Bureaucrat Beat: From Bats to Bugsy, Verizon Vituperation and Villaraigosa’s Trees

First off, the Bat Beat update. Our friend the Fearless Vampire Killer emailed to call our hand on the account of Jesse Steele and the bat that flew about the newsroom last Friday.

One of our faithful Bureaucrat Beat listeners rightly corrected us. We said that Jesse would appear in a local production of Dracula in Bishop. Holy, geography, Vampire Killer, all right already! It’s in Mammoth Lakes at the new Arts Center. Performance dates – October 18th through the 21st and the 25th through the 28th.

Sadly, our Jesse Steele had to let vampirism slip away, but hes assisting the director in a Playhouse 395 production called Bugsy Malone, Jr. From bats to Bugsy!

So far, the newsroom has remained bat free since last Friday. One more thing. As one of our staff queried – are bats really blind? If so, did the creature only “feel” Jesse? If he didn’t see Jesse, was Jesse still there?

Enough of metaphysical meanderings and Vampire Killer quips.

On to one of our favorite targets (they’re so easy!). Just when we started to feel warm and fuzzy about Verizon (They did fix our phone static after 6 years of on and off noise with vague audio reception.

We were happy, but then, Verizon put us on hold – two days in a row for 20 minutes each time! All we wanted was for them to activate one of our phone numbers in a new area of the newsroom. Sounds simple, but ohhhhh, nooooo. Talk about a bureaucratic company. First, there is the nonsensical voice menu, which never listed what we wanted. Then, you hold for 20 minutes, the lady comes on the line and says, “Oh, I have to transfer you, I don’t do what you want.” You get the picture.

The first day, I politely suggested that Verizon might want to hire more people to give better customer service. The person said, oh, this is unusual. We’re never this busy. Sadly, that was not true since two days later, the same thing happened again.

All told, we spent an hour on the Verizon 800 line and finally got help. Hello, Verizon? Verizon? Can you hear me? I’m reaching for the number of the Cable TV company to order up their new phone service!

A way to subvert term limits in Sacramento? That’s what some are saying about Becky Maze, wife of Inyo County’s State Assemblyman Bill Maze. The Missus has announced her candidacy for the November, 2008 election.

Here’s what Mrs. Maze says in her press release. “Over the past five years I’ve seen my share of ‘crazy’ legislation and the difficulties of getting good ideas out. I’m proud of Bill’s accomplishments in Sacramento. We must not only hold our ground, but we must continue to keep California moving forward.” But, then, she says if new reform legislation passes and Bill Maze escapes term limits, she will step aside.

Meanwhile, further south in Los Angeles, news about Mayor Villaraigosa’s Million Trees LA program. Seems the City has been handing out seedlings with no evidence that they’ve been planted. The Los Angeles Times has raised skepticism about the Mayor’s environmental agenda.

We’re all in favor of trees, but Mr.Mayor, could we have some, too? Recent statements confirm that the Owens Valley has lost some 60,000 trees over the last three or four decades of groundwater pumping and diversions.

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