Corruption

Fiesta de Té in Bell, CA

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Damned be he who first cries "Hold, enough!"

It may take more than a 90-percent pay cut to quell the crowd outside Bell, CA City Hall tonight. This little town made big news around the country recently when former Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo was revealed to be pulling down $787,637 a year. And the uproar from overtaxed, over-regulated citizens has produced a new species on earth: the Spanglish Tea Party.

Hundreds of angry residents of Bell and connected Los Angeles County towns descended tonight on a Bell City Council meeting, demanding the resignations of the city's mayor and all or most of the council. Rizzo, along with Police Chief Randy Adams and Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia, resigned last week. While Bell Mayor Oscar Hernandez and the council members agreed to a massive salary cut for themselves, the crowd wanted only their resignations.

In canvassing I did with my colleagues Zach Weismueller and Sam Corcos, that sentiment seemed nearly unanimous. Representing the other side, there was one large, professionally done pro-city-council banner. This was held and defended by about a half-dozen stonecold-looking homies with tats and skinheads. Everybody else was chanting "Fuera! Fuera!"

One point about Bell that may not come across in coverage is that it is part of L.A. County's Bermuda triangle, a bunch of towns few have heard of—Cudahy, anyone?—that share a largely Latino, working-class demographic; an orientation south of the 10 and east of the 110; and a propensity for sharing very depleted political DNA. The "city" of Vernon, ably described a few years back by L.A. County native Matt Welch, is California's Liechtenstein, a de facto grand duchy with a token population and multiple generations of single-family control. The troubles of tiny Bell look even better or worse when you realize that the town's more than brotherly next-door neighbor Maywood—which recently outsourced many of its services to Bell—boasts as its interim city manager the same Angela Spaccia who was recently sent packing in Bell.

We'll have more on the Bell fiasco soon. For now, one thing is worth noting: While it has the feel of a Tea Party, the Bell demostration is peopled almost entirely by the Democrats' constituency. The crowd contained public transit employees, "community organizers," even hippie riffraff wheeled in from tonier parts of the county to demand global justice. Cristina Garcia, the radiant co-founder of Bell Association to Stop the Abuse (BASTA) is an academic specializing in community-level activism. There were even a few SEIU purpleshirts out, seemingly fazed by the novel experience of protesting against the thugs. Is this another sea change in a political season full of them? I hope not on this side of the grave, but it was certainly bracing to hear all these people complaining about how they're getting ripped off on taxes, fees and permitting. Adelante!

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  1. Is this an Onion parody? It seems surreal, so unlike the usual crowd of statists ignoring the few libertarians.

  2. (BASTA) is an academic specializing in community-level activism. There were even a few SEIU ???

  3. It seems surreal, so unlike the usual crowd of statists ignoring the few libertarians.
    http://www.tk9988.com/ ???

  4. “There were even a few SEIU purpleshirts out, seemingly fazed by the novel experience of protesting against the thugs.”

    A stopped clock is right twice a day – if it is analog and of the 12 hour variety.

  5. Of course it wasn’t an actual tea party?. Those people aren’t white enough.

  6. Head for Bell $100,000. Head for everyone else, free!

  7. a largely Latino, working-class demographic

    Taco Bell.

  8. You missed the real story. If Bell is such a poor city, where did the money come from to pay these salaries? I find it difficult to believe that city income and property taxes were sufficient.

    1. This just goes to show that Democrats will just go blindly into the voting booth and pull the Dem ticket lever without giving a second thought to who they are electing. They have been convinced and brainwashed over the decades to just mindlessly pull the lever and not worry because everyone told them who to vote for. How anyone that gets a paycheck can vote for a liberal that only has plans to take your money and give it to someone else is beyond me.

      1. Remember me at the 1984 Democrat National Convention? They cheered when I promised to raise their taxes. Talk about useful idiots…

      2. They’ve mistakenly come to believe that they’re “someone else”.

      3. Good thing Republicans don’t do that!

    2. Hookers and Blow.

  9. I find it difficult to believe that city income and property taxes were sufficient.

    Look who hasn’t seen Superman III.

    Stealing millions from thousands is easy, especially if you’re the government.

  10. Cristina Garcia, the radiant co-founder

    Radiant?

    (She’s the third image, they don’t have a stable URL for anything but the first one in the set.)

    Are you thinking of this Cristina Garcia?

    1. By radiant he meant rat-like. Unlike that second link.

  11. I’m thinking about her now. Thank you.

  12. The horror!

    AP style is Calif., not “CA”

    1. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, a lot of folks don’t mind having the government tell them how to abbreviate states.

      1. I thought CA was the 51st state, Canada.

  13. You have to wonder how many more Bells there are out there.

    Who knows — what’s happening there could turn into a movement — a movement even bigger than the tea parties.

  14. “One point about Bell that may not come across in coverage is that it is part of L.A. County’s Bermuda triangle, a bunch of towns few have heard of — Cudahy, anyone? — that share a largely Latino, working-class demographic; an orientation south of the 10 and east of the 110; and a propensity for sharing very depleted political DNA. The “city” of Vernon, ably described a few years back by L.A. County native Matt Welch, is California’s Liechtenstein, a de facto grand duchy with a token population and multiple generations of single-family control.”

    Holy Smokes, this is obvious incorrect racism here. As ‘Reason’ has so forcefully stated time and again, Mexican/Latin immigrants only migrate to prospering economic areas and quickly integrate into the community. They certainly don’t form clusters of poor, alienated communities that take with them the dysfunctional, corrupt ‘Padron’ politics of Latin America.

    No big deal, I had the same issue myself. Near my hometown in Southern NJ I watched poor, working-class towns like Vineland and Bridgeton take on huge waves of Mexican immigrants. At the time I thought I saw a mass influx of poor laborers and their families from (largely) the Oaxaca region of Mexico. These towns, already sparse on economic opportunities, had a rough time incorporating a mass influx of folks who often did not integrate into the surrounding community.

    But thanks to ‘Reason’, I know now that I apparently hallucinated all that, as you must of with this Bell story. Remember: Latin immigrants, who represent people from many countries and all walks of life and are certainly *not* a specific subsection of people the Mexican government desperately wants to get rid of, only settle in economically prosperous areas and quickly integrate. Therefore, this dysfunctional, corrupt, isolated section of California cannot be real; my guess is that Andrew Breitbart has suckered you in with an elaborate deception featuring thousands of paid actors.

    1. Boy do I love tacos.

      1. People that think they all integrate just haven’t been to CA, or probably any other border state.

        1. I integrated. I just don’t like progressives.

    2. As ‘Reason’ has so forcefully stated time and again, Mexican/Latin immigrants only migrate to prospering economic areas and quickly integrate into the community.

      Even one citation please.

      You write: “…Mexican/Latin immigrants only migrate to prospering economic areas…”. That is, of course, not the same thing as moving into a luxury apartment in a tony neighborhood when you arrive. Of course, you’re going to live in a fairly low-rent neighborhood when you show up as a new, low-skilled immigrant. Where has anybody claimed otherwise?

      Second part of what you wrote: “…and quickly integrate into the community.” I’ve never seen anybody at reason claim anything but thorough assimilation within a generation or two. Again, please cite.

  15. Fiesta de T? in Bell, [Calif.]

    The Republican Party in Bonner County, Idaho, might take issue with your use of a language other than English.

  16. Mafalda indeed, probably her first appearance in Reason.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mafalda

    She was always quite a political child.

  17. Cudahy and Bell share the same zip code. I wonder if they share anything else. For years the water bill of the company I work for fluctuant from bill cycle to billing cycle. Go as low as $20.00 and can go over $100.00. No one can tell us why!!!! I wonder if this have anything to do with the city of Bell raping the taxpayers?

  18. One point about Bell that may not come across in coverage is that it is part of L.A. County’s Bermuda triangle, a bunch of towns few have heard of — Cudahy, anyone? — that share a largely Latino, working-class demographic;

    So, do the locals refer to it as Taco Bell?

  19. Re: Ripoff Report / “Kickbacks”

    Predatory Lending is a major contributor to the economic turmoil we are currently experiencing.

    Here is an example of what I am talking about:
    Scott Veerkamp / Predatory Lending (Franklin Township School Board Member.)

    Please review this information from U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley regarding deceptive lending practices:
    “Steering payments were made to brokers who enticed unsuspecting homeowners into deceptive and expensive mortgages. These secret bonus payments, often called Yield Spread Premiums, turned home mortgages into a SCAM.”

    The Center for Responsible Lending says YSP “steals equity from struggling families.”
    1. Scott collected nearly $10,000 on two separate mortgages using YSP and junk fees. 2. This is an average of $5,000 per loan. 3. The median value of the properties was $135,000. 4. Clearly, this type of lending represents a major ripoff for consumers.

    http://merkley.senate.gov/news…..925F046B6F

  20. is California’s Liechtenstein, a de facto grand duchy with a token population and multiple generations of single-family control.

    A Latino Tamany hall?

  21. even hippie riffraff wheeled in from tonier parts of the county to demand global justice.

    Ahh, the shortest pathway to losing credibility with your cause.

  22. I agree, you have a really good view on this topic. I think you might also interested in some coach handbags online.

  23. There’s a huge difference between objecting to the local city council members illegally and secretly giving themselves million dollar a year salaries, and the stuff the tea parties are protesting. Which is why you won’t find any of these same people at the tea party rallies, why most of them continue to vote Democratic, and why you’ll certainly never find any of them protesting the social services spending that the tea partiers object to.

    This protest isn’t about wanting lower taxes and less government spending, it’s about the people wanting this tax money to come to them, and not a cadre of crooked politicians.

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