How do you go from “Sexiest Man Alive” in the eyes of People Magazine to the Mad Hatter? Ask Johnny Depp. The ways of Hollywood mystify, let’s face it. In the new year, Depp will play the Mad Hatter in a new version of Alice in Wonderland. I guess for a guy who filled the role of Edward Scissorhands nothing is too weird.
But, ask some of the folks in Montana how they feel about the movie star brigade, and they will not find the darlings so ginger peachy. Seems that with a huge influx of celebrities – movie and sports stars, plus international CEOs, property values have sky-rocketed. More significantly, so have property taxes. The LA Times wrote about one man who paid $35,000 for his family’s home in 1967 in Whitefish, Montana. Now, according to the State of Montana, the man’s property has jumped to a value of more than $2.6 million because the rich and famous will pay that much. He has to fork over more than $9,000 for this year’s property taxes.
We in California can, in the new year, send our silent thanks for Proposition 13. Thank you, Howard Jarvis, may you rest in peace. Politicians want to get rid of Prop. 13 so they can fleece us out of more property taxes to do God knows what in their government antics. They can’t as long as we refuse to vote Prop. 13 out. Remember Montana.
While the new year will not bring more obscene property tax bills for us, it may produce 3-D glasses to watch movies at home. Wooo! Hoooooo!! This week in Las Vegas at the big Consumer Electronics Show, several big companies will show off 3-D enabled TV sets and other gear. Manufacturers promise that the newly designed 3-D glasses will hugely out class the old red and green ones we used to pull out of cereal boxes. We’re ready. Hey, maybe these glasses would even make the Supervisors and Town Council meetings more exciting. Probably not.
Now, here’s an exciting development for the new year. Seems a British company plans to make light-producing wallpaper. They want to come up with LEDs to coat wallpaper material. This would replace conventional light bulbs and save energy. I don’t know. Glowing walls might give us the heebie-jeebies. We’ll try to keep an open mind, but we just can’t imagine glimmery walls in the dark cave we call the Bureaucrat Beat Newsroom. Maybe just one wall.
We read about a new use for computer software. Seems the Jefferson County Sheriff in Imperial, Missouri, tried a new computer program that shows kids what they will look like after use of methamphetamine. As you may guess, it’s not pretty. The kids who saw their faces morph into ugly, sunken sags said this was the most convincing evidence against drugs that they had ever seen.
One of our website readers asked if we could come up with information on how our Congressman and Senators voted on things like healthcare reform and raising the government debt limit. Here’s what we found. California Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein voted for HR 3590, called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Inyo-Mono Congressman Buck McKeon voted against it. We can’t comment on whether their votes were good or bad. We have not read the some 2,000-page bill. We do know through our talks with people here and research on the subject that America needs a change in the health care business. Insurance companies charge too much and try to withhold benefits. Drug companies charge too much. Health care itself costs too much. So, we can only say that we find major fault with legislators who do nothing but let the big corporations get away with theft at the expense of peoples’ pain.
As for the vote to raise the debt limit in the United States by almost $300 billion, Congressman McKeon voted no on HR 4314. Senators Boxer and Feinstein voted yes.
On the health care scene there was some good news. The California Court of Appeal in Los Angeles ruled that local prosecutors can sue health insurers over the way they treat consumers. This opinion came down in a lawsuit that accused Anthem Blue Cross of California of violation of state business laws by “selling the promise of insurance but rescinding coverage after policyholders submit claims for costly medical care.” The high court said government prosecutors can sue.
So, folks, this means if a health insurance company refuses to pay for your health care when you need it most, you can go to Inyo District Attorney Art Maillet or Mono District Attorney George Booth and ask them to sue. You don’t have to take corporate abuse. This is a heads-up for our local DAs.
And, 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.