Bureaucrat Beat: Unweeded Garden, Murtha Airport, and Census Awry?

We’ve just come in from the vegetable garden outside the newsroom south. Possibly more weeds than veggies, but the slow,tedious work to rid the weeds gives pause for thought. The first thing that sprung to mind- Shakespeare’s Hamlet who had reached a point of mental desperation. He called life an unweeded garden gone to seed. “Fie on it! O fie!” wailed the depressed Hamlet. Happily we do not share his hand wringing.

hamletThe gardens of the Eastern Sierra and beyond offer peace, beauty, something to eat and a little exercise. Not too bad. Maybe if Hamlet had set to weeding, his despair would have vanished. All right. Enough of tomato plant philosophy.

On to outrageous egoism. Congressman John Murtha funneled so much money to his district for no good reason that the town was able to build an airport with his name on it. A story by ABC News revealed that the airport gets only about 20 passengersa day. All three flights go to Washington, D.C. How convenient.

unweeded_gardenThe John Murtha Johnstown Cambria County Airport was built with more than 40 million taxpayer dollars. Over 10 years, the airport has raked in 150 million more with $800,000 in stimulus money on the way. What’s up with this!! Just because he wanted jobs for his district, Murtha built a nearly useless airport!! Just think how many times this kind of crime repeats in district after district. Enough, already!

Meanwhile, in Sacramento, Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries introduced a bill more than 5 months ago which would prohibit the legislature from voting on bills without notifying the public 72 hours in advance and making the bill available in print for at least 24 hours. In all that time, the bill has received no hearing. Jeffries is quoted as saying, “I find it ironic that a bill that would put an end to back room deals is being held hostage in a backroom somewhere.” Ironic, for sure.

john_murtha_airportJeffries revealed the way California government works and why he wants his bill to pass. He said, “Midnight amendments, being told to vote on measures just minutes after receiving the bill, you name it; the things that are demanded of us defies all decorum of good government.” Jeffries added that local governments have to comply with posting requirements in the Brown Act, why shouldn’t the State Legislature? Very smart question. No wonder things have gone awry in Sacramento.

The 2010 census may go awry. With about six months before the start of the next count, the Census Bureau still has no director. Seems the President did nominate a director but our illustrious congress has opted to hold things up.

News sources say that the last administration neglected the Census Bureau and then meddled with it. It’s not a smooth-running machine, you might say. We’ll follow this one so you know when the census takers come to your door whether the information they gather will really go anywhere.

Ric Hardman went places. Hollywood, in particular. Ric was one of the early investors in KSRW. He and others helped make it happen. Ric died yesterday morning. He was one of the most creative people we in the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom have ever known.

Hardman wrote screenplays for movies and television shows. Some of you might remember “Rare Breed” and “Laredo”. He wrote many episodes of “Lawman”, “Cheyenne” and many others. Hardman turned his talent to writing novels. “Fifteen Flags” achieved Hemingwayesque stature.

What we loved most about Hardman – the way he lived life. He never hesitated to get right in there and go for it! Personally, we are grateful he believed in what was then KDAY. Thanks, Ric.

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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