Bureaucrat Beat: Ocean Water, Tax Consequences, and Best Coach

Hey, Los Angeles, listen to this news. A private company, Poseidon Resources, won an approved plan to build a $320 million desalination plant along the coast of northern San Diego County. The plan could provide more than 56,000 acre feet of drinkable water by 2012. LA may need to bite the bullet and use the ocean. It's right there. ladwp.jpg

DWP has the money to do it, that is, if the DWIP quits transferring millions to the LA City general fund every year. LA locals filed suit against the City over that. A judge issued a tentative ruling in April to order the LADWP to repay its customers nearly $30 million that city officials had hoped to spend on other services, as they do every year. The court said the transfer of water profits to the City amounts to an illegal tax.

The judge said DWP's long-standing practice of transferring millions from its water fund to the city's general fund violates the Proposition 218 anti-tax measure. Ouch. But, hey, if the City has to give back millions to DWP, then DWP could afford to pay for an inspector and gate-keeper at Klondike Lake! Not to mention a desalination plant.

Closer to home in the City of Bishop, some citizens grumbled when Police Chief Kathleen Sheehan pulled one of her officers out of the Inyo Narcotics Enforcement Team, INET. The chief_sheehan.jpgChief had blamed budget problems. Local residents said they guessed the Bishop Police officer would instead go to work for "Sheenet."

Sarcasm aside, We liked finding the card of Bishop Police Sergeant Glenn McClinton in the front door of KSRW, with a note that the officer had courtesy checked our front door to make sure it was secured. Very cool.

Mammoth voters taxed themselves and now spend on recreation projects. Self-determination really does work sometimes. It was a sales tax increase, and now money has been collected and will be spent on trails and other projects.

The City of LA could take some lessons from Mammoth on taxing.

We received an anonymous note that wondered about a meeting between DWP and the Bishop Indian tribe with lawyers, allegedly over the Barlow pasture property. We checked around and found out that DWP, the tribe and the City of Bishop had a meeting. It wasn't nefarious, just details over the new bike trail in the area. We appreciated the note. You can't be too careful with bureaucracies.

Seems the state bureaucracy wants to steal county tax money again. The Governor issued the threat as he discussed a $15 billion deficit and the need to come after county dollars. Inyo County Administrator Kevin Carunchio said Inyo could take a $1.5 million hit. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times published a story about Caltrans and favoritism. The article said that state transportation officials steered $29 million in contracts to a company at which one of their former colleagues is an executive. A legislative report raised questions about favoritism in the purchasing process.

This involves the state purchase of traffic-counting devices. Seems a former Caltrans official went to work for the firm that later profited from the technology when it received state contracts. Assemblyman Hector De La Torre is quoted as saying "Having employees of the state…going outside and making good money off the taxpayers is not appropriate." Amen to that.

coach_bill_egan.jpgMore than a few said, "Ditto" to Bishop Football Coach Bill Egan's statements before the Bishop High School Board. Egan spoke like a velvet hammer – softly but firmly – about most of the kids in school, who are not top achievers but who have legitimate needs and talents of their own. They need attention, too.

Bob Todd heard something interesting about the Coach. A couple of the other coaches in the High Desert League heard that Egan might be out due to state funding issues and seniority. Their take was that they would have a better shot a beating Bishop without Coach Egan, dubbed the best coach in the league.

We do wish elected officials in Washington would quit sniping between political parties. We could care less about their blame games. When news slipped out this week that Medicare and Social Security were less financially stable than earlier thought, the finger pointing began. Look, we all know who was in charge the past 8 years and who's in charge now. So, knock off the politics and fix our entitlements.

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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