Bureaucrat Beat: The Big 5, Stealth Ads, and Chinese Solar

We in the Bureaucrat Beat Newsroom could just hear Scarlet O’Hara in Gone With the Wind drawl her sarcastic surprise at news that Sacramento leaders have found a “tentative agreement” on a state budget. “As I live and breath!”big5

Why aren’t we excited? First of all the news bulletin from our recently contracted news agency, Capitol Television News Service, said that the “Big 5 came to a tentative agreement at their meeting yesterday in Los Angeles.” First of all, legislators who call themselves “The Big 5” need to get real.
How about they just get the budget done on time, July 1, and quit with the falderal. Anyway, the “Big 5” are the Governor and the two top leaders of the Assembly and the Senate. They claim they have almost agreed but they won’t give up any details.

Further alerts – No Big 5 meetings for the rest of the week. Oh, drat and darn and dear me! Anyway, the Big 5 guys will apparently take the proposal back to their legislative caucuses for review. The Sacramento Bee reported that the five lawmakers would work on details over the week-end.

As one of our listeners said, we need the power to fire useless politicians. As we say in our intro, from the White House and the State House, bureaucrats control our lives. They’ve pushed it too far. This week they were all out collecting campaign re-election funds. Arghhhhhhhh!!!

Speaking of campaign funds. Since the Supreme Court gave free rein to corporations to put money into political ads, they’re doing it! They don’t even have to identify themselves. A column in the Washington Post reported that innocuous sounding groups are funded by political familiars. Crossroads GPS, spearheaded by Karl Rove and bankrolled by major Republican donors. American Crossroads raised $32 million. Who are they?

Americans for Job Security was reportedly funded with support from the American Insurance Association to advance that industry’s agenda. They are not your friends. Then, of course, Americans for Prosperity, funded by billionaire oil men, David and Charles Koch to forward their corporate interests. You get the picture. Perhaps a new discipline for the truly serious – do not watch TV political ads.

One of our audience has watched a statewide project to install solar systems on state buildings, including Caltrans in Bishop. This reader said he understands the State Facilities Department paid millions to China for the solar systems instead of to the U.S. Caltrans’ public information officer checked it out for us. She said that the request for solar system bids did not specify brand or originator of products. China is one of the world’s larger suppliers of solar products, she noted. The Bishop Caltrans solar project did use products made in China. I know. It’s irritating. However, one has to ask why America has not advanced farther than China in the production of solar components. We in the Bureaucrat Beat Newsroom smell oil.

Closer to home – Leigh Gaasch of Mammoth Lakes put some dollars where her sentiments lie. Gaasch scolded the Mammoth Town Council for eliminating 9 jobs and never saying thank you to the Town employees who met their demise. So, she did it. Gaasch presented a $550 gift certificate for all the laid-off workers. She handed over the envelope to Deputy Town Manager Karen Johnston and said thanks to all of you for your service.

Here’s an example of how it does pay to speak truth to power. Mammoth Town Councilman John Eastman said that the Town received a letter from the Park Service in response to a request that they hold off on prescribed burns. Last year one of them got out of control and a big fire ensued so did smoke into the Eastern Sierra just in time for the Labor Day holiday. Eastman let the Park Service know what their actions did to hurt people here.

The Park Service respectfully agreed not to light fires until after Labor Day. Righteous representation of the public really does work. This is a message to the Inyo Supervisors. It’s not about making people mad. It’s about calm, deliberate honesty on behalf of your constituents. Thank you very much.

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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