Bureaucrat Beat: OV water for swimming pools, Tux and the guys, and come on, Mr. Mayor

From city halls to county courthouses, from the State house to the White House – bureaucrats control our lives.  Public servants who often try to become our masters.  People whose salaries we pay, but what goods and services do we get?  On Sierra Wave’s Bureaucrat Beat, we’ll report what they’re up to.”  That’s the Bureaucrat Beat declaration of dissatisfaction, but as you may know, Bureaucrat Beat talks about so much more.

One of the commenters on our website said it best about Los Angeles: “It is incumbent on those who benefit from this damage (of the Owens Valley) to minimize aqueductindythe harm they do, but they must first fight past their denial and recognize their basic ethical obligations to treat this resource as the great and valuable gift it is. What ethical basis exists for destroying an ecosystem far away to create lawns and forests in a dry land where such would never naturally exist? How can a people justify row upon row of evaporative swimming pools, filled with water that is diverted from a natural desert lake? Why is the need for shiny clean BMWs, Mercedes and Priuses more important than a natural desert spring and the ecosystem it could support?”

Don’t forget who you’re dealing with, Inyo Supervisors.

Here’s a disgrace of another kind – JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and his 74% pay raise that adds up to his $20 million annual salary.  He made a deal to pay the government $2 billion to avoid criminal prosecution for the foreclosure fraud and other fraudulent activity.  Why isn’t he in jail?

The National Security Agency might as well go behind bars too.  According to the Nation of Change, the NSA can hack and spy on ay iPhone any time.  We won’t place bets on what they are really doing.  Just remember – privacy is an illusion.

It’s not pretend when reporters write stories on the California drought and it’s not, as some local officials would like to claim, “negativism”.  It’s reporting on what is.  Maybe the Pineapple Express will keep the snow coming.

Tuxedo, the newsroom cat, was please to see that this year’s male stars mostly all donned tuxedos on the red carpet of the Golden Globe awards. Makes our Tux feel like one of the guys! Tux, Matthew McConaughey, Bradley Cooper….

Sick of that so-called “Fire Prevention Fee” that our California legislators enacted a year or two ago?  It’s supposed to pay for “fire prevention” but not for firefighting.  A retired State Senator and member of the Board of Equalization, George Runner, has pushed the Governor to restore full funding to Cal Fire and get rid of the phony fire fee.  Runner argues that times were worse when the fee was created and now it’s just a burden, particularly on rural residents.

Here’s a really good read that documents the history of the Owens Valley in an entertaining and well written fictional story – “Rain Shadow” by Rebecca Hansen Carrer.  She told us she had watched “Cadillac Desert” and the story of our Valley which inspired the novel.  Well worth the read to understand the trail of unethical behavior that leads to the present.

LA City Councilman Tom LaBonge, who attended the Standing Committee meeting, sits in major denial of that trail.  He bragged about the wetlands LA created in its City Center and made it clear that 100 years ago the President of the United  States gave LA the water.   Nice.  No wonder he popped out of his chair like a Jack-ericgarcettiin-the-box at the end of the meeting after several citizens scolded LA for their cheap behavior.

The First Amendment Coalition is trying to nail officials for bad behavior. Their lawyer, Peter Scheer, wrote that government officials’ emails are public records whether they are personal or government email addresses.   He said the Third District Court of Appeal will soon decide this matter in a legal opinion for the Coalition.

It’s not a legal opinion, but a fact that LA Mayor Eric Garcetti could be the one to own up to his City’s despicable treatment of the Owens Valley.  He’s intelligent enough to know about it and seemingly ethical enough to admit it, but he has aspirations for higher office (He and his wife recently played host on a country music station. A reporter speculated he’s searching for Republican votes.).  Come on, Mr. Mayor.  You said you wanted to reform the DWP.  Please do.

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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4 Responses to Bureaucrat Beat: OV water for swimming pools, Tux and the guys, and come on, Mr. Mayor

  1. Andrew D. Morin February 11, 2014 at 8:32 pm #

    Great Commentary!

  2. Desert Tortoise February 12, 2014 at 9:14 am #

    Let people who chose to live in areas that are subject to wild fires pay the full and complete cost of fighting those fires. Why shoud taxpayers who have sense enough to live somewhere that is not threatened by wild fire have to pay for the hideously expensive fire fighting efforts required to save the homes of idiots who want to live in such dangerous places? If you want to live that close to nature, pay the price. Don’t place that burden on the rest of us.

    Btw, no one in LA has to apologize to anyone for their nice cars. Anyone who has ever lived and worked down there knows that it is like the old lyric from Steely Dan; “in the land of milk and honey you must put them on the table”. Most people down there work darn hard for what they have, darn hard, and comments like that is this commentary are just sour grapes from someone who didn’t have the mojo to make it down there. Don’t begrudge hard work.

    • MajorTom February 13, 2014 at 12:07 pm #


      I personally would not deprive the city-folk of their Mercedes, Priuses and (especially) BMWs. Whatever gives them pleasure or solace in their pressured-filled hectic existence. I would only ask that they wash those cars every-other oil change, instead of every fill-up. It would show some consideration for the impact they have on the world by not wasting resources. In my view, an eternally shiny clean Mercedes is no more objectionable that a shiny clean 1993 Toyota Camry; both equally waste water. Of course, I am a SoCal-influenced, car-centric hedonist.

      And you are dead on regarding fire protection. A community should bear the cost of protecting itself against natural hazards other than true disasters, and most around here do. But we have small communities that have no organic fire protection, they depend on the ability and willingness of neighboring fire departments, including Cal-fire, to respond. This is dangerous and externalizes the cost of living in a great place. With good building codes and some organization, a neighborhood or larger community can protect itself from wildfires. But us rural folk should be no more responsible for funding the fighting of wildland fires than anyone else.

    • McGolden February 15, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

      Yawn. Your argument is so tiring. Rural homeowners pay home insurance and taxes that should cover costs of home protection in the event of wildfire. To use your analogy, shouldn’t homeowners who live in hideously gi-normous homes (e.g, LA McMansions) pay additional fees for fire fighting efforts since, again by your analogy, more resources (firefighters, water) are required to save a 5,000 sqft home than a 1200 sqft home ? The Yosemite fire threatened the Hetch Hetchy reservoir, sole water source to the entire SF population, yet, are those homeowners paying additional wildfire fees to protect their water source? Doubtful.


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