Bureaucrat Beat: Newsroom Trauma, Boring Brand and Hatchets

locusts.jpegJust when we had pretty much recovered from our trauma over the raging wildfire that threatened to eat up our newsroom, a bureaucrat came by to renew our fright. He said that we now have to worry about mud and flood waters that could rush down from the burned and naked mountains above town and gunk up the newsroom. He advised us to get sandbags ready or bales of hay to build protective walls against the vicious tides of erosion. Oh, swell.

We feel like this is the summer of plagues. It started with plague in campgrounds, well, actually it started with barely enough snow in the mountains to call white, then came plague, followed by killer fire and now the spectre of floods. Oh, wait a minute, there were real floods in Mammoth Lakes. I rest my case. Can locusts be far behind?

Thanks to one of our listeners/ readers for sharing a story headlined, “Westerners say federal rules make wildfires worse”. Looks like we’re not the only ones upset over how much we can’t do to protect our property. Officials and citizens all over the West have blamed federal bureaucracy for crippling early efforts to fight fire. Idaho Lt. Governor Jim Risch, a rancher and a lawyer, said, “There is and has been and probably always will be friction between a sovereign state and the federal government, in a state like Idaho where the federal government owns two-thirds of the land. It’s always there, it’s always under the surface, and its something that’s a fact of the geography.” That’s our problem. Somebody else is in control of our destiny, and we don’t like it. The article on this issue talked of the loss of acres for lack of a decision to go forward. Okay. This is a problem. What do we do? We’re huddling in the newsroom over this one.

On a much lighter note. Several people called or emailed this week to express…well, a kind of disgust over the current proposal for a new brand for Mammoth Lakes. It’s “Come as you are. Do what you love.” With no narrative or visuals, it’s hard to get excited. One person emailed to say that Louisiana already has the phrase “Come as you are, leave different.” The Mammoth local said, “I think my main problem with the new catch phrase for Mammoth is that it isn’t catchy! Eight words are too long. I’ll sum up the new brand,” she said, “Mammoth Lakes – Imagination Stifled.” Community Relations Manager Stuart Brown says there is more to come – a narrative, graphics, a town program, etc. Plus, he said no final decision has been made on the come as you are thing.

One person suggested that I adopt a new brand and issue bumper stickers: BK – No BS in the ES. I kind of like that! Definitely catchy.

Last time we talked about the Stella Awards. The lady who sued McDonalds for spilling hot coffee on herself and won. This year the Stella winner set cruise control on her RV and left the wheel, and, yes, wrecked, sued and won. Wow. Some faithful listeners shared info that this is not the only case. Seems lots of folks bizarrely enough have set cruise control and gone elsewhere in th3e vehicle. Cruise (Un) Control is listed under Urban Legends. We’re beggin’ you, folks, don’t leave the wheel of your vehicle – RV or whatever – while driving!

Okay, so we’ve covered commons sense. Now, we’ll move along to sinister. A new scam confirmed by the FBI. Here’s the drill. Someone calls you. They claim to be a jury coordinator notifying you that you failed to show up for jury duty. When you protest, they want your social security number and date of birth to verify information and cancel an arrest warrant. If you give them the info, they gotcha! Stolen identity. We consider ourselves pre-warned.

Back to bears. At Wednesday’s Mammoth Town Council meeting, Martin Kleinbard read a letter to the Council. He pointed out that while Steve Searles worked as wildlife manager he had no bear problems. He suggested it was time for the Town and Searles to bury the hatchet and go to work on bear management. This, of course, on the heels of the DFG bear killing in the Lakes Basin.bears.jpg

On that note. A letter. We have the name of the writer on file and it has been withheld on request. Here’s the letter:

Attention Mammoth Lakes:
Your community is not a wildlife reserve.

Bears are wild animals that will come into populated areas if allowed. The discouragement of this is most important. Animals need not be trained to behave and co-habitate with humans. The humans need to be trained.

Bears are wild, and a fed bear is a dead bear.

I’ve noticed the other Sierra communiti4e3s don’t have as much troubled with bears, and they don’t even have a zookeeper on their payroll.

And, with that, this is Benett Kessler signing off for Bureaucrat Beat. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on our lives in the Eastern Sierra and beyond.


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