With the government slowdown, government is stripped down to the bare minimum of “essential” services.
What is “essential” these days?
- “Essential”: telling grandma to stop looking at Old Faithful, or taking pictures of the first bison she ever saw . . . or she is going to jail:
- “Essential”: making sure the Grand Canyon stays closed even though locals are capable of funding, and willing to fund, the park:
With the partial suspension of U.S. government services showing no signs of ending, tourists will continue to be turned away from the Grand Canyon, despite a push by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and local businesses to reopen the state’s signature national park.
Brewer wants the iconic park reopened and has offered to pay for it with state money, but her proposal was rejected Thursday by a park official who said that as long as the federal government remains shut down, such a plan isn’t an option.
(By the way, if you’re the L.A. Times, make sure that you write a sob story about the Grand Canyon closure without mentioning Brewer’s offer, or the fact that the House has voted to fund the National Park Service. Because informed readers!)
- “Essential”: closing the Cliff House in San Francisco, which sits on federal land but operates without the help of federal workers:
As we reported last Thursday, the historic Cliff House Restaurant — a privately owned profitable business which sits on land controlled by the National Park Service — was suddenly ordered to close by the Obama administration on October 3.
Then on Monday, October 7, with little fanfare, Cliff House’s owners Dan and Mary Hountalas decided to defy the government’s closure order and instead re-open for business, to the delight of the hundreds of tourists and locals who dine there every day. When word leaked out that the Cliff House had re-opened, the local National Park Service office consulted with Washington DC and then issued a second (and apparently firmer) order to the owners to re-close the restaurant —who were then forced to unwillingly comply for a second time last night at midnight:
So: we have cut off funding for nonessential government services. (I know, I know: temporarily. It’s actually a paid vacation for those workers. Don’t bother me with the facts. I’m trying to make a rhetorical point here, OK? Now I have to start all over. Jeez.)
So: we have cut off funding for nonessential government services.
Can we cut off the “essential” ones next?
A PERSONAL NOTE: I have always been a fan of the National Park Service, mainly because I love the national parks and equated the two. They seemed to do a good job and my experiences were always positive. So, when we would enter a park, I would buy the Golden Eagle pass. Maybe I would use it again and maybe I wouldn’t. But I felt good about it, like my money was going to a good cause.
I’ll still go the parks. I love the parks. But I now hate the NPS — or at least the people in charge of it. I’m sure the line people are OK (except for the ones following orders and telling grandma not to “recreate”). And from now on, I’ll buy the pass only if I know it is going to save me money. And next time I am at a national park, I am going to tell the people there what a disgrace I think their bosses are.
I bet they’ll (perhaps silently) agree with me.