Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The City of Bell: The Never-Ending Scandal

Just when you thought the tales of bad behavior coming out of the city of Bell had come to an end, the scandals just keep on coming. The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), the state's political watchdog, is now investigating incidents involving former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo, former Mayor Oscar Hernandez and former City Councilman Luis Artiga.
The FPPC is smartly focusing its efforts on significant violations of the Political Reform Act. With limited resources the FPPC is initiating investigations and putting resources towards the larger potential violations of the act that could truly threaten the integrity of the political and electoral processes.

Unfortunately, the scandal-plagued city of Bell is proving to be a fertile ground for necessary inquiries and actions by the FPPC. Specifically, the commission is investigating potential significant violations of conflict-of-interest and gift laws. One focus, among other things, are Rizzo-funded trips to his Washington state horse ranch. According to allegations, the former city manager apparently paid for plane tickets for Hernandez (plus his girlfriend and her three children) and Artiga to travel up to his horse ranch.

You may ask how Rizzo could afford to own a horse ranch and pick up the tab for visitors. Well, during his time as Bell's City Manager Rizzo made, at one point, $1.5 million per year. That will no doubt buy a number of plane tickets to a horse ranch. Rizzo may be the poster child for bad behavior, but he was not alone. During his tenure council members were paid $100,000 per year to perform, at best, part-time work.

Finishing reading this post on KCET.org.

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