Bureaucrat Beat: Culture, Coffee Break, and Good Job

Time for heads to roll, and if the offending bureaucrats worked in China that is literally what would happen. A news headline in the LA Times said, “Report Details Culture of Gifts”. It has come to that – a Culture of Corruption. The Times story said that auditors reported that the now infamous Minerals Management Service that regulates off-shore oil drilling “took gifts from companies they were supposed to regulate and may have falsified safety reports.”

This report, described as “scathing”, said that the Minerals Management Service people admitted that they accepted “skeet-shooting outings, meals, trips and college football tickets from the companies they were responsible for overseeing.” Eeeeegad!!! Here’s another crime in the Culture of Corruption – an MMS guy admitted that he completed four safety reviews of an off-shore platform operator even as he was negotiating with that operator for a job!!!

No, they have no shame. This division of the Department of Interior has engaged in these bad behaviors for a decade under Clinton and Bush. We’ve already mentioned the sex and drugs part of the regulators’ relationships with Oil and Gas officials. The Secretary of the Interior claims he will break up MMS into three divisions to better control them. How about systematic firing of the corrupt culprits? Okay. That’s what’s up in Washington, D.C. Do we think the Culture of Corruption ends there? No way.

inyo_sups_5-5A coffee break at Black Sheep Coffee Bar prompted interesting comments. One of the patrons pointed to our own Culture of Corruption – Inyo Supervisors who consistently vote the way DWP wants them to. Why do they do that? Why do they ignore violations of the Long-Term Water Agreement that will hurt our environment? Why don’t they get aggressive with LA? Could it be their leases? Their friends? A culture that says LA is bigger than us, so we shouldn’t upset them? Isn’t that what kids do in the school yard when they have to deal with bullies? Have we grown up? Questions for contemplation over the next cup of coffee.

How about this? A new report says about 45 million Americans do not buckle up in their vehicles. It’s the Culture of No Belts in which most of us grew up. What’s up with the culture thing? The dictionary says culture means customary beliefs and material traits of a social group. The culture grows according to leadership that sets the parameters – good, bad or ugly.

Hey, Beatle fans! Get a load of this. Paul McCartney will go to the White House June 2nd for a celebration of McCartney’s receipt of the Library of Congress George Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder received the first two awards. The Gershwin Prize notes the “profound and positive effect of popular music on the world’s culture.” There’s that word, culture, again. This time, we feel good about it. Hard to beat Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, An American in Paris, Porgy and Bess with Summertime. That’s a good culture.

You may have heard that one of the candidates for Mammoth’s Interim Police Chief is former South Pasadena Chief Dan


Watson. The grapevine says he may come here over the holiday to look for houses to rent.

Congratulations to Inyo’s Board Clerk Pat Gunsolley and IT Manager Brandon Schultz, not to mention others who remained observant, cared about getting the Supervisors agenda packet on the internet and found a way. Ms. Gunsolley pointed out that software to do the job does not come cheap. But she and others found a program that allowed Inyo to get a huge discount on software and made it possible to start the process. Cudos to good public servants that will further open up the public process. Stay tuned for more.

Finally, a deep Thank You to all soldiers and sailors who do battle so we can pursue our freedom, however we choose to do that. Memorial Day.

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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