Bureaucrat Beat: Joined at the Hip, Wealthy Few, and Hogwarts Polite

For those who think that the relationship between Inyo and LA has morphed into palsy-walsy, sit down, take a deep breath and say, “I promise to go back to reality.”nahai_2

In spite of the fact that some Inyo officials gave DWP Manager David Nahai a big hug at a recent meeting, the DWIP and the County remain quiet adversaries. Why? Their separate interests naturally conflict. LA wants water, as much water as they can get. Inyo wants to protect its environment and get a little land to grow just a bit.

The veil lifted recently when one of the DWP Commissioners observed that current agreements have limited pumping until the rules are revised. She said, “We need to move forward and do more pumping.” Local DWP Manager Gene Coufal calculated that LA has to pay $16 million more a year to make up for 20,000 acre feet of water they feel they have cut back. No mention of Inyo’s environment.

Daniel Pritchett reminded the Commissioner that a USGS study calls for a limit to 70,000 acre feet to maintain Owens Valley water levels. Watch for the sign “Rocky Road Ahead”. Some of you officials might like to give up the hugs.

The most sinister article we’ve come across this week was written by Bill Moyers and others and published on the website, Truthout. The article tells the story of the Washington Post publisher who invited top officials from the White House, the Cabinet and Congress to her home for what was described as an intimate, off-the-record dinner to discuss health care reform with some of her reporters and editors covering the story.

washington_postHere’s the truly sinister part. CEOs and lobbyists from the health care industry were invited, too, provided they paid $25,000 a head, or up to a quarter of a million if they want to sponsor a whole series of the cozy get-togethers. What do they get? According to the invitation, “an exclusive opportunity to participate in the health-care reform debate among the select few who will get it done.”

Hey. Wait a minute. The little people out here don’t want a select few to toast glasses and benefit the health insurance industry. They’re the ones who have hurt us out here. Moyers calls it “pervasive corruption”. The select few have their way with things. The common man is not part of the equation. Only the moneyed people need apply. How could the Washington Post do this?!? So, now the news is for sale?!? That’s the lowest yet.

In this case, someone busted the Post by leaking the invitation to another media. The party was cancelled – this time. If the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom staff showed up at such a soiree, we would get the boot. We of the rabble and the small bank accounts.

Moyers’ article says, “That’s how it works. And it works that way because we let it. The game goes on and the insiders keep dealing themselves winning hands. Nothing will change – nothing – until the moneylenders are tossed out of the temple, the ATM’s are wrested from the marble halls, and we tear down the sign they’ve placed on government – the one that reads, “For Sale.”

We suggest calls to Congress and the Senate and more than that. Don’t let your local officials disenfranchise you in favor of more wealthy interests. It’s all the same from here to there. If we make it stop here, the trend will spread.

We heard from movie-goers in Mammoth Lakes that a fine trend has started. They attended the new Harry Potter film, along with dozens of 8 year olds, who, said the adults, sat still for more than two hours, like true little ladies and gentlemen. We harry_potterlike that.

Speaking of adults – in Mammoth Lakes a few thinking people continue to bend each others’ ears over the way things now work in local government. Some of them have dared speak truth to power, as they say. Maybe some of them will run for office. We’ll watch.

Not much town ballyhoo at all, for some reason, but a National Geographic film crew arrived in Mammoth to shoot some footage on the Steve Fossett story. Seems they wanted to include this in their show on wind shears of the Eastern Sierra. Hello, make the media feel welcome. You’re bound to get free publicity of some sort.

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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