Bureaucrat Beat: Tree killers, 47%, and Grateful Dead

“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.

What is it with Los Angeles officialdom and its calloused disregard for trees?  Hey, LA, they’re living things!  What don’t you get???  We in the Bureaucrat Beat Newsroom and countless southland citizens felt ill at the sight of city workers cutting down 400 trees, 50 years and older to make way for the Space Shuttle Endeavour to go to the American Science Center.  It’s so LA, don’tcha think?

We talked to a local Eastern Sierra citizen who was there when some of those LA trees were planted 50 years ago.  He feels sick at the destruction of what took so long to become beautiful and strong.  The streets of Inglewood and South LA will look, well, naked and dead.  This so the Space Shuttle can come through town.  Some media outlets reported the move will cost $10 million.  Now, we’re really sick.

The Mayor of Inglewood, dollar signs dancing in his head from what he thinks will be astonishing tourism drawn by the shuttle, rationalized that there will be two new trees planted for every destroyed one.  Not good enough.  Come on people, try harder to honor the living.  Tell us how much you have to pay to equal the incredible experience of looking at long rows of big, healthy, shady trees.  Beauty is not for sale. Even the LA Times wrote an editorial in support of the tree slaughter.  Shame on you, LA.

As DWP blithely takes as much water as it can get, there is no thought or remembrance of the thousands of trees that died in the wake of LA’s aqueduct drain. And, by the way, LADWP now admits the City Charter says get all the water you can get.  Yeah.  We knew that.  At least the City of Los Angeles will not bring the space shuttle to the Owens Valley with destruction on what trees we have left along the highway.

And now, DWP doesn’t want to give water to the McNally ponds in the devastated Laws area.  In the 80s, and we saw it happen, mega pumps sucked out water from Laws and the rest of us watched everything die.  Under the water agreement, DWP is supposed to give water to the McNally ponds as mitigation for their environmental slaps.  This year, they don’t want to.  Good luck, Inyo County.

Hey, maybe this is LA’s problem – too much. Bill Moyers in Nation of Change talks poverty.  He quotes social psychologist Paul Piff who told National Public Radio, “The more wealth you have, the more focused on your own self and your own needs you become, and the less attuned to the needs of other people you also become.”   Now I get why all the guys in Washington, D.C. (and LA) can’t relate to the rest of us.  Hey, maybe this is Mitt Romney’s problem – has too much to care about anyone else.

LA Times writer Michael Hiltzik goes to the Romney gaff which was secretly recorded in which he accuses 47% of the populus of mooching off government and demanding healthcare and food.  Hiltzik analyzes the 47% and finds that the “vast majority are people who are working or who have worked in the past.  Their ranks,” writes Hiltzik, “include millions of Americans who are now retired, living on Social Security and Medicare benefits they paid for throughout their working lives.”  He says many others recently fell low in the economic crisis, lost jobs and homes.  He also points out that many of this 47% pay big bucks in payroll taxes.  Enough said.

Back on the closer home front, did Fish and Game secretly kill a bear and her cubs in the Mammoth Lakes Basin?  That’s the scuttlebutt.  And from the sublime and sad animal world to the internet ridiculous.  Have you heard about the latest whoopdeedo?  The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis is presenting the first Internet Cat Video Film Festival.  Meowww!  Had I known, Bureaucrat Beat Newsroom cat, Tuxedo, would have been entered.  He’s handsome and charming.  Well, at least we think so. About 70 cat videos went on display at the Walker.  Keep cameras at the ready.

Hey, bureaucrats, the public may have cameras ready, so watch it.  One of our readers reported that recently at a re-paving job on Barlow Lane in Bishop he saw not one, but two people at the intersection making sure no cars turned north.  The citizen saw dollar signs.  “They both just stood there talking, smoking and doing nothing observable,” he said, “between loaded hotmix trucks.”  One worker, he noted, would have done.

Maybe extra workers can take this board game to work to kill time.  We found it hard to believe, but, yes, there is a Grateful Dead board game.  The publisher says it travels through time with Jerry and the gang answering trivia questions and collecting concert tickets, ala monopoly money.  You get to play with dancing skeleton game pieces.  Ooooookay.

And finally a bit of redundancy.  Seems Governor Martin O’Malley signed a measure to allow a casino in Prince George’s County, just miles from Washington, D.C.  It was signed, big surprise, in a late night session.  It will go to a public vote.  But, hey, the D.C. guys already have the biggest casino in the area – the Capitol Building!!

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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17 Responses to Bureaucrat Beat: Tree killers, 47%, and Grateful Dead

  1. Greg September 19, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    One of your readers was probably Stan Smith at the Barlow job.

  2. Big AL September 20, 2012 at 1:00 am #

    I’m not a tree hugger by far .. but I thought this was senseless, but what was really disturbing, was the fact that all of the officials at the California history center and the the officials in city hall in Inglewood were like .. oh well .. this is what we’re going to do, we don’t care about the trees, we will buy new ones.

    I could see it if there was some dire reason for doing it, but this was just all for getting the shuttle to the Center, damn … saw the wings ! and glue them back on .. or get that mega hauler Russian helo, that can lift something that big, cut it in half if the helo can’t, and haul it in .. in two parts ..

    heck .. it is only going to be a display item .. not like they will want to restore it some day and take it out for a flight! Geeze!

  3. Big AL September 20, 2012 at 1:03 am #

    Oh yeah … and $10 million? And this state is broke .. oh but wait, I think that is a private entity, they have money to burn .. something wrong here! In better times .. this wouldn’t even be thought of as absurd.

  4. Alex September 20, 2012 at 7:25 am #

    To me this is okay. The trees were grown on Owens Valley water in a town that was a desert. I would rather see rocks and sage planted to replace them. And 400 trees planted back in Owens valley.

  5. Bill September 20, 2012 at 9:20 am #

    Inyo/Mono Counties need to go on a major, national, PR campaign to show the Country (and especially L.A. voters and citizens) how destructive the LADWP is to the Owens Valley, past, present & future.

    Some of you may not like Michael Moore’s work, but he might be the perfect person for a modern day documentary?

    DWP’s latest campaigns exemplify sociopathic behavior. While hiding behind a cloak and army of lawyers, their insatiable quest for money, water and power typifies the greed and evil that is so prevalent in our modern day society.

    It’s time the Inyo Supes take a hard stand. Do you truly care about your community and it’s legacy? If our Supes fail to have a backbone and fail us to stand up and fight – PLEASE vote the bastards out! And then follow the money. I bet the weak ones are on the take.

  6. Andrew Kirk September 20, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    Great post, Benett. Thanks! And I agree: Tuxedo is the very model of handsome and charming.

  7. Trouble September 20, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    Are they really going to put the Space Shuttle in Inglewood? I wouldn’t park my car in that city.

    • JeanGenie September 21, 2012 at 10:48 am #

      A lot of work that went into the shuttle and other aircraft was done in Inglewood. I agree about the trees, what were they thinking?

  8. Dingo September 21, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    Honor the living? Beauty is not for sale? All that is honored is the almighty dollar it seems
    and everything is for sale if the price is right, or high enough.
    Money and power, it brings out the evil in people, in Obama as much as Romney.

    • Big AL September 21, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

      So right Dingo.

  9. ferdinand lopez September 21, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    maybe theyll turn the shuttle into lowincome housing,then the shuttle will get a nice new paint job,and shiney new bars on the windows,oh yeh dont forget the bullit hole ventilation

  10. Wayne Deja September 21, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    With the “47%” statement,it only proves….once again…..what a fool Mitt Romney really is…….and why he won’t beat President Obama in November….

    • Jeremiah's Alter Ego September 24, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

      Romney’s 47% comment didn’t change the way I feel about him cause I am aware this is how rich people talk among themselves. I can’t stand how the politicians think we are all dummies to think we will buy there trickle down ideas like taxing the rich will hurt job growth, That is a bunch of bull if you believe that you need some help or shouldn’t vote this year! Job growth or Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth depends on Consumer Demand, the middle class is what drives consumer demand to soar. so if the republicans really wanted to help the economy they wouldn’t be behind closing the child tax credit and home mortgage deduction to pay for their tax break! Please don’t buy it. The tax rates have never been lower on the mega rich and corporations. That is why more of the nations wealth have left both the lower class and middle class and worked its way up to the upper class BECAUSE THE SYSTEM IS RIGGED IN THEIR FAVOR. We need to vote in every way to get money out of politics. If we don’t we may never get our democracy back from this corporate and big industry takeover of our political system. MONEY IS NOT FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND CORPORATIONS ARE NOT PEOPLE. When the supreme court ruled Money= freedom of speech in 1976 and corporations=people in 1978 that gave them first amendment rights, and ever since then the tax rate for corporations have been going down drastically since they were given the ability to buy our congressmen and women and buy our elections. since the early 80’s worker productivity has gone up but worker compensation has been stagnant since the corporations get the compensation through low tax rates or no taxes and the workers get the short end of the stick, that explains record profits today! That is the problem in today’s economy and that is the problem in our political system, THE PEOPLES VOICE AND BEST INTEREST HAS BEEN OVERLOOKED BY BIG PROFITS AND THE CORPORATE AND BIG INDUSTRY’S BEST INTEREST! WE MUST TAKE OUR DEMOCRACY BACK! Romney is a step in the wrong direction!

  11. Tourbillon September 21, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

    It is spelled “populace” my dear. Reporter-editors really should avail themselves of spell checkers if they seek to persuade by the credibility of their prose.

    • Benett Kessler September 22, 2012 at 8:38 am #

      Sweetie Pie Tourbillon, In the late night haze of the Bureaucrat Beat Newsroom, sometimes one forgets. The computer never knew since populous is a word.
      Benett Kessler

  12. Paco September 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    Ahh the trees are a fitting metaphor for the shuttle program itself. $1B for every launch. The Hubble was put in low Earth orbit so that the shuttle would have a reason to exist (maintenance, blah blah blah—even though the cost of one shuttle launch could buy two new Hubbles). Unfortunately low Earth orbit cripples the Hubble’s capabilities and should have been placed much farther out for a better view of the cosmos—to do, ya know, more s-c-i-e-n-c-e.

    For all the expense of the program, it produced virtually zero science—go ahead and search the scientific journals for any mention of the shuttle program (good luck).

    Oh and it managed to kill 14 of our best and brightest. For what, exactly? National pride?


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