Bureaucrat Beat: Gobbledeegook, Got Mechanics? and Shame on Arnold

We hear the same citizen complaints from Lee Vining to Mammoth to Bishop and Lone Pine. Officials speak in their own language which excludes the public. Whether its computer modeling that dominates the discussion or some arcane process that only the bureaucracy gets.

The officialdom says, “We have to do things this way to get them done!” We say, maybe you’re doing the wrong things if the people you serve are left out. BLM, which generally tries to work with people, has left many out in the cold on Pinyon Pine management in the Bodie Hills. The terminology and computer models, we hear, have created a wall between government and the people.

Last time, Tom Woods told us about the inscrutable discussion of Mammoth Town Council members on the Snowcreek VIII District Plan. Leigh Gaasch, participation zealot, urges Mammoth Lakes citizens to get involved in the district planning process. Even if people wanted to, sounds like the Council could put the stops to that with gobbledeegook.

Anyway, one more try. Gaash says tonight, from 5 to 8pm, the Planning commission will meet for input on the Hidden Creek Crossing (aka Shady Rest tract) to begin a neighborhood district Plan. Leigh points out that the developer will need to amend the Master Plan for the area for more housing units that are higher. How do you feel about it? The meeting from 5 to 8 is in Suite Z.

More today from Caltrans and the woefully inadequate staffing in the mechanic division. Got machinery? Need mechanics. We told you about the community of June Lake’s complaints that not enough snow removal got done over the winter, and Caltrans Deputy Director Craig Holste explained that there were only 3 mechanics for the region to fix equipment that sometimes runs 24 hours a day.

We talked more with Holste who pointed out that last year Caltrans employed 10 mechanics between Mono County and Bishop. This year, it was 3 or 4. Just not enough to do the job. So, what’s with the hierarchy and decisions like this? Holste said state budget cutbacks are a problem and he said that there is a statewide average for pieces of equipment per mechanic. Trouble is, Holste explained, the kind of equipment we have here requires more work – loaders and snow blowers – than less stressed equipment in cities. So, the formulae don’t work all that well.

Plus, now Caltrans is required to retrofit equipment with fancy filters to trap more particulates. They’ll be buying more than 30 of them between now and next year. They cost $10,000 to $25,000 each. Hey, we’re all for a clean environment, but what good’s it do if we can’t remove snow! The quarter of a million on filters could’ve gone to replace equipment or hire more people. Just a suggestion. Holste and his men want to do their jobs, but they need people and equipment.

The Inyo Judge’s race rambles round and round. Candidate Mark Johnson said he believes Judge Lamb never answered the question about how long he takes to make decisions. Johnson believes Lamb spends too much time on decisions. Judge Lamb shot back that he did answer the question. “I strive to decide everything promptly,” confirmed Lamb. One more chance to see the candidates – The League of Women Voters Candidates Forum tonight at 6:30 at the Bishop Senior Center.

Remember the two Deodar Cedar trees the Inyo Supervisors wanted to cut down? They did. Just ugly stumps left in the public right of way and the unanswered question as to the real health of those trees. Sad.

Back to Sacramento where they seem to be into the deprivation mode. How did things get so bad? A $20 billion deficit? Here’s a letter from the Senior Legal Program’s Jennifer Duncan:

Dear Bureaucrat Beat,

So, the wise Governor of California is proposing to stop paying for low-income Seniors and Disabled persons. The Medicare Part B premium costs a whopping $98 per month.

Put back on the seniors and disabled will mean a big financial problem for them. Part B allows them to have Medicare help with Dr. visits, lab tests, xrays and much more.

When will it end – the shifting of responsibility from the stomachs of bureaucrats onto the backs of the aged and disabled??? This program has been in place for many years – and it sickens me (Oops…don’t want to go to the doctor!!!!) to see this proposal by the Governor!

Jennifer Duncan, Staff Advocate
California Indian Legal Services

They should be serving Pepto Bismol cocktails in Sacramento.

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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