Wednesday, July 28, 2010

736 Bell Wringers

736 Bell Wringers

In Los Angeles County, on the banks of the Los Angeles River, there lies the "city" of Bell, population about 40-thousand. If you're not a Californian, chances are you never heard of it. Until now.

State Attorney Jerry Brown, campaigning (again) for governor, and the Los Angeles Times newspaper came upon some curious spending in Bell.

Here is some of what they found:

This City Administrator gets paid $737,000 and change a year. The Assistant City Manager makes more than $300,000. The Chief of Police is paid more than $450,000. Four of the five City Council members were paid $100,000 a year. The fifth makes eight grand.

So the Administrator gets almost twice the pay of the President of the United States and the Police chief gets $150,000 more than the Police Chief of the city of Los Angeles.

The City of Bell wasn't always a city. It became one five years ago in a community vote in which 400 people turned out.

So now most of these crooked politicians have taught us all some lessons: (1) keep an eye on the people you elect. (2) Their city is more crooked than your city. (3) Vote on election day. And most of these crooked politicians either resigned or announced they wouldn't seek re-election when their terms expire. And they have voted to cut their pay by 90%. A little late, but the right move. People in Bell are struggling like the rest of us and they have to foot a bill like two million dollars for their "leaders."

An unrepentant Mayor, Oscar Hernandez defended his fellow travelers in the paper thus:

"Unlike the skewed view of the facts, the Los Angeles Times presented to advance the paper's own agenda, a look at the big picture of city compensation shows that salaries of the City Manager and other top city staff have been in line with similar positions over the period of their tenure..."

The "paper's own agenda?" Like what: shining a light on the dark facts? Getting some money back for the beleaguered citizenry?

Bell is a blue collar town. Pretty in a Mexicalifornia kind of way. It needs a police chief. Probably needs a city manager. Maybe doesn't need an assistant administrator. But this band of thieves has wrung the money out of city government. Which is why this post is called "Bell Wringers."


--What does this say about the state of American marriage? The greeting card says "to my wife on our anniversary." The envelope says "extra postage required."

--Why don't they make vegetable yogurt? A little celery or some carrots on the bottom would be a nice change from the gooey syrup that passes for fruit. And it might even taste good.

--"Kosher salt" is bad for your health. It lacks iodine, which you need. So now you can get high blood pressure and a bad thyroid all in one convenient package. (Isn't ALL salt kosher?)

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2010

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