Bureaucrat Beat: Tree Stump City, IOUs from Arnold and Dish It Up!

Mammoth claims fame for sking. Bishop for mules. Just think, the town of Independence could promote itself as the Tree Stump Capitol of the West.

While serious doubt hovers over highway funding, Caltrans Director Tom Hallenbeck still wants to cut down 100 trees in Independence as part of the four-lane project there – a project that might never happen. Have we gone down the rabbit hole far enough yet?

So, back to the tree stumps. How about Independence rents space on the top of them to display plaques, figurines, and mini-statues. Independence could charge for the stump space and raise revenue for town improvements. Wow. What a deal?!

This situation and so many others highlights how citizens find themselves at the mercy of a state government that has not proven trustworthy. No wonder people worry about their private property. If you had to bet today that the guys in Sacramento would work out the budget problems and make state bonds attractive to buyers, how much would you put down? We in the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom prefer lottery tickets.

Wanna bet on future gas prices? Lottery odds still hold the field. The New York Times reported that OPEC cut oil production and that traders feel the “precipitous drop in prices went too far.” Too far for whom? Okay, it’s still better than $4 per gallon, but we liked the $1.77 per gallon range better. Come on OPEC and you other rich guys, give us a break out here! It’s not just our car expenses. The high gas prices mean we pay more for food and goods.

One more thing. State government proposes paying tax refunds with IOUs. How bad can it get? Now, California won’t even give us our own money back. We get IOUs instead. Not aschwarzenegger.jpg warm and fuzzy feeling.

Yesterday, President-Elect Obama named big problems that extend from corporate board rooms to the Whitehouse. He says it’s got to stop. We couldn’t agree more. The corporate mind set to grab money at all costs has hurt us bad. We hope that type of policy will not drive the future of the Village at Mammoth. It’s probably too late for Cottonwood Plaza in Bishop.

Here’s a policy that hurts Bishop – big companies that lease space and keep it vacant just to discourage competitors. That means dead zones for Bishop. Local officials insist it’s not illegal, so they can’t do anything.

Some people think Caltrans should never have tried to put in sidewalks along Highway 395 from Barlow Lane to the Gun Club. Hey, guys, people tell us if they wanted sidewalks they would’ve moved to Van Nuys. Perhaps it’s time to get practical and save money.

Somebody has saved money at the Inyo County offices on South Street in Bishop. That building needs some help!

So do the people who lost their jobs as a result of business closures at Cottonwood Plaza. We are told 16 employees lost work when Burger King was forced to close up.

While minimum wage workers struggle to survive, the Bush White House bought a half million dollars worth of china dishes!!! Come on. Tradition doesn’t count when it offends those in real economic pain as a result of carelessness at the top. Gives “Let them eat cake!” a whole new meaning.

Meanwhile, in Mammoth Lakes. Today is furlough day for lots of workers. Town Manager Rob Clark said that everyone, him included, takes an unpaid day off today except for police officers and snow removal crews. The front desks at the police department and town offices are closed and so is the visitors bureau.

Clark clarified that “all employees have made some concessions to help with the budget.” This move will save a quarter of a million dollars for the town. There’s the story for those who called to ask.

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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