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Bell, CA City Officials Take Taxpayers for a BIG Ride

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  • Bell, CA City Officials Take Taxpayers for a BIG Ride



    In Bell, Calif., city leaders' pay sparks outcry

    California Attorney General Jerry Brown said he is seeking records to find out "how in the world" officials in Bell, a Los Angeles suburb, were paid more than the president.
    "This is an outrage," Brown said in an interview Tuesday. "I've never heard of anything like that in my entire life."

    The chief administrator of Bell, a city of about 37,000 residents, earned $787,637 a year. President Obama earns $400,000. Bell's former police chief earned $457,000 — $150,000 more than Los Angeles' police chief. Both resigned last week after their salaries were revealed.

    The state's chief fiscal officer, State Controller John Chiang, was in Bell on Tuesday to review records, which he said could take six weeks.

    Pressured by outraged residents, City Council members, including the mayor, voted Monday night to cut their pay 90%. The Los Angeles Times reported this month that four of five council members were paid $100,000 for their part-time positions.

    Mayor Oscar Hernandez said he would work the rest of his term, which expires in March, without pay. He also noted the city had achieved 15 years of balanced budgets.

    The city's charter requires payments "be commensurate with the duties rendered," Brown said.

    He questioned how the city was able to conclude that the city administrator's work was worth nearly $800,000.

    In California, "public officials are not allowed to waste money. That's illegal, and people who do can be forced to repay it," said Brown, a Democrat running for governor.
    Outrageous, right? It gets worse. Look how much this bastard city manager is eligible to recieve in state pension.

    Despite two corruption investigations of the city, taxpayers are still on the hook for Bell's obscenely overpaid officials. The likely reason why Rizzo, Adams and Spaccia resigned so readily is that they are eligible for public pensions. Under current formulations, Adams will make $411,000 annually in retirement, and Spaccia could make as much as $250,000 when she's eligible for retirement in four years at age 55.

    Rizzo, who was arrested in March for driving over his neighbor's mailbox with a blood alcohol level nearly four times the legal limit, is set to become the highest paid public official in California's retiree system. He will collect more than $650,000 annually. Six years from now, when Rizzo turns 62 and starts collecting Social Security, his annual benefit rises to $976,771. When he turns 64, it tops $1 million, and if he lives to 83, he'll be pulling in $1.48 million a year -- and again, all of this largesse is courtesy of state taxpayers. Washington Examiner.
    All of this in a working-class community with very modest incomes.

    Bell is a working-class city with a median per capita income of $13,652, less than half the national average, according to the Census Bureau. USA Today.

    The median annual income of Bell - which counted about 36,000 residents in the 2000 census - is less than $35,000. CNN.
    The California Attorney General is investigating this nonsense.

    State Attorney General Jerry Brown yesterday said he’s subpoenaed hundreds of employment, salary and contract records from the city of 38,000 about 10 miles (16 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times reported July 15 that Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo earned $787,637 and that Bell’s part-time council members made almost $100,000. Bloomberg.
    And what about the property taxes in this community, higher than Beverly Hills for Christ's sake!

    Taxpayers in Bell pay as much as 1.55 percent of their home’s assessed value in taxes, according to Wendy Watanabe, Los Angeles County’s auditor-controller. The average for the county is 1.16 percent. In Beverly Hills, where the per-capita income is nearly four times that of Bell, according to City-Data.com, residents pay 1.19 percent, she said.
    These miscreant city officials should be prosecuted, jailed, have thier pensions revoked and be forced to pay back those astronomical salaries. It's simply unbelievable what they got away with.
    |TG-X| mp40x



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  • #2
    Re: Bell, CA City Officials Take Taxpayers for a BIG Ride

    Whos sets the salary for city officials??

    I deserve a ribbon for Mortar Specialist

    Artillery conquers and infantry occupies.
    J.F.C. Fuller

    Proud to have been a member of the 5th, 71st and my beloved 19th

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    • #3
      Re: Bell, CA City Officials Take Taxpayers for a BIG Ride

      Originally posted by HiTestFest View Post
      Whos sets the salary for city officials??
      I'm guessing the city council - so that makes them complicit in the whole affair.
      |TG-X| mp40x



      Register for the Forums! | Get on Teamspeak! | Play Squad! | Join Discord! | Support Tactical Gamer!

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      • #4
        Re: Bell, CA City Officials Take Taxpayers for a BIG Ride

        Originally posted by HiTestFest View Post
        Whos sets the salary for city officials??
        They have ways of setting up thier own through bills, and policy change. If you write in an increase in pay to those that you need signitures from to pass the bill or whatever, they will be more than willing to sign it. Basically turning the entire City Council into a profiteering racket.

        [unit][squadl][command2]

        KnyghtMare ~You could always tell the person holding the gun to your head you would like to play on a different server...

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        • #5
          Re: Bell, CA City Officials Take Taxpayers for a BIG Ride

          "Mayor Oscar Hernandez said he would work the rest of his term, which expires in March, without pay. He also noted the city had achieved 15 years of balanced budgets."

          Wow. What a noble man. <sarcasm>

          I deserve a ribbon for Mortar Specialist

          Artillery conquers and infantry occupies.
          J.F.C. Fuller

          Proud to have been a member of the 5th, 71st and my beloved 19th

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Bell, CA City Officials Take Taxpayers for a BIG Ride

            Lol, not hard to balance a $500 annual budget. :p

            [unit][squadl][command2]

            KnyghtMare ~You could always tell the person holding the gun to your head you would like to play on a different server...

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Bell, CA City Officials Take Taxpayers for a BIG Ride

              How did they get their raises you ask?

              The highly paid members of the Bell City Council were able to exempt themselves from state salary limits by placing a city charter on the ballot in a little-noticed special election that attracted fewer than 400 voters.

              Since passage of the measure, salaries for council members — part-time employees — have jumped more than 50%, from $61,992 a year to at least $96,996. The Los Angeles County district attorney has opened an inquiry into whether the salaries are lawful.

              A state law enacted in 2005 limits the pay of council members in "general law" cities, a category that includes most cities in Southern California. That law was passed in reaction to the high salaries that leaders in South Gate had bestowed on themselves earlier in the decade.
              http://www.latimes.com/news/la-me-07...Restaurants%29

              While shady, it was legit and simply took advantage of people's lack of participation in local government.
              |TG-6th|Snooggums

              Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

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              • #8
                Re: Bell, CA City Officials Take Taxpayers for a BIG Ride

                Originally posted by snooggums View Post
                While shady, it was legit and simply took advantage of people's lack of participation in local government.
                Definitely shady. This LA Times article you posted is probably the best one I've read.

                But the year that law passed, the Bell City Council authorized a special election with only one item on the ballot — a measure calling for Bell to convert to a "charter" city. The move was billed as one that would give the city more local control. The ballot language included no mention of the effect the change would have on council members' salaries.

                All five council members signed the ballot statement in favor of Measure A. It also was backed by City Manager Robert Rizzo, according to a council member in office at the time.
                I think it's safe to say that they were all in on it.

                The charter measure passed, 336 to 54, with the votes in favor amounting to less than 1% of the city's population of roughly 40,000. The majority of the ballots, 239, were absentee votes. The special election cost Bell $40,000 to $60,000, city officials said.
                Why so many absentee votes, doesn't that sound a little strange?

                Love this statement from the former mayor.

                "The idea of a charter is it gives a city flexibility, it gives us independence," said then-Mayor and current Councilman George Mirabal. "It enabled us to create our own vision for the future. That was the way I look at it then and now."
                Oh, they had a vision for the future alright. It just wasn't the same vision that the local community had. :)
                |TG-X| mp40x



                Register for the Forums! | Get on Teamspeak! | Play Squad! | Join Discord! | Support Tactical Gamer!

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                • #9
                  Re: Bell, CA City Officials Take Taxpayers for a BIG Ride

                  Originally posted by mp40x View Post
                  Oh, they had a vision for the future alright. It just wasn't the same vision that the local community had. :)
                  And theirs was full of jetski's and BMW's ;)

                  [unit][squadl][command2]

                  KnyghtMare ~You could always tell the person holding the gun to your head you would like to play on a different server...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Bell, CA City Officials Take Taxpayers for a BIG Ride

                    Surely the public can find a way to cancel the three's pensions if the DA doesn't have any luck.
                    |TG-6th|Snooggums

                    Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Bell, CA City Officials Take Taxpayers for a BIG Ride

                      Can they not hide behind the fact that the people voted for it??

                      I deserve a ribbon for Mortar Specialist

                      Artillery conquers and infantry occupies.
                      J.F.C. Fuller

                      Proud to have been a member of the 5th, 71st and my beloved 19th

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Bell, CA City Officials Take Taxpayers for a BIG Ride

                        That's a pretty nice salary for what their responsibilities are. It appears they legally went about getting the raises to that point, too. The question is, are the services available to the city and its residents of a good quality (comparable or better than other cities), and if so, is also keeping the budget balanced, especially in a state like California where budget and balanced are rarely in the same sentence, justification for the salaries? (end of super long run on sentence)

                        What they did would weigh heavily on my conscience, but it does not appear illegal as far as I can tell. In sum, are they scumbags? Yes, I feel they are. Are they criminals? That is debatable, but so far I do not see that to be the case.
                        sigpic

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                        • #13
                          Re: Bell, CA City Officials Take Taxpayers for a BIG Ride

                          Originally posted by HiTestFest View Post
                          Can they not hide behind the fact that the people voted for it??
                          A 1% turnout to change the city's status in a way that then allowed them to abuse pay and they resigned due to public outrage? I sure hope there is recourse for the public after they find out about a situation like that.
                          |TG-6th|Snooggums

                          Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Bell, CA City Officials Take Taxpayers for a BIG Ride

                            Originally posted by HiTestFest View Post
                            Can they not hide behind the fact that the people voted for it??
                            Local elections in smaller towns tend to suffer extremely high-dose forms of "only old people vote", meaning the corrupt son of a bitch mayor stays mayor for 40 years because he's the recognizable name. They know this and it starts to look pretty damning to outsiders if they use that as a defense.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Bell, CA City Officials Take Taxpayers for a BIG Ride

                              My question is how did they pay themselves so much and still balance a budget in a city with a median income of 13K ?
                              Are there large industries in the city ?
                              You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to,
                              So that when they turn their backs on you,
                              You'll get the chance to put the knife in.Pink Floyd "Dogs"

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