The Bell Revolt

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Bell, California is the latest flashpoint in a growing taxpayer revolt.  A blue collar, mostly Hispanic town of 38,000, 10 miles southeast of Los Angeles, local residents were in a state of shock, which rapidly turned to blazing anger, after they learned that the Chief Administrative Officer of Bell, Robert Rizzo, “earned” a salary of $787, 637 per annum with annual 12 percent raises, the police chief Randy Adams “earned” $457,000 a year, while the Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia had to make do with a paltry $376, 288 each year.  The part time members of the city council each “earned” almost 100k a year.

Responding to angry citizens, the city council of Bell voted on Monday to slash their salaries by 90%.  The Los Angeles County District Attorney has begun an investigation into the salaries, and Attorney General Jerry Brown, coincidentally running for Governor, has issued subpoenas.  Go here to read all the details in the Los Angeles Times.   Rizzo, Adams and Spaccia resigned last week.

I suspect this is merely the tip of a very large iceberg.  Government has become by far the largest “industry” in this country, and these type of transparently fraudulent arrangements are part and parcel of the way Big Government does business:  richly reward friends and insiders, after all, it’s only the money of the tax payers.

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  1. The $800 billion stimulus is working! The unemployment rate among guvmint workers is 0%.

    They must raise taxes on the EVIL rich: these guys need better raises.

    Big government! Big salaries!

  2. “richly reward friends and insiders”

    And union members, of course. However, those government employees who are neither friends, insiders, or union members (and there are some, although they are a shrinking group) are the ones who inevitably end up being punished for the sins of all the others, via furlough days, layoffs, pay cuts, reductions in benefits, etc. Their unemployment rate, while lower than average, is not “zero.”

    I’m not arguing against necessary austerity measures, just saying they need to be fairly applied — there should not be one class of federal/state/local employee that is subject to all the cuts while another class is exempt.

  3. these type of transparently fraudulent arrangements are part and parcel of the way Big Government does business

    Except that the City of Bell is not what is usually meant by Big Government. In theory, as Catholics we should look more favorably on forms of local government — subsidiarity and all that. In practice, city politics is probably more corrupt than anything at the federal level.

  4. Update: Rizzo, Adams, Spaccia and 5 other city officials have been arrested on charges of misappropriating public funds and other corruption charges. Bond for Rizzo was set at $2 million, I believe. Apparently some really, really massive corruption was going on there.

  5. I’ve been following the latest developments also Elaine. It should be interesting to see if these criminal prosecutions ultimately uncover evidence that leads to prosecutions at other levels of government. I would suspect the former officials indicted probably have pretty tales to tell about other people in government.

  6. there should not be one class of federal/state/local employee that is subject to all the cuts while another class is exempt.

    I would like to be lumped with those very resistant to layoffs of soldiers, uniformed police, prison guards, and firefighters.

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