Bureaucrat Beat: Tales of Fish Abuse, Mortgage Scam? and Bureaucratic Nausea

What’s important? That’s a slippery question in the world of politics. That’s why we appreciate all the comments and emails on our website, www.sierrawave.net. One of those comments pointed us to a San Diego Union article about Fish and Game, which alleged that the bureaucracy had begun to “dump trout” into water ways prematurely since they didn’t have enough food for the little fishies. State budget problems and all.

We spoke to Gary Williams, Senior Hatchery Supervisor, who said the Union article is not true. Wow. Williams did say that the flood and mudslide that disabled Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery has caused some logistics problems and did cause Fish and Game to plant 40-50,000 sub-catchable trout earlier than usual because there was no room at either Black Rock or Mt. Whitney hatcheries. In fact, DFG started regular trout plants more than a week ago, starting at lowest elevations.

Williams did maintain that Fish and Game will rebuild the Mt. Whitney Hatchery. “It will just take time,” he said. Okay – rumor put to rest, mostly. Our state legislators have scared us, and we don’t really trust them to have taken care of things.

Had any computerized calls lately? The scammers just can’t resist the urge to tap into the federal stimulus package. I guess they thought it meant stimulation of hair-brained frauds.

The newsroom phone has rung a few times and when we picked up the receiver an electronic voice said, “are you late on your mortgage payments? Press 1 now to find out if you are eligible for help through the President’s stimulus package.” The third time this call came in, I decided to press 1 just for the heck of it.

A man finally came on the line and said their company name is Debt Barter. “We are a third party,” he said. They charge a fee to deal with someone’s lender to bargain down to a better interest rate and monthly payment. The real truth – homeowners can contact their own creditors about a better mortgage deal under the stimulus package. You don’t need to pay a “third party” to do this for you. It’s a rip-off.

Some people in Mammoth feel ripped off by the parking citations they found under their windshield wipers in the Sherwin Creek Road area. Seems the road isn’t plowed enough for two vehicles to pass one another, so no parking. What’s up with that? What a perfect area for snow-shoeing, hiking, walking the dog, etc. Hey, Mammoth is a recreation town! What are people supposed to do? Park their cars on Old Mammoth Road and walk? We don’t think so.

In the Eastern Sierra water equals money. So when it’s time to deal on water, big outfits flash dollar signs to get what they want. That’s what people do who need water, but the question in Inyo County is what will the officials do for Coso Geothermal’s wish to pump groundwater in roughly the same amount as annual water re-charge. Coso officials swear this will not cause “significant” environmental damage. Trouble for them – people in the Owens Valley have heard this from LA for decades with disappointing results. The Coso guys also swear that if things go wrong, they will stop their pumps. Heard that before, too. Another problem – water science is murky.

Transparent – the latest cool word about government – turns the stomach of one elected official. Mammoth Town Councilman John Eastman proclaimed his lack of support for one more time-consuming bureaucratic exercise designed to make local government processes “transparent.” Eastman said he would “throw up” if he heard “transparent” one more time.

We in the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom say that elected officials should simply make issues and actions at each meeting very plain and clear to the public. Don’t give us the idiot treatment but think about straight talk that makes sense. Plus, don’t do things that require enormous amounts of explanation. That likely means you’re off base. Just a suggestion prior to vomiting.

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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