Bureaucrat Beat: Do No Harm, Kindness, Ridiculing Mammoth

A Bureaucrat Beat listener suggested that bureaucrats should follow the same oath physicians follow in at least one way – the phrase that says above all, do no harm.

We second that motion. Something for our elected officials to keep in mind. Here’s something else to consider. Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, told 60 Minutes that the Wall St. types who continue to spend millions on themselves in spite of bail-out dollars, need a “reasonable sense of humility with what’s happened in the last 18 months.”

Do no harm and carry a reasonable sense of humility. Sounds good!

Here’s a story about a humble public servant who offered a friendly ride to a stranded citizen. This letter comes from Steve Rapp of Bishop. He writes:

Hi Benett,

Here is a little story that you may be interested in. A couple of weeks ago I was listening to the morning news and heard of the transitioning of the Bishop city council. One of the names mentioned always brings this story to mind.

About 25 years ago I was returning home from an out of town business trip. A small private airplane had just dropped me off at the deserted Bishop airport on a late Sunday afternoon. I could not arrange to be picked up, so with suitcase in hand and clothes bag hanging over my shoulder I set off walking for downtown.

I was walking on the right hand side of Line Street, right across from the cemetery when a Bishop PD patrol car zipped by going east towards the airport. Turning around to see what was up, I noticed the patrol car make a quick U-turn. The patrol car pulled up next to me with the passenger window rolled down. I wondered what I was in trouble for now. The officer yelled out the window “What the heck are you doing?” Now I thought I was really in trouble and remained speechless. The officer said “get in the car, and don’t let me see you doing this again”, talk about being scared. I opened the back door of the patrol car, put my luggage in and started to get in. The officer said “what are you doing? Sit in the front seat”. I got in the front passenger seat and the officer said to me “don’t you ever do this again, if you need a ride, just call us, us obviously being the police department. The officer took me in to town and dropped me off at my doorstep. I’ll never forget that experience and small town kindness you don’t see in the big city. The officer was Lt. Frank Crom.

Best Regards,

Steven H. Rapp
President – Sierra Security Systems, Inc.

schwarzenegger.jpgWe never forget a kindness. Here’s a cruel cut. The Sacramento Bee reported that “California state government’s full-time work force continues to grow despite Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s order to freeze hiring amid an historic budget shortfall.” What?

This almost reaches the heights of absurdity that reign over at the AIG offices where the motto is “We’re rich people, we don’t play by the rules.”

The Governor promised to lay off part-time state workers to help balance the budget. He didn’t do that. How will they manage state government in the future if nothing changes now? We in the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom speculate that the big wigs think voters will okay the measure that allows borrowing against future lottery revenue. That just sounds nuts.

Here’s another letter. This time, Stan Smith navigates Mammoth Lakes’ curiosities. He writes:


Every now and then you mention what some of the brighter bureaucrats in Mammoth Lakes are up to.

Kinda’ wondering whatever happened to the musician-artist tax up there? Was there ever a resolution, as in did they adopt that $5,000 annual level of artistic earnings before the 1099’s were passed out? By whom – the designated PasserOuter – so we know how to avoid them at collection time…?? And, how much is the tax, and where does the lucre go? General fund, pothole account, free carwash for skiers…well, actually their vehicle, so the snowpies don’t fly?

And you mentioned they were worried about euphemisms up there. I guess that makes sense, if you remember Mammoth is named after huge wooly creatures from way back when. Mammoth Lakes sounds so much better than Huge Wooly Smelly Beasty Drainage Ponds…right?

Another well-known euphemism they dreamed up a few years back was Mammoth Scenic Loop, which is really a back-door earthquake bail-out or escape route from freely-flowing molten lava and flying rocks and falling trees and mushroom clouds of dust and steam and smoke….

Probably enough of this for your listeners, but one last – for now, anyway! Euphemism in vogue in Mammoth is planning. If they really want to plan, my suggestion is the Town Council get back in touch with itself and assume responsibility for Mammoth’s future, rather than parcel out various aspects of their elected duties to citizen groups and ad hoc committees and subsidiary commissions. By default, they have increased government cost substantially without increasing planning and governing effectiveness. Sure, citizen input and participation is important, but eventually the Mammoth Town Council has to step up and be in charge, regardless of which political or environmental or economic bloc they please or offend in the course of doing the right thing for their township.

OK…here it is…”bear with them in Mammoth while they mess around in their woods!

Stan Smith

Stan, Mammoth calls the artist tax a tax exemption for those who make under $5,000 per year. They figure that covers most local musicians.

As for Stans view of Mammoth, sometimes a look at your town from someone in another town twists the view around to almost objective. Okay, Mammoth, the challenge is on, let’s hear your thoughts about Bishop.

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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