Didja hear the one about Bell, California where city officials have been paying themselves hundreds of thousands of dollars for the past five years?
The embattled Bell City Council will meet Monday night to consider cutting council member pay, which is now considered significantly higher than that of other cities of the same size.
The move comes three days after the council announced the resignations of three top city administrators, including the city manager who was making nearly $800,000 a year. [That's about double what President Obama makes per year.]
Bell council members make nearly $100,000 a year — a sum that is now the subject of an inquiry by the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.
The Times revealed last week that the city's top officials have lucrative contracts that pay them some of the highest municipal wages in the country. City Manager Robert Rizzo is paid $787,637 a year; Police Chief Randy Adams makes $457,000 and Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia makes $376,288.
Bell is a 2.5-square mile town with around 36,000 blue-collar residents. Unemployment is high and the median income is $35,000 a year.
So how did those fuckers get away with paying themselves so much? Bell doesn't have a newspaper to protect its citizens' interests.
It wasn't until the LA Times started an investigation, based on a tip about bloated city budgets, that the crooks running the city were exposed.
You will note that bloggers, our supposed New Media Saviors, didn't save the people of Bell from their parasitic politicians.
Newspaper reporters did.
Bell used to have a newspaper called the Industrial Post, founded in 1924. Now it has a blog: "Welcome to Bell's Online Community. Yesterday's local newspaper is evolving into today's immediate and interactive Bell Blog."
A blog that missed the town's biggest story (a story that could've been sniffed out by taking one cursory look at the city budget) for five years running.