Bureaucrat Beat: Big, Fat Bureaucratic Salaries, Kids and Matches, and the Condor

DWP has done it again. The utility has made people just plain mad – this time, other LA City workers and southland citizens. As City of LA union negotiations got underway, The LA Daily News reported that the average DWP worker makes 20% more than the average civilian LA city worker. Consumer groups have pointed accusing fingers at high wages as DWP goes to the public for another rate hike.dwphqjpg.jpg

LA Daily News editor, Ron Kaye, said this in his editor’s note attached to the DWP salaries’ story that the paper had posted its employees salaries. He invited readers to compare LA Daily News staff wages with those of DWP.

We didn’t look, but let’s just say it’s well know that the news business does not pay so well as the water and power business. The Daily News did supply an internet location that lists all DWP employee salaries. Wanna check it out? http://lang.dailynews.com/socal/ladwpsalaries.

In defense of DWP, then-Commissioner, and now General Manager, David Nahai was quoted as saying that DWP faces a deteriorating infrastructure that must be addressed. That’s where a rate-hike comes in. Of salaries, Nahai said, “wage disparities are historical and rate hikes remain necessary to fix an aging electrical system.”

One more Southland news item. Seems a 10 year old boy has admitted accidentally starting one of the largest fires in October. He was playing with matches. One psychiatrist said, basically, boys will be boys. Yeah. Okay. That’s what happened years ago in Swall meadows. Kids playing with a toy cannon.

It’s a terrible thing for the community that burns, for the kids that started it and for their parents, who could end up paying for some of the cost to fight the fire. Maybe it’s just a good time to have a serious talk with the kids.

Leigh Gaasch of Mammoth says she hopes the Town Council gets serious about making citizens feel truly welcome at meetings. Gaasch, lately the hyper-energized activist in town, has worked to inform people about town government. She says she will continue with this effort. Gaasch said of the public process, “People need to feel welcome. The Town Council needs to show an interest in them and offer solutions.” Gaasch has made it a point to get in touch with residents over issues. She said she has found that many people feel the Town Council will not listen to them and respond, so they just don’t go to meetings.

Gaasch did compliment the Mammoth Planning Commission for their openness and ease of discussions with the public.

In Sacramento, Inyo County’s Assemblyman Bill Maze called out the Department of Water Resources for what he says is “gross bureaucratic mismanagement.” Seems that DWR has spent bond money that voters approved – nearly $400 million of it – on projects that were supposed to protect citizens from flooding. Instead, Assemblyman Maze says, DWR spent money on projects that have no proven purpose to protect residents from floods. Maze also said DWR handed out money and did not adequately monitor projects.

One more good reason to vote no on future bond measures. If you’re tired of paying taxes for bureaucrats to squander, raise your hand!

Back in 1975, many raised alarums that the California Condor was about to slip into extinction. condor.jpegThe some 20 birds left were captured and bred in captivity. The US Fish and Wildlife Service worked on saving the big birds which were nearly eliminated because growth chewed up their habitat. Our local bird man, Mike Prather, shared the story that Governor Schwarzenegger has just approved an historic protection measure for the California condors.

The condor is one of the world’s longest-living birds, when they can survive. They’ve been known to live for 50 years or more. Their wingspan is 9.5 feet, generally. What a bird! The bureaucracy tries to save something, for a change. Beats spending our money and destroying public hopes.

With that, I’m Benett Kessler, signing off for Bureaucrat Beat where we await your words on our lives in the Eastern Sierra and beyond.

 

 
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