“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.
Imagine how we would all feel if members of Congress suddenly stood up and said things like “Two great issues which are fundamental are the inclusion of the poor in society and second, peace and social dialogue.” Or, “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?” It would be shocking. We would reel with amazement, gobsmacked with the knowledge that life as we know it was about to change.
Those quotes come from Pope Francis, not from John Boehner or Harry Reid. Now, we’re not suggesting that Congress get religion. They already play that phony card. We in the Bureaucrat Beat Newsroom would give it a standing ovation if any of those elected officials fashioned a new platform on social equality.
They might give it a shot if pending legislation ever passes – bills introduced in the U.S. Senate in June to allow states and Congress to limit campaign financing. It would be fun to see members of Congress publicly squirm over limits on their campaign dollars. The current system of special interests with pay to play habits has been described as “legalized bribery.”
Speaking of those in need, we heard hundreds in our area have sought help with heating bills and funds have run out. Good idea for the giving season – donate to Salvation Army and others who provide food and support for the truly in need.
Meanwhile, more cool words have floated into the Newsroom. Troll. You thought that meant an ugly little man who lives under a bridge? Not today. Troll is internet slang for a person who sows discord by starting arguments, posting inflammatory or off-topic comments. We’ve seen some of those poke their noses into our website comments. We just reach for the delete button.
Here’s another word described as British slang – shambolic. We were all watching CNN’s Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. He’s a famous, if somewhat irreverent chef who travels with a TV crew to lots of places and checks out life in general as well as food. He recently went to Detroit (Wow. 80,000 empty buildings in the bankrupt city) and described the place as shambolic. That means disorganized or confused. Sometimes our local officials appear shambolic. You can surprise them with that adjective.
No surprise here. DWP Commissioners voted to halt funding of two shadowy non-profit organizations managed by DWP and their union. $40 million of ratepayers’ dollars has gone into the two alleged safety management organizations in the past ten years and no one has coughed up financial records to prove how it was spent. Meanwhile, DWP spent $162 million on a new billing, metering and customer service computer system. Yep. Doesn’t work right. Customers got huge bills, suffered rapid heart beat, stayed on hold at DWP for an hour and got no satisfaction. The LA Times editorial pages advised the DWIP to hold off on nasty collections until they get their act together. Next time DWP whines about spending money on the Owens Dry Lake, we might remind them of these two debacles.
Speaking of debacle, poor Alec Baldwin. He’s super at comedy, but when he quits laughing he can get kind of nasty. That’s what some paparazzi say. As you probably heard, Baldwin shot off his mouth with a homophobic slur and MSNBC cancelled his new talk show. Maybe he, Mel Gibson and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford can start a support group called Rant.
Fast food restaurant employees could use a support group. According to the LA times, workers at mainly franchise eateries are paid near minimum wages “making them eligible for public assistance that totaled an average of $717 million a year in California from 2007 to 2011.” Some call it public subsidy for private business.
Champion of the underdog, Bruce Springsteen will come out with a new album after the first of the year. It’s called “High Hopes.” Got to have that. And, the smiley face of the news world, Katie Couric, will apparently become the Face of Yahoo News. Stay tuned.
Since Los Angeles and the Eastern Sierra are joined somewhat like Siamese Twins, neither one really wanting the other, we do care about what happens to the Los Angeles Times. A recent article says the company will “re-organize”, i.e. lay off lots of people. Officials claim they will not decimate the newsroom. We hope not. We need to know what’s going on down there.
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.