by Ralph Nader
The Nader Page
Aug. 20, 2010
Bell, California, a working-class town of some 38,000 ten miles outside of Los Angeles, is a unique place. Its local government has proven to be citizen-proof, media proof, city-council proof and even leak-proof from inside its self-enriching top officialdom.
Get this: Bell city manager. Robert Rizzo resigned a month ago after a Los Angeles Times exposé revealed that he was being paid $800,000 a year, plus 28 weeks of vacation and sick time worth $386,000. He was also expecting to make $600,000 a year in guaranteed pension payouts. Mr. Rizzo also borrowed $160,000 from the city.
Mr. Rizzo had clever political protection. The Police Chief was getting $457,000 a year and members of the City Council of this small city were making, for very part time work, about $100,000 each per year.