Bureaucrat Beat: St. Patrick’s Day massacre, martinis and no-smoking

Heston and Kessler circa 1976 were fired when DWP threatened station owner with lease cancellation.

Heston and Kessler circa 1976 were fired when DWP threatened station owner with lease cancellation.

“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.”

They did it again.  Egypt’s government jammed the television signal of the station that airs comedian Bassem Youssef, known as the Jon Stewart of Egypt.  He performs satire, as he pokes fun at Egyptian officials.  According to the LA Times, a spokesperson for the TV station said they had identified small satellite transmitters as the cause of the jamming.  They can’t know for sure if it’s the government, but come on, who else would want to silence the funny man!

Nice to know that even if our government is bought and paid for by corporations, we can still exercise some freedom of speech.  Keep in mind, elected officials have the least protection from defamation laws.  We can tell it like it is about them as long as we don’t act out of what’s known as actual malice.  That means the person had to either know he was lying about the public official or was “wreckless with the truth.”  Keep that in mind, website commenters.  You can go way farther with elected officials than with others – but, not too far!!

38 years ago this St. Patrick’s Day DWP went too far.  They sent a letter to the radio station on which John Heston and I broadcast our first radio news show and said if the owner did not fire us, DWP would cancel their tower lease.  We were doing some fierce reporting on DWP’s brutal groundwater pumping during the drought.  The owner fired us.  We posted fliers about the truth and went to the Los Angeles Press Club where all radio and TV stations picked up our story about LADWP silencing the media in the Owens Valley.  An exciting experience which launched my news career.  Thanks, DWP!!

OK.  Inyo County has another problem – planners want to plan for solar and wind energy, as many other authorities want them to. A sizable public fight has ensued.  How about the Inyo Supervisors listen to the peoples’ complaints and work to answer them.  The plan on the books now does not have to be the accepted plan.  When is the last time you saw more than 70 people raising hell in the Boardroom, Supervisors?  Look for a way to hear the people and do your work.  It can be done.  Even with your vote scheduled for April Fool’s Day – no kidding.

Nothing complicated about the fact that the LADWP filed lawsuits as often as they had three martini lunches in the past year, and they lost all five of those suits.  That’s what Mammoth Town Councilman John Eastman said.  He sits on the Air Pollution Control Board which got hit with all those suits and other claims.  Eastman said three members of the APCD board and two members of the LA Water and Power Commission worked through some settlements.  That’s nice to hear.  For those who tell us that DWP has been nastier the last two years than ever before, ecigarettethink again.  They’ve always been high-handed, condescending, dishonest and intimidating.  This is true.  We in the Bureaucrat Beat Newsroom do not employ “actual malice.”

Oh, and we won’t be smoking any e-cigarettes in the newsroom.  We realize there’s not really enough research to prove they’re harmful; but if we can’t smoke real cigarettes we just don’t want any phony substitutes.

We don’t get what Inyo-Mono Congressman Paul Cook wants to know.  In a mailer, he asked constituents this:  Do you support or oppose the National Security Agency’s surveillance of American citizens?  Choices for answers are Yes, No, Unsure.  Of what???  Some call it a bipolar survey.

Mammoth Town Councilman Matthew Lehman was sure he does not want Mammoth Police Officers to drive home patrol cars if they live outside of town.  Lots of officers do live in Inyo County where housing is affordable, or at least more affordable than Mammoth Lakes.  Lehman has spoken out against government-funded employee housing.  Hey, you’ve gotta offer some reasonable housing or let ‘em drive home to wherever they can afford it.  Just our opinion here in the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom.

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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5 Responses to Bureaucrat Beat: St. Patrick’s Day massacre, martinis and no-smoking

  1. Kathleen Bernasconi March 16, 2014 at 11:17 pm #

    It seems it has been a long time, but, 38 years is just a small memory. I should not be commenting on this subject, but when this all came down some persons were responsible for the damage, under guise of darkness, cowards managed to throw a device of destruction through a window causing some damage, but damage did not impact the spirit. YEP!!! Seems it landed on my mother’s desk. She was only doing her job. DWP was the hand that fed most of us, and continues to support those that held strong. Have some pictures that show the damage if you would like to see them.

    • Benett Kessler March 17, 2014 at 8:53 am #

      I have no idea what you are talking about, but am interested in more detail. I do seem to recall when DWP announced moving its headquarters out of Independence, someone tossed an incendiary device through an HQ window. Is that what you mean? I also remember citizens were very angry that we were fired and our broadcast came to an end. Heston and I did continue our reporting in our Inyo County Newsletter that we published on a copy machine and later bought a printing press. TV and more radio to follow.
      Benett Kessler

      • Desert Tortoise March 17, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

        I think it is a reference to the September 1976 dynamiting of the Alabama Gates.

  2. Kathleen Bernasconi March 17, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    I certainly respect the job you have done and, yes, a follower of news media.

  3. Clint Hyde March 21, 2014 at 11:20 am #

    Our Congressman, Paul Cook, continually sends letters and emails that read as if he does not understand that he is part of the Federal Government. He says “NO!” to spying on everyone but he doesn’t write convincingly as if he thinks he can do anything about it. He continues to solicit our opinion when most of us are tired of the do-nothing Congress which lobs insults at each other without acting.

    I am sure I represent the majority of your constituents when I say that we did not want Congress to pass the Homeland Security Act which has led to the NSA mining our communications. The HSA was cosponsored by 118 members of Congress. It was signed into law by President George W. Bush in November 2002. We don’t hear anyone calling it the Bush Security Act. Going back further in time we did not authorize the last two Presidents to invade Iraq and Afghanistan and Congress did not ask our opinion before spending trillions of unauthorized dollars for killing millions of civilians and losing thousands of US military personnel. Continually blaming one president or the other does not do anything for us. We want action. Rep. Paul Cook wanted to be in Congress to do something, now he needs to do something and stop blaming everyone else. He is the Federal Government he keeps warning us about.

    He insists on sending us propaganda referring to the Health Care Act as Obamacare (see the paragraph above). What he seems to have missed is the fact that the Republican Party actually designed this legislation. Of course, you can say most of Republicans voted against it in 2010. But they made sure it included elements of the health care act designed in Massachusetts under Governor Romney. I don’t know if anyone in that state refers to it as Romneycare. And the same things in both pieces of law are the features that he is decrying. Republicans opposed to this plan wanted to include insurance companies rather than go to a single payer plan for everyone similar to Medicare. They wanted to set it up to fail and have no plan of action to help people in our country pay for healthcare.

    If Rep. Paul continues to send out surveys, propagandizing against policies, rather than doing something, like sponsoring legislation and lobbying your colleagues for better privacy and health care insurance, he does not represent us in our district. We are done with elected officials who refuse to become politicians and get something done.


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