Bureaucrat Beat: Positivity Men, Memory Lane, and Anti-Euphemism Law

St. Patrick’s Day – a time of note for the Bureaucrat Beat Newsroom. Just a couple of days from the Ides of March, St. Paddy’s Day has provided us with shake-ups from time to time over the years. We were fired from our first radio news job back in 1977 after we broadcast some pretty rough news stories on DWP. That kind of talk on the airwaves was unheard of back then. Other, similar shocking developments have highlighted our star-crossed past. Each upset opened a new door.

Speaking of open doors, Tim Alpers remains the master of positivity. He recently accepted an invitation from the mega sports store, Bass Pro, to deliver Alpers Trout for their ponds and creeks to accommodate a kids’ derby in Rancho Cucamonga. You go, Tim!

Another positivity man, Tom Cage of Kittredge Sports, Chevron, etc, offered some sage advice to those fearful of the economic downturn. Cage and others made remarks at a recent Mammoth Chamber of Commerce function. We talked to Cage afterwards.

The long-time Mammoth businessman and uncanny prognosticator said, “Take a deep breath. Make some adjustments. It’s going to be okay.” Cage did say that he sees Mammoth reverting to a week-end resort with midweek visits dropping off. “It’ll be a week-end environment. Everybody needs to scale back.” The good news, said Cage, everybody still wants to ski. They’re just going to spend less money right now. He calls for a metamorphosis with lower prices since visitors will want to come to Mammoth for less. “We need to sell a great value,” he said. To the panic-stricken, Cage reminds that we’ve all been here before – in the early 80s and 90s things were tough. So take heart. Re-boot your inner computer and go for it!

We could use some of this up-trip-ness on the national level. Take a look at the list of earmarks – pet congressional projects that add up to $12 billion. Try these on – $1.7 million for pig odor research. Couldn’t they just bath the porkers and call it good? Then there’s $200,000 for tattoo removals for gang members and $819,000 for catfish genetic studies. The list of craziness goes on. Someone in Congress should look at these earmarks and laugh really hard out loud during the session. It just takes one or two honest people to say, no, we’re not going to spend hard-earned taxpayers’ dollars on how to make blueberries more blue!!!

Back to Tim Alpers who mentioned that the biggest earmark should be the people of the country. Leaders need to track programs, report results and get rid of useless expenditures. End of story. Thanks, Tim. We agree.

You already know what we in the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom think of bonuses for high flying financial moguls. Phooey! So, we say the same to the U.S. Postmaster General, John Potter, and his compensation and retirement package that add up to $800,000. This genius recently decided, according to Citizens Against Government Waste, to pattern the postal service after General Motors, whose CEO took a 64% increase in his salary in 2007 while his company lost $39 billion. Ouch! Look for postal stamps to go up. Way up.

While on the elliptical jogger at the gym the other day, I gazed out the window and saw a lovely Hispanic grandmother walking with her stick and a trash bag. I saw her later all around town. She was carefully cleaning up her city and getting some exercise too. Made the jogging equipment seem somehow less meaningful.

We’ve met some interesting people over the years. Back in the 80s famous newsman Bill Farr spoke at the first meeting of the Inyo-Mono Press Club (those were the days when local news people were friends and colleagues). Farr had gone to jail rather than give up a news source. He left his sweater in the newsroom. It’s still hanging here as if he might come back. Of course, he won’t. He died in 1987, never having revealed his source. Anytime we feel a tad weak about defending the First Amendment, we just look over at the sweater hanging solemnly on the rack.

Way back in the 70s, we met Taylor Hackford. He was working for KCET, national public TV in Los Angeles. Now, he’s a famous director/ producer. Taylor was involved in An Officer and a Gentleman, Leap of Faith, White Knights, Devil’s Advocate, Ray and many others. Now, we see, he has decided to take his own leap. Hackford will bankroll his first theater production, “Louis and Keely: Live at the Sahara.” The storyline revolves around entertainers Louis Prima and Keely Smith. Hackford, who, by the way, is married to Helen Mirren, started out in the mailroom at KCET-TV. Wow. We met him because he wanted video and information about the water wars back in the 70s.

Okay. Enough reminiscing. Back to the present. How about the Town of Mammoth outlaws the use of euphemisms. The Anti-Euphemism law, as it were. When this new rule goes into effect, town government will loom totally transparent because citizens won’t have to decipher what in the heck their officials mean!?! What, after all does this mean? “Destination Resort Community and Economic Development Strategy”. Perhaps we would rather not know.

What’s Incentive Zoning? Drop in Saturday at a town open house for the compelling details. The Town Council, so the material reads, wants to know what you, the people, feel the community needs. With all humility, we must ask, doesn’t the Town Council know by now what people want? Hey, maybe not. Maybe it’s a whole new ballgame out there. The open house unfolds in the Minaret Village Mall Lobby from 10am to 2pm. Drop in and watch a bureaucrat place a “sticky dot” on a board of some kind to memorialize opinions.

We know some business people have stated publicly that it’s time to “take the town back from the Town Council.” Something to ponder as we bid good-bye on this day of the luck of the Irish. A wink and a shot of good whiskey to you all.

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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