Yeah, I'm an elected official, a public servant

You hear about the fabulously WEIRD City of Bell 5.5 million buck THEFT? Mayor Oscar Hernandez and City Manager Bobby Rizzo (above) had their hands in the pie to the elbows? An on-high scandal that has inspired some reformist legislative proposals to nip this trend in the bud but truthfully, prospects are real dim for those laws doing anything to prevent more MAYORS FROM HELL doing the CITY OF BELL RIP OFF.  See, it's super hard to prosecute a guy whose only crime (besides being coyote ugly) was over-salarying himself, over-pensioning himself and over taxing his constitutents to do it --- Reason? Salary-bestowing,  pension and taxing are all part of a mayor's job description. Sure,  California lawmakers introduced some bills to combat pay and pension abuse by city officials in the wake of the scandal but the fact of how hard it is to NAIL such PERPS means that elected scumbags everywhere can now go crazy with their own corruption. Sure, City managers convicted of felony misuse of taxpayer funds may lose public pension benefits (that's what was under discussion in a legislative proposal that was  introduced in response to the financial scandal in Bell. But send these moneyed thieves to JAIL? ---UNLIKELY. And mostly they did pay into those pensions so they're air tight. Bullet proof.

However, some 'get tough' Bell-inspired bills did come after lawmakers failed to pass similar measures in the final days of last year's legislative session. The current proposals may have better odds because lawmakers will have more time to vet them in committee and refine them over several months. Each of the measures seeks to change state law to prevent the kinds of pay and pension abuses seen in city of Bell.

Bills that have been introduced would make it harder for city council members to cash in by serving on multiple city commissions, (part of the trick in 'earning' those big salaries. And bills seek to toughen ethics-training (puerile, ridiculous as you can teach a criminal soul LAW but you can't make him give up GIVING THEFT a TRY.) There are laws that will require city administrators each year to publicly disclose their salaries, car allowances, bonuses and deferred compensation payments. Now that's better.  Other planned measures would seek to block pension spiking. But at last count, there are 10,000 other cities in America where such laws don't exist, so the whole BELL CITY affair is like a 'perfect drawing board of a crime,' that will have the effect of luring criminal types to run for office. The way John DILLINGER turned every city's ghetto scum into consummate bank robbers during the Great Depression.

One Assemblyman in California,  Gil Cedillo,  has come up with a bill to outlaw a practice in Bell in which the city allegedly made money by towing the cars of sober immigrants from DUI checkpoints if they did not have proper ID. But that gets in the way of LA's mayor's VILLARAIGOSA's most lucrative CAR THEFT GANG.  Fat chance that law has of succeeding, but hey, if GIL CEDILLO runs for anything, I'd vote for him.

Another idea, called 'close the barn door after the horse is gone was Tony Strickland's GOP bill stripping pension benefits from any elected felon, inspired by former Bell City Administrator Robert Rizzo, who has been charged with misusing public funds but could still receive retirement checks if convicted. And hey, his chances of being convicted are nil.

"The taxpayers shouldn't pay for a lifetime of benefits for someone who violated the public trust,'' said Strickland. The lawmaker said he was alarmed when The Times reported last year that Rizzo's annual salary of nearly $800,000 meant he could get a state pension of $600,000. Since then, the California Public Employees Retirement System has said that a lack of documentation for some pay raises means Rizzo will receive much less, but he still could get more than $80,000.

Strickland's bill would apply to non-elected city, county and school officials who are convicted of felonies involving their public duties. It applies only to crimes committed after Jan. 1, 2012 disqualifying them from receiving the portion of their pension contributed by taxpayers. Count on the G.O.P for a soft bill.

The state cannot legally deprive officials of the money they paid into the system themselves, so their contributions would be refunded to them without interest, Strickland said ---and you can imagine how much Rizzo paid into the system. So count on GRAFT and car towing, and HIGH HOUSE taxes and a Mayor with his hand in the PIE TO THE ELBOW...coming to a city near you soon!

BELL ARTICLE found in I won't make it a live link cuz sometimes TIMES erases an old article. But google Rizzo and city of Bell and you'll find dozens discussing how bullet proof this crime is ... which is why citizens have to urge local reporters to do oversight. ALL the time.