Labor

Congratulations to L.A. Times' Gottlieb and Vives for Bell Pulitzer

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A million dollars a year is apparently not enough to pay for a personal trainer.

Since the failed, destructive and incompetent editorship of John Carroll, the Los Angeles Times has been on a semi-permanent campaign to capture Pulitzer prizes. So it's satisfying to see that the paper's latest prize has not been given to one of those dutiful, overwritten, high-fiber, multi-part features about the dangers of U-Haul trailers or the changing nature of the world's oceans. 

Instead, the Times' deserved and expected win is coming for a wonderful piece of journalism covering the paper's own backyard and crafted by a couple of enterprising reporters. 

Congratulations to Jeff Gottlieb and Ruben Vives for breaking the city of Bell's government employee pay scandal and bringing that South L.A. County town's long-simmering citizens to a full Tea Party-type boil. 

In a year of increasing bipartisan awareness that the excessive pay and mind-boggling self-dealing of government employees was beginning to shut down the systems of government (and not in a good way), the Bell story was both a plain-sight hit and a consensus-shattering surprise. Despite the best efforts of public employee labor unions to pretend only Republican plutocrats want to scale back runaway pensions and lavish salaries, the Bell story showed a very different reality: Democratic-leaning Latinos in one of L.A. County's poorest towns taking over City Hall to protest an overclass of million-dollar-a-year public servants. Bell reformers had been trying for years, with a pretty fractured movement, to address this problem, but nothing changed until the L.A. Times got involved. It was a striking demonstration of the continuing power of daily papers and a great tax reformers' free-for-all

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  1. See, you mainstream media knobs, THAT’S how you “speak truth to power.”

    If your “truth to power” doesn’t have “you crooked fuck, you’re stealing from us” in it somewhere , you’re doing it wrong.

    1. What is this “truth to power” of which you speak? The government is here to right all wrongs and protect the interests of minorities and the underclass. We will continue to break stories about the evil people who wish to end such government protections.

  2. Not to piss all over this … well, okay, to totally piss all over this …

    The scandal might not have happened in the first place if the area media had been playing the watchdog role for these smaller governments and keeping track of government employee salaries all along.

    As somebody who runs a smaller SoCal community newspaper elsewhere, my response was, “We tell folks what our city manager and police chief get paid all the time. Where’s our Pulitzer?”

    Ignoring a community and then stomping in when corruption inevitably descends does not strike me as a good precedent for winning a Pulitzer.

    1. Exactly. It’s like Tookie Williams being nominated for the nobel peace prize. Guess what, not only did I stop killing people….I never started. So where’s my peace prize?

      1. And I’ll take up smoking and give THAT up!

      2. Exactly. It’s like Tookie Williams being nominated for the nobel peace prize. Guess what, not only did I stop killing people….

        What’re you saying?

        1. TOOKIE DOESN’T DESERVE TO DIE!

        2. If you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand.

          1. Exactly.

    2. “As somebody who runs a smaller SoCal community newspaper elsewhere, my response was, “We tell folks what our city manager and police chief get paid all the time. Where’s our Pulitzer?””

      Envy is an ugly, vile thing.

      1. I’m an editor. The ugly, vile thing is assumed.

  3. That guy has furniture disease. His chest is in his drawars.

  4. While I concur in Matt’s congratulations, plaudits, and general hip-hip-hoorays, the sickening part of this is that these kinds of scandals are happening all the time all around the country and few hi-powered journalist cabals are willing to report on it for fear of losing access.

    Does anyone know if other LA-area local governments have retaliated against Gottlieb and Vives by denying access and such? I’d be shocked if they weren’t.

    1. I see the problem as being that most cities just aren’t as eggregious as Bell. Bell was on the right side of the…bell curve.

      A million dollars a year is easy to spot in a town like Bell.

      What we need to do is keep hammering on the $160k salary for the communications director.

      These people are much smarter and thus more insidious. They’re greedy, but not too greedy, so they keep the hounds at bay. The communications director for a spectacularly failed mayor should be earning $55,000 a year with a 401k for his retirement. That is all.

      1. And it should be $35,000 a year and a bus pass for someone who can’t spell “egregious”.

        1. I dunno… I thought “eggregious” was a pretty good yolk.

      2. Generally speaking, it should be like the 70s. The chief of the New York Transit Authority should wear a cheap suit with a porkpie hat and ride the subway to work.

  5. Does anyone know if other LA-area local governments have retaliated against Gottlieb and Vives by denying access and such?

    Not sure, but it appears so. The Times is still reporting on Bell and Vernon these days, but they’re generally positive stories. I.e., how Bell is moving forward with its new mayor and city council, and how it’s a great thing that LA County is moving to involuntarily disincorporate Vernon so it can seize its tax revenue. The coverage is definitely not as critical as it was last year.

    1. The Times had a hard on for Vernon for years. Cuhuday longtime city manager was finally fired after running that city like a fiefdom after 20 years though.

  6. In a year of increasing bipartisan awareness that the excessive pay and mind-boggling self-dealing of government employees

    I heard this on the radio the other day driving in my Porche and all I could think was, “that’s so unfair…”

  7. the epitome of the modern government public servant and the poster child for the New World Order: he has done nothing wrong except to embarrass his fellows.

  8. The Indian press is full of headlines like “Indian-American wins Pulitzer prize for book on cancer”. What is so great about a history of cancer? Has he found a cure for cancer? I have. I am India’s expert in strategic defence, the father of India’s strategic program including the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program and the world’s greatest scientist and my blog titled ‘Nuclear Supremacy For India Over U.S.’ which can be found by a Yahoo/Google search with the title describes how C.I.A.-RAW keep India poor, weak and enslaved by suppressing the best and rewarding the mediocre: “India’s greatest scientist and greatest living Indian publicly tortured in Harvard seminar, systematically and totally starved for up to 3 weeks at a time, made semi-starved and homeless and even blind for years, kept under 24-hour audio and video surveillance as well as surveillance of communications and electrical typewriter and computer use, document creation and photocopying, etc., by satellite for more than past 3 decades, systematically harassed and in poverty and neutralised and robbed of his work at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars per year, robbed of crores in his money and property in India by C.I.A.-RAW, forced back into exile in the U.S., all with full cooperation and participation of India’s RAW and India’s C.I.A.-RAW-controlled prime ministers, politicians and media” and how this means the nuclear destruction of New Delhi and then the coast-to-coast destruction of the United States. Within the above blog look for ‘How India’s Economy Can Grow 30% Per Year Or More’ and ‘What You Should Know About RAW’.

    Satish Chandra

  9. Pulitzer? I hardly even knew her

  10. The Indian press is full of headlines like “Indian-American wins Pulitzer prize for book on cancer”. What is so great about a history of cancer? Has he found a cure for cancer? I have. The entire physiology of an organism can be conceived of as a network of interlinked biological clocks. The disease process in cancer involves changes in biological clocks. In my laboratory research with rats I discovered a way to drastically modify biological clocks at a very fundamental level which provides a way to alter the disease process in cancer, as well as do other things such as drastic changes in perception. The physical world or a particular physical object is a collection of properties (color, size, shape, etc.) which are products of perception formed during phylogenesis (evolution of the species) and ontogenesis (conditioning during the life of a particular organism). Miraculous acts of Indian Yogis in altering both their own physiology (such as living on little or no food) and properties of the physical world (such as overcoming gravity or walking through walls as Deepak Chopra, M.D. described seeing Maharishi Mahesh Yogi do in one of his books) are a matter of altering biological clocks, such as drastically slowing down breathing rate. I am India’s expert in strategic defence, the father of India’s strategic program including the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program and the world’s greatest scientist and my blog titled ‘Nuclear Supremacy For India Over U.S.’ which can be found by a Yahoo/Google search with the title describes how C.I.A.-RAW keep India poor, weak and enslaved by suppressing the best and rewarding the mediocre: “India’s greatest scientist and greatest living Indian publicly tortured in Harvard seminar, systematically and totally starved for up to 3 weeks at a time, made semi-starved and homeless and even blind for years, kept under 24-hour audio and video surveillance as well as surveillance of communications and electrical typewriter and computer use, document creation and photocopying, etc., by satellite for more than past 3 decades, systematically harassed and in poverty and neutralised and robbed of his work at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars per year, robbed of crores in his money and property in India by C.I.A.-RAW, forced back into exile in the U.S., all with full cooperation and participation of India’s RAW and India’s C.I.A.-RAW-controlled prime ministers, politicians and media” and how this means the nuclear destruction of New Delhi and then the coast-to-coast destruction of the United States. Within the above blog look for ‘How India’s Economy Can Grow 30% Per Year Or More’ and ‘What You Should Know About RAW’.

    Satish Chandra

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