When you think "Things that I, as a taxpayer, want my tax money to pay for, in regards to my local water management district," you immediately think "propaganda masquerading as news." Because the important thing for a water district is good PR for the bureaucrats that run it. Water stuff? Later for that!

This extremely clever prelude is a way to tell you that the LA Times has discovered that the Central Basin Municipal Water District spent $200,000 in taxpayer money to pay a PR consultant/ hustler to write positive "news" stories about the Water District's work, then post these "news" stories on a "news" website that Google News mistakenly labels as "news." This way, when someone looks up the Water District's name on Google News—as millions of us do, in our secret moments—all these positive "news" stories appear. Those faceless bureaucrats must be doing a great job with that water! Raises all around!

Under the agreement, Central Basin pays $11,500 to the firm each month in exchange for four news stories and other promotional services. The deal was extended in April.

"All of us know that getting positive news coverage about the agency is a very difficult challenge," the firm's principal, Ed Coghlan, wrote in a letter to the district describing the service. "The solution? How about our own news outlet."

God damn genius stuff, Ed Coghlan. How about a fleet of parrots trained to speak positive slogans about the Central Basin Municipal Water District, which will fly out to all corners of the state and perch in public places, squawking their persuasive tidings to all? Then the parrots will drop gold ingot from their claws, and each ingot is in the shape of the logo of the Central Basin Municipal Water District. You can have this all for one million dollars per month. No price is too high for the public to pay so that public servants can deceive the public.

[LAT. Photo via]