Bureaucrat Beat: Another Bill of Rights, Yes on 6, and the Elderly Abandonned

As we brace for government service cutbacks and economic disasters, the pundits tell us that it’s all about a lack of government regulation. Wall St. firms let greed out of the bag and ran hard with it. No rules stood in the way. Here’s another side of life in which citizens have begun to clamor for more rules.

An Airline Passengers Bill of Rights. We’ve all fallen victim to the airlines – delays with no warning, stuck on the runway for hours, fears of inadequate safety checks.

An Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights waits for passage in California and other states, not to mention the federal government. Kate Hanni, executive director of the Coalition for an Airline Passengers’ Bill of Rights is quoted as saying that “The airline industry is the only business that can load people into a confined space, and shut the door, and there is no law that says they ever have to let them out.”

Yikes. One more reason to drive.

About a month away – the November election. This time around, we face 12 propositions. The Bureaucrat Beat newsroom staff talked this over as we sipped the last bitter drops of coffee this week. Once more, we all agreed, that we will, as a matter of principle, vote No on all propositions. As a result of initiatives and propositions, California legislators only have control over 15% of the budget revenue. Maybe that’s part of their problem – they’re paralyzed when it comes to money management.

However, our two local sheriffs did publicly come out in support of Proposition 6. Sheriffs Lutze and Scholl said Prop. 6 will guarantee funding for public safety in any type of budget environment. So, Yes on 6 and, at this point, No on everything else. Although, we all agreed we’ll study the other 11 propositions to make sure the No vote makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is to elect representatives but give them no authority over money and policy decisions.

Here’s a story that confirms the fear that current government spending trends hurt the poor, elderly and frail. We received a letter from the senior citizens’ Ombudsman/Advocate, Kathryn Williams. For 18 years, she has advocated for and protected the rights of senior citizens who live in long-term care facilities. Williams explained that ombudsman staff and volunteers visit local facilities on a regular basis to help protect the elderly. They also provide referral services to family, friends and consumers. They conduct elder abuse education and prevention classes, and provide training and education to Inyo and Mono. capitol.jpg

So, guess what? Yep. The State cut their funding – all of it in the amount of $25,300. All Ombudsman programs in the state received the same news. Ms. Williams said that other senior programs experienced funding cuts while, she said, the “state prison system will receive $79.2 million for dental care for prisoners.”

So, now what? Williams said, “If there are cuts in service, frail and elderly seniors will once again be vulnerable, unprotected and without an advocate.” She urges citizens to contact Governor Schwarzenegger and our state representatives to ask them to restore funding to the Ombudsman program and other senior programs.

Call Governor Schwarzenegger at 916-445-2841 or email governor@governor.ca.gov

In these increasingly worrisome times, perhaps some introspection is required. Time to think about what matters and what doesn’t. What will get you through and what won’t.

The Bureaucrat Beat staff talked it over and concluded that only solid character navigates turbulent times. This caused us to reflect on the recent death of actor/philanthropist Paul Newman – a stunningly handsome man, creative, thoughtful. Hollywood paid him millions for his talent and good loocks, and he spent millions on terminally ill children and others. He was clearly a thoughtful man who looked into life and its meaning and purpose. He said this: “You only grow when you are alone.”

In the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom we’ve decided to take turns so that each of us can spend time alone to ponder ourselves and our work as we contemplate our dark office, manual typewriters and inner thoughts in these troubled times.

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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