Posts Tagged ‘City of Bell’
September 25th, 2010 at 2:49 pm
Bell, CA Officials Arrested in Corruption Sweep

The saga of the systemic corruption of public finances in the City of Bell, CA, is not over.  Earlier this week Los Angeles police officers arrested eight current and former Bell officials on charges of misappropriating upwards of $5.5 million in public funds.

It’s often said that if private business owners kept their books like the government does, there would be lots of CEOs in prison.  With the Bell scandal showing that fraud is criminal no matter who does it, the people who’ve grown rich at the public’s expense should start looking over their shoulders.

The cops – and the pitchforks – are coming.

August 18th, 2010 at 2:47 pm
City of Bell Corruption Impacting Other Cities

In a year or two, we may look back on the City of Bell public employee compensation scandal as the modern day equivalent of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle.  Both stories showed the general public how bad a particular industry behaved, and prompted serious, far-reaching reforms.

The chief villain in the Bell fiasco (so far) is its former city manager Robert Rizzo.  At the time of his resignation, Rizzo was making close to $800,000 a year, and due to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars a year from his public employee pension.  Now that he’s retired, the pension is kicking in – and so are taxpayers in cities that share Bell’s pension pool.

That means that Hesperia, CA, is on the hook for $80,000 of Rizzo’s estimated $600,000 a year pension (not to work!), even though it fired Rizzo after his four year stint ended in 1992.  Taxpayers in Rancho Cucamonga will be paying $160,000 of the bill, with Bell and other cities who never even hired Rizzo chipping in the rest.

And remember, the estimated $600,000 is owed to Rizzo – by law – every year for the rest of his life.  After being fired by at least two of the cities that hired him.  Insane.  Public employee pension reform may not be a “sexy” issue on the campaign stump, but it is certainly a topic that is sure to get people’s attention during this era of runaway government spending.

The Bell scandal may be the the last, best chance to reign in the power of the public employee unions before they ruin the American economy.

August 17th, 2010 at 11:54 am
Bell City Council Illegally Raised Taxes; Increases Tea Party Sentiment

The Tea Party movement is going viral.  As reported earlier, the City of Bell, CA is now Exhibit A in corrupt government.  Thousands of the majority Hispanic population in Bell protested outside city hall after it was revealed that the city council raised local property taxes 50% beyond the legal limit.

Here’s a spot-on analysis of how the Tea Party movement’s call for limited – and constitutional – government is starting to bubble up in a growing number of communities.

When people wonder why the Tea Party and other grassroots political movements start, this is a great example.  Government at any level that grows haughty, insular, and corrupt generates a reaction towards accountability and more modest models of governance.  I’m certain that the protesters in Bell don’t see themselves as part of the Tea Party movement, but the two have more similarities than differences.  They’re angry at the local model of big government arrogance and at having their pockets picked — especially considering the relatively low average household income in this Southern California community, at just under $30,000.

H/T: Hot Air Blog