Pardon the lengthy cut-and-paste, but this is very good stuff and you’ll like it:
BELL, Calif. – The investigators from the District Attorney’s office showed up at the mayor’s house early Tuesday morning, arrest warrant and battering ram in hand, banging on the door. When the mayor, Oscar Hernandez, ignored their shouts – “Come out!” and “Put your hands up!” – they rammed down the door and arrested Mr. Hernandez on charges of looting the treasury of his own city to enrich himself.
And it was not only Mr. Hernandez. To cheers and visible elation in this working-class town of small stucco homes south of Los Angeles, the authorities arrested eight former and current city officials of Bell – including the former city manager, who had been drawing an annual salary of nearly $800,000 – just after 8 a.m. on Tuesday. They accused them of, in effect, turning this city into their personal piggy-bank: Misappropriating $5.5 million in city funds to enrich themselves with pumped up salaries, illicit loans, and big payments to attend committee meetings that lasted just a few minutes, if at all.
The arrests brought to a climax a distasteful tale that has gripped Los Angeles throughout the summer: The story of public officials apparently looting a working class city – overwhelmingly Hispanic, with many living below the poverty line – in a state that is so broke and where so many people face a cut off of social services. It began in July when the Los Angeles Times, in the first of what has been an almost daily run of stories detailing malfeasance in Bell, reported that Robert Rizzo, who resigned as city manager in July, was paid so much, almost double the salary of the President of the United States, while Randy Adams, who resigned last month as police chief, was paid $457,000 a year.
“This is corruption on steroids,” said Steve Cooley, the district attorney of Los Angeles. — NYTimes
“Cheers and visible elation.” This is the way you handle corrupt elected swine, citizens. You show up at their houses not with pitchforks and torches – although you might make the case for that this time – but warrants and handcuffs. You break down the door and haul their slimy asses off, still begging for their cellular phones to summon legal counsel, and feed them alive to starving jackals, who appreciate the taste of their own.
Why haven’t we seen this in Miami-Dade? Over the last few months we’ve read about the inflated salaries and benefits packages enjoyed by public officials – police, commissioners, mayor, managers — while the city itself monkeys with its books as it teeters on default. Isn’t it time to demand legal intervention? Can’t the case be made for fraud?
If not, can we please get a mob together and storm the gates?
And don’t stop here, comrades. It’s on to Washington, where the bile-soaked book of cynical indifference to the electorate is updated and shared like a holy bible. How is it possible that creatures of corruption like Charlie Wrangle and John Boner still have heads on which to park their hats? Why are we paying the bloated salaries of mid-level bureaucrats, let alone their eternal pensions, when what they do is by and large worthless at best, harmful at most, and designed simply to keep them keeping on?
This is where the teabaggers fail us utterly. They whine about high taxes (albeit exclusively for the wealthy) and the evils of the arrogant, out-of-touch elected class, but their feeble solution is to replace them with an army of bozoic clods whose campaigns are funded by the very deep-pocketed vermin they claim to abhor. The outrage ends at the staged be-ins (paid admission only). Like the liberals they sneer at, they leave the room when the fight starts.
Trends begin in California. I fervently hope that in Bell, we see the start of one. I’ll keep the powder dry, and the lighter fluid handy.