Bureaucrat Beat: Patience, Sob Story, and Government Jobs

It’s a shared culture these days – the phone calls to banks, phone companies, tech support, insurance companies. You place the call, you go through an elaborate automated menu and hope your problem fits one of the categories. You press a number, another number. You talk to a computer. It talks back. Maybe you talk to a real person. We finally figured it out. This maddening process was designed by higher powers to teach us patience. We say, Enough already!

It wasn’t enough for the City of Los Angeles. The LA City Council had to go and raise our power rates again. Ours and LA’s. For us, it’s definitely taxation without representation. We have no voting rights in LA. Their officials could care less about us. They just want us to keep our mouths shut and keep sending our water south.

According to the LA Times, the LA City Council and DWP Commission launched into a nasty arm wrestle over how much power rates will go up. 4.5% or 5.7%. DWP says if it’s not the higher rate, they may not be able to transfer $73 million to the LA City general fund. Boo-hoo-hoo. Mayor Villaraigosa cries wind and solar and a high price tag. It couldn’t happen to a more swell bunch of people. Hey, they still treat us like colonials. We don’t like that.

Thanks to a Bureaucrat Beat listener, we learned from Reason Magazine that while the private sector loses jobs, the government has gained. The solution, the magazine poses, to turn all jobs into government work. Yikes. Reason Mag says, if that happened, no one would lose a job again.

A lot of recent government jobs are census-takers. Plenty of us in the Eastern Sierra will likely see one of those workers. The 2010 census forms have not been mailed to post office boxes. Good Grief! We of the p.o. boxes have sort of accepted that we will lose mail that has our street address on it, but our census forms? Will we melt into invisibility?!? No. Seems the census-takers will come to our homes to make us count.
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.
Remember Clint Hyde of Mammoth Lakes who told us about his Verizon nightmare? Clint had asked Verizon to fix a DSL Line in a house he managed for the owner. His tale of endless phone calls and broken promises to show up led him to drop Verizon. Clint had said, “Communications should not be so bureaucratic, so excruciatingly unproductive.”

He revealed that the third scheduled service repair person from Verizon “never came, never called, never sent flowers.” He switched to NPG Cable Modem and loves the new internet.

Won’t we all love it when those horrific dust storms stop on the Owens Dry Lake. DWP has several more square miles to go. The un-fixed part of the lake threw a fit this week and choked people in Lone Pine and Keeler. Air Pollution Control Director Ted Schade told one of our staff this week that he is “tired of waiting” for DWP’s final clean-up. LA has refused to commit to a firm plan to clean the next part of the lake, trying to force someone to let them do moat and row. Sounds like a medieval computer game. It’s big rows of dirt that allegedly keep dust down. Not proven and the State Lands Commission thinks it’s ugly.

We heard on TV news the other night that California legislators make the highest salaries in the nation, of all state lawmakers. $95,000 base pay. A State Commission will soon meet to see about another pay cut. They did implement one earlier.

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