Bureaucrat Beat: TV Nobodys, Objectivism, and Derelict DMV

A Bureaucrat Beat listener sent in a comment to us. He pointed to the public’s tendency to fall all over themselves to follow quirky, outrageous media personalities. Somewhat scarey when you examine the actual intelligence or mostly lack of it in these characters. Just turn on your TV and go to the news channels. You’ll see what we mean.

This listener gave us a copy of the old movie, “A Face in the Crowd”, starring Andy Griffith and Patricia O’Neal. A very serious film written by Bud Schulberg about the power of television to turn nobodys into somebody who powerful men will use as pawns to manipulate the public. Check it out sometime if you want to see what’s going on today. Thanks, Ron.

What’s going on in Inyo County today? Secret talks about a big, new administration building in Bishop for county offices and then there’s the mystery of the state-financed court building. As one local official noted – why don’t the county and the state get together on one building for both. You know, economy of scale. Would make a whole lot of sense! Maybe that’s why no one has brought it up. Combine both buildings and save taxpayers’ dollars. Probably won’t happen because the minds of state bureaucrats seem imprisoned in regulatory re-bar

Does it seem like big corporations should exercise freedom of speech by paying to get someone elected? You may recall that the Supreme Court ruled that corporations could essentially spend unlimited amounts of money to influence election outcomes.

A group called Public Citizen, founded by Ralph Nader, now works on a Constitutional amendment to clarify that actual people, not profit-generating corporations, should have free speech rights. Seems some legislators agree. All of which brings us to the issue of campaign financing. How about they ban campaign contributions altogether and offer some very limited government financing of elections. That move would put our democracy back in the hands of the little people and out of the greedy clutches of special interests like insurance companies, banks, lawyers, oil companies – all the ultra wealthy. They can have a say the way we do – as individuals.

On a local note, Mammoth Town Council candidate Kirk Stapp has hammered on the fact that Mammoth officials have a new policy that lets developers out from under the expensive Development Impact Fees and some affordable housing fees. It’s the conflict of the decades in Mammoth – how much to exact out of developers and how much to bend over backwards to get them to build? Once more, it’s an election issue. No surprise there.

What is somewhat of a surprise, how the Mammoth Town Council continues to meet behind closed doors on evaluations of their town manager. What’s up with that? Speculation now moves through town like a slow rolling ride on a Merry-Go-Round.tom_cage

Will his personal views punch through questions at the Mammoth Lakes Chamber Candidates Forum? Tom Cage will moderate the forum and although he expressed candidate preferences earlier, Cage says he feels that he can impartially question Mammoth’s 8 Town Council candidates. In fact, Cage said he doesn’t know for sure yet who he will vote for. A long-time Mammoth business owner, Cage has predicted more than a few races. He said he views the forum as a chance to help candidates reveal their positions. The Chamber Forum – Tuesday, April 27, 5pm in Suite Z.

An email from Jack Copeland, VP and Director of Human Resources at MMSA has circulated through the Eastern Sierra. Copeland warns that the DMV is no longer sending out prompt vehicle registration renewal information. Nice. Seems that vehicle registration code makes us responsible for on-time renewals even if DMV doesn’t send notification. The penalty? Double your fee. Copeland suggests we calendar our own registrations to protect ourselves. Good grief. Only thing worse than a bureaucracy? A derelict bureaucracy.

Speaking of bureaucracies gone bad. How about the Securities and Exchange Commission? Yeah. The SEC did file a fraud suit against mega bank, Goldman Sachs for betting on the failure of mortgage loans they made to customers. The bank made jillions of dollars betting on losses of their own customers. It took the SEC an awfully long time to uncover that bad behavior. Just like the Bernie Madoff case. Whistle blowers had told the SEC a long time ago about the guy’s ponzi schemes. The regulators seem like they’re way too chummy with the ones they regulate.

Most often, groups formed by individuals are the ones that really get things done. Take ICARE, the group who saves pets. Their annual fundraiser drew a large, enthusiastic crowd. An especially terrific note – Inyo’s Public Works Director Ted Pederson won the 50-50 prize of $2,165. Pederson stunned the crowd when he gave the cash back to ICARE as a donation. ICARE Director Ted Schade told the crowd, who gave Pederson a standing ovation. We would second that.

Another group that relieves the suffering of animals – in their case wild animals – is Eastern Sierra Wildlife Care. It’s spring, and birds fly out and about. Sometimes they get into big trouble – hit by cars and hurt by other human activities. Cindy Kamler and her crew tackle the hands-on job of healing hawks, crows, owls, eagles, raccoons, and even hummingbirds. They handle wild patients in all of Mono and Inyo. They need donations too. P.O. Box 368, Bishop.

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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