Bureaucrat Beat: No lies, armed guards, and character deficit

From time to time we all have to sit down and review what we do on a daily basis, but why do the Inyo-LA Standing wateragreementCommittee and Water Commission have to soul search so often? Maybe because they were created under false pretenses. The lie was that the Long Term Water Agreement would effectively manage DWP groundwater pumps and other water activities in the Owens Valley. So, while the illusion defines activities, confusion holds sway. The only real job of Inyo County on these committees is to use a laser-like intelligence to identify harm to the environment and people and put a dead stop to it. Forget therapy.

Employees of big corporations may legitimately need a shrink. We told you about the bomb threat at the Bishop AT&T office, followed by a security guard. Seems other incidents contributed to the need for a guard. Outbursts of anger followed by a enraged toss of a cell phone more than once pushed things to the brink of what looked like violence. Once again, we stand behind the local AT&T employees put in the middle of a terrible situation with a greedy corporation on one side failing to provide enough workers and enough ready information. On the other side – customers mightily frustrated by the lack of information, real help and real service. With the pressures on people these days, standing in line for an hour to be told you’re out of luck does not bode well for anyone.

Which brings us to a commentary published in the Christian Science Monitor. The title – “America’s most serious deficit: personal character. Economist and historian, Lawrence Reed spelled it all out for us. He says the underlying cause of the widespread public debt, the root of all major economic and social problems – a lack of character, as defined by choices we make. Mr. Reed writes, “Decadence can destroy Democracy as surely as dictatorship.”

characterdeficitWe will just pass on one paragraph to make Mr. Reed’s point. He writes, “When a person spurns his conscience and fails to do what he knows is right, he subtracts from his character. When he evades his responsibilities, foists his problems and burdens on others, or fails to exert self-discipline; when he allows or encourages wrongdoing on any scale; when he attempts to reform the world without reforming himself first; when he obligates the yet-unborn to pay his current bills for him; when he expects politicians to solve problems that are properly his own business alone; he subtracts from his character and drags the rest of us down, too.”

Reed names debt, unconscionable deficits, irresponsible bailouts, and reckless spending by all. “Somewhere along the way,” he says, “we lost our moral compass.” Bring back self-reliance. Stop the insane choices. It all makes a lot of sense. Thanks, Mr. Reed.

Here’s a part of the State government that has raised serious questions in the Eastern Sierra and around California. The Administrative Office of the Courts. Their bureaucrats came into our two counties to dictate to us where a new court building would go, how it would look, and how much money they would spend. They made enemies in both Inyo and Mono.

Now, the State auditor has taken shots at the AOC for “bungling the development of a massive computer project.” It’s the statewide case management computer for all county court systems. The project started in 2003 with an estimated cost of $260 million. Now it could cost closer to $2 billion. Good grief. The California Auditor’s office says the AOC only has enough money now to include three out of 58 court systems. Elaine Howle, California State Auditor is quoted as saying that the report on the AOC’s computer project shows “poor planning, poor project management, and poor reporting.”

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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