Bureaucrat Beat: Empty Halls, Public Passion, and Corporate Chronies

What’s up at the Inyo County courthouse? We’ve received comments that some of the offices seem super-shy of employees. One source told us that under the hiring freeze 60 vacancies remain on hold. We know there are money problems, but, wow, that’s a lot of positions.inyo_courthouse.jpeg

Others have privately suggested it’s time for some hard decisions. With positions unfilled and buildings unmaintained, sounds serious.

Speaking of Independence, many of you, from Lone Pine to Mammoth Lakes, have responded to the story about Caltrans’ plans to remove nearly 100 trees in the area north of Independence – to make way for not just 4 lanes but also sidewalks, curbs, etc. The over-powering response has been that the people of Independence should stand up for their trees.

One email suggested a compromise on tree removal. She said that for every tree chopped down, Caltrans could plant two trees and provide water to keep them alive. Another listener put it this way: “Looks like Caltrans will finish off what DWP started.”

Meanwhile, in Mammoth Lakes, citizen activism lives! Leigh Gaasch of Mammoth has come up with an informal Public Awareness night on Monday, October 22nd in Suite Z from 6pm to 9pm. Leigh is the one who came up with the earlier survey of residents on their thoughts about local government. Okay. It wasn’t scientific, but it was interesting. The comments revealed that some people would attend Town Council meetings and others thought it was a waste of time.

Now, Leigh has taken public views to a new level. At her Public Awareness night, Leigh will include officials from the Police Department and Town Office. She wants the people of Mammoth lakes to speak up, ask questions and offer solutions. So, get ready, Mammoth. Call Leigh for more information at 934-7639.

One of the antidotes to the rigid, thoughtlessness of bureaucracy is the people and their passion for guidance of their town. Cudos to Leigh.

People, mostly in Mammoth Lakes, stood up for their views on 757 jets over and in their territory. The air service issue took a throttling from concerned citizens and environmental groups. The people prevailed and the process slowed way down.

Now, most of us would like some type of air service. That darned drive to LA gets tiresome. We did learn that the Town of Mammoth now has a letter of intent from a company called Vision Air Charter. This charter service says they want to provide service to Mammoth Lakes this winter. Earlier officials talked about flights between Los Angeles, Las Vegas and other locales to Mammoth Lakes. Mammoth needs to secure an upgrade to its certification. That is underway.

Another antidote to bullheaded bureaucracy – art! The Felici Trio offers a winter series of performances, and the much touted production of Dracula unfolds its cape at the Mammoth Lakes Art Center October 18th through the 31st. Hey, it’s Haloween, vampires are in!

Greedy politicians aren’t. The Bureaucrat Beat staff decided some time back to register as Independents – you know, being in the news business and all, that gives us an objective stance. Not to mention that we are sick of both Republicans and Democrats. bush.jpg

Right now, we are mostly sick of President Bush. Before the war in Iraq, he was quoted as saying the cost of the conflict would add up to $3 billion. So far, we have spent $1 trillion. Just think what a fine health care system that money would create.

The worst of all, Mr. President, is that obscene amounts of our tax dollars now go to your pals – Halliburton, KBR, Blackwater for outrageous contracts to do what our own military or government could do far cheaper. We’re sick of paying tax money right into the pockets of your corporate buddies.

Not that Bureaucrat Beat’s opinion means much to you, sir. After all, we’re just another of those nobody’s out here. We’re not, as you once said, one of your favorite people. The way you put it, Mr. President, was that you prefer the “Haves and the Have Mores.” The Have Nots are not on your dance card.

With that, this is Benett Kessler signing off for Bureaucrat Beat, awaiting your views on our lives in the Eastern Sierra and beyond.

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