Dicky's Doodles &Scribbles

Cartoons,editorials and comment about current events and more.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Scandal In Bell, California

Robert Rizzo
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A scandal has just been exposed in the small city of Bell, California. This month (July, 2010) the Los Angeles Times began a series of articles which have revealed that Bell city officials are being paid what likely are the highest salaries of any city in the United States!
These salaries are being paid in this town of 36,000 plus where many residents have incomes well below the poverty level and with a per capita income of $9,905. The police force had passed more than three years without any pay increase.
The Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo has a salary of $787,637 a year, with yearly 12% increases scheduled every July. Rizzo has a private beach house in Huntington Beach and a Washington state resort area hideaway.
Rizzo was arrested on a DUI charge in Huntington Beach last March.
Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia collects $376,288 a year, with a similar 12% annual pay increase. Police Chief Randy Adams collects $457,000 a year, 50% higher than that of his Los Angeles counterpart. The part-time city council members collect almost $100,000 a year each.
The median income for a household in Bell is $29,946, and the median income for a family is $30,504. Males had a median income of $22,596 versus $17,025 for females. The per capita income for the city is $9,905. About 21.2% of families and 24.1% of the population are below the poverty line, including
29.7% of those under age 18 and 16.7% of those age 65 or over.(All of this info is from wire reports.)
On November 29, 2005, in a special municipal election, city of Bell residents voted to become a charter city. Less than 400 voters turned out for that special election. Earlier that year a state law was passed which regulates how much city council members are paid. The special election in Bell included a measure exempting the elected officials from the pay regulation.
California Attorney General Jerry Brown and L.A. prosecutors are investigating whether the current council salaries violate state law.
Needless to say the revelation of this criminal looting of the resources of this small town has sparked outrage. Resignations and possibly criminal investigations are hopefully on the horizon here.
There are many lessons here for other cities. The lesson most needed is for involvement and oversight of local government by its citizens. If you don't pay attention to what your elected officials do your town is vulnerable to such rip offs.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Jon Kyl Says Unemployed Would Rather Collect Benefits Than Work

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It is disquieting to see how easily some of our millionaire Senators and Congressmen dismiss the plight of those whose unemployment benefits are about to expire.
On the Senate floor this past Monday Senate whip, Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona, argued that unemployment benefits dissuade people from job-hunting "because people are being paid even though they're not working."
Kyl also claimed unemployment insurance "doesn't create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work,"
Kyl is a lawyer who has spent most of his career as a politician serving in the Arizona State legislature, the U.S. House of Representatives and, since 1994, a member of the U.S. Senate.
It is a safe bet that Jon Kyl never collected unemployment insurance, never had to look for a job, never wondered how he was going to pay his bills, feed his family, fix his car, get to work, get healthcare for his family or a hundred other things that working class and low income Americans deal with every day.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Perry, Texas GOP Get Greens On Ballot In Ticket Splitting Move

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Rick Perry and the Texas GOP are engaging in some political sleight of hand to deceive Texas voters in the upcoming Gubernatorial election this November.
They are cynically making moves to split the ticket by helping funnel money to the Green Party and assisting them to get a spot on the ballot. They feel the Green Party will siphon off unsuspecting assorted left wing types and tree huggers and so on who might otherwise have voted for Bill White. Thus those voters will help the party most antithetical to their values.

At the moment their efforts appear to be succeeding but it aint over yet. State Dems vow further legal challenges but it will be difficult going forward. The state Supreme Court is full of Republicans, many Perry appointees.
Texas politics...sigh.

Below are press releases from the state Democratic Party.


Judge Rules that Green Party Can be Kept Off Ballot;
Source of Secret Corporate Money Tied to Former Perry Chief of Staff
(Corpus Christi, TX) – Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie called on Rick Perry to come clean with Texas voters about what role Perry’s campaign played in funneling over $500,000 in secret corporate funds to fund a Green Party petition drive to help Perry’s floundering campaign.
During testimony today, a witness testified that he was paid approximately $12,000 by Rick Perry’s close friend and former Chief of Staff, lobbyist Mike Toomey, to create a plan to gather signatures to get the Green Party of Texas on the ballot. Today, Travis County District Judge John Dietz blocked the Green Party from a spot on the November ballot for accepting illegal corporate contributions to collect the signatures.
“It is time for Rick Perry to come clean with Texas voters,” Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie said. “Some of Rick Perry’s closest and most trusted political advisors played a role the effort to funnel corporate money into the illegal Green Party petition drive and Texas voters deserve to know the truth about the extent of their involvement in this illegal ballot scam.”
The involvement of Perry’s associates in this illegal scheme was revealed in sworn testimony in a Travis County District Court today.
“The involvement of Perry’s associates in this illegal scheme to tamper with Texas elections is another sign that career politician Rick Perry will do anything to save his floundering campaign and extend his corrupt political career,” Richie concluded.

· Today, Travis County District Judge John Dietz blocked the Green Party from a spot on the November ballot due to the use of illegal corporate contributions used to collect the signatures necessary.
   During testimony, it was discovered that Mike Toomey, a close friend to Rick Perry and his former Chief of Staff, paid Garrett Mize, a University of Texas student, approximately $12,000 to convince Green Party of Texas leaders to participate in the ballot petition scam.
· Perry’s family friend, Stewart Moss, a former employee of longtime Perry speechwriter Eric Bearse, first approached Mize about collecting signatures to get the Green Party on the ballot.
  Mike Toomey and Rick Perry have been described as “close friends” (Source: Texas Monthly, February 2005).
· Mike Toomey was previously implicated in the TRMPAC scandal in 2002, when secret corporate donations were used to illegally elect Republicans in Texas. According to reports from the Austin American-Statesman, the “indictments…noted that TAB board members Mike Toomey and Eric Glenn, both lobbyists, played prominent roles in soliciting money. (Source: Austin American-Statesman, September 8, 2005).

July 02, 2010
Supreme Court allows Green Party to certify ballot UPDATED
The Texas Supreme Court today stayed a district judge's order blocking the Green Party of Texas from certifying its candidates for the general election ballot.
The effect of the order was to allow the Green Party to legally establish a list of candidates for the general election. But the court also set a series of deadlines for lawyers for the Texas Democratic Party and the Green Party to argue whether a ballot petition drive illegally used corporate money.
"We get to put our candidates on the ballot today. We don't know if we get to keep them there," said Green Party lawyer David Rogers.
Rogers said the order signaled that the court wants to take its time to decide whether corporate money can be legally used by a political party for ballot initiatives. He said the court signaled that there is a real legal issue "that needs to be considered carefully and thoughtfully and not in 15 minutes."
Democratic Party lawyer Chad Dunn said he does not believe the fight is over.
"The effect of the order is to give the Supreme Court time before they open up an enormous loophole for potential election fraud," Dunn said.
UPDATE: The Texas Secretary of State reports receiving a Green Party certification for the following statewide candidates:
Deb Shafto of Houston for governor
Herb Gonzales Jr. of San Antonio for lieutenant governor
Art Browning of Cypress for railroad commissioner
Edward Lindsay of Fort Worth for state comptroller