control Board which got hit with all those suits and other claims.  Eastman said three members of the APCD board and two members of the LA Water and Power Commission worked through some settlements.  That’s nice to hear.  For those who tell us that DWP has been nastier the last two years than ever before, ecigarettethink again.  They’ve always been high-handed, condescending, dishonest and intimidating.  This is true.  We in the Bureaucrat Beat Newsroom do not employ “actual malice.”

Oh, and we won’t be smoking any e-cigarettes in the newsroom.  We realize there’s not really enough research to prove they’re harmful; but if we can’t smoke real cigarettes we just don’t want any phony substitutes.

We don’t get what Inyo-Mono Congressman Paul Cook wants to know.  In a mailer, he asked constituents this:  Do you support or oppose the National Security Agency’s surveillance of American citizens?  Choices for answers are Yes, No, Unsure.  Of what???  Some call it a bipolar survey.

Mammoth Town Councilman Matthew Lehman was sure he does not want Mammoth Police Officers to drive home patrol cars if they live outside of town.  Lots of officers do live in Inyo County where housing is affordable, or at least more affordable than Mammoth Lakes.  Lehman has spoken out against government-funded employee housing.  Hey, you’ve gotta offer some reasonable housing or let ‘em drive home to wherever they can afford it.  Just our opinion here in the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom.

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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Clint Hyde
Clint Hyde
8 years ago

Our Congressman, Paul Cook, continually sends letters and emails that read as if he does not understand that he is part of the Federal Government. He says “NO!” to spying on everyone but he doesn’t write convincingly as if he thinks he can do anything about it. He continues to… Read more »

Kathleen Bernasconi
Kathleen Bernasconi
8 years ago

I certainly respect the job you have done and, yes, a follower of news media.

Kathleen Bernasconi
Kathleen Bernasconi
8 years ago

It seems it has been a long time, but, 38 years is just a small memory. I should not be commenting on this subject, but when this all came down some persons were responsible for the damage, under guise of darkness, cowards managed to throw a device of destruction through… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
8 years ago

I have no idea what you are talking about, but am interested in more detail. I do seem to recall when DWP announced moving its headquarters out of Independence, someone tossed an incendiary device through an HQ window. Is that what you mean? I also remember citizens were very angry… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
8 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

I think it is a reference to the September 1976 dynamiting of the Alabama Gates.