Dicky's Doodles &Scribbles

Cartoons,editorials and comment about current events and more.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Scandal In Bell, California

Robert Rizzo
Click on pic for larger image

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.


At 12:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Ripoff Report / "Kickbacks"

Predatory Lending is a major contributor to the economic turmoil we are currently experiencing.

Here is an example of what I am talking about:
Scott Veerkamp / Predatory Lending (Franklin Township School Board Member.)

Please review this information from U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley regarding deceptive lending practices:
"Steering payments were made to brokers who enticed unsuspecting homeowners into deceptive and expensive mortgages. These secret bonus payments, often called Yield Spread Premiums, turned home mortgages into a SCAM."

The Center for Responsible Lending says YSP "steals equity from struggling families."
1. Scott collected nearly $10,000 on two separate mortgages using YSP and junk fees. 2. This is an average of $5,000 per loan. 3. The median value of the properties was $135,000. 4. Clearly, this type of lending represents a major ripoff for consumers.



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