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The Rat Pack in Bell

The L.A. Times got it right

By Alberto Marrero Salas
Published on LatinoLA: July 23, 2010


The Rat Pack in Bell


Great reporting by Jeff Gottlieb and Ruben Vives is causing the downfall of the crooks and thieves that currently run the City of Bell.

I know Bell. I bought a home there on Beck Avenue. Two rooms huge lot and paid a whooping $23,500.00 for it. I bought it in 1975 and rented it until I sold it in 2003 as the one couple that rented it for 18 years were going back home to Mexico and retire.

Bell is a small city bordering Maywood and Huntington Park, where two of my kids were born. Most of the population there is Hispanic. The average income in the City of Bell is $27,000.

This tiny city was paying its City Manager Robert Rizzo $787,000.00 a year, twice what President Obama is paid. Rizzo said he could make as much in the private sector. If this is true, leave, go to the private sector, and don't let the door hit you on your butt as you walk out.

Rizzo's contract had automatic pay increases of 12%. Now the real question is what is owed to this pack of crooks in pension payments?

The police Chief Randy Adams was paid 50% more than the Chief of Police of Los Angeles. Chief Adams manages less than 50 employees. Chief Charlie Beck manages 13,000 employees.

The assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia makes $376,000 per year probably the highest paid Asst. City Manager in the country.

The City Council a part time council is under investigation for paying themselves $100,000 per year, when the usual pay is $400 per meeting.

As in Rizzo's case, what does the City of Bell -- the poor people of Bell -- owe these shameful public employees in pension and health services?

The LA Times further went on to report that should they force Rizzo and the Rat Pack out, the City of Bell would owe Rizzo, who is 55, $600,000 per year pension for the rest if his life. According to the report he would end up collecting more than $26.000.000 (Million) dollars if he lives a normal life span.

Randy Adams, the brave Police Chief who goes out of his way to have his officers stop Latinos to see if they are licensed, will get $455.000 a year as his pension.

And not to be left behind assistant city Angela Spaccia will get $255,000 per year.

This is over $1,255,000 dollars a MONTH for the rest of their lives from the pocket of families whose average income is $27,000 per year. There ought to be a law against this. Legal thievery at its best.

As bad as Bell is Bell is not the problem. Bell is a symptom.

States, counties and city's are going broke. The problem? Public Service. When I was a young man Public Service meant that Public Service.

You were paid a little less but you had job security. The private sector at that time paid higher wages but the risk of losing your job was there.

Now Federal, State, County and City employees are paid much more than people in the private sector.

The benefits are incredible. The pensions are obscene. Prison guards in California make over $100,000 a year. Prison guards who work for CCA, a private prison concern, make about $40,000. The difference? The Prison Guard Union donated millions of dollars to ex-Governor Davis campaign.

Davis closed down non-union prisons that were rated as good or better that the State Prison System and turned them over to the union.

Police, sheriff, highway patrol and firemen (including the guys that give you a ticket for parking) can retire at age 50. With 90% of their highest earning.

If the person lives to 80 you pay him 90% of $100,000 for 30 years.

If he dies, his wife continues to collect and be covered by his health insurance.

My dad is 78. He wakes up every morning and goes to work. He should have been a Public Employee.

In Kahlifonia as our Governator calls it, we are 26 Billion dollars in the hole.

We have 13% unemployment. Guess what sector grew in employment. Yes you are right. Public employees.

As Kahlifonia lost millions of jobs Public Employment went up 3%.

The stock market goes down. Your 401K got clobbered. Sorry, Charlie you lose. If you are a state employee through CALPERS, you are guaranteed a positive return. Who guarantees this? Us, the smucks that work in the private sector.

The Governator called for non-paid furloughs.guess what the state employees didthey work overtime and got more money than they were making before.

In the Times about three months ago, they reported the case of a nurse who was making $92,000 per year. She was asked to take furloughs that would have reduced her pay to $88.000. The solution? Work overtime. Her pay went up to $111,000.

The present situation is untenable. Multiply the Bell situation in all of Kahlifonia by thousands of times.

The City of Vallejo filed for bankruptcy protection when 75% of the City's General Fund was going to pay the salaries of City employees. This invalidated all contracts with the unions and all other city employees.

The 4 of the unions are now negotiating with the City.

Antioch could be next. Even mighty Los Angeles could be affected. In the next 4 years the City who has a $400,000,000 deficit today is on the hook for pension and health benefits to the tune of $2.5 BILLION by 2014.

In a Wall Street Journal article on the 5th of May of this year Mayor Riordan said as much.

How are we going to cover that? Raise taxes? How? We already pay close to 10% in sales tax. They doubled our car registration. We have the highest State Income Tax in the Country. There is going to be a bag tax at the markets. Thank God for Prop.13.

Yeah, tax big oil!!! No, the oil companies will pass the increase to us. You are not taxing the oil companies, you are taxing us. Soon the City Council will pass a fart tax...boy, I am in trouble.

The way out for Bell is to file for Chapter 9. This would make the Rat Pack's contracts null and void, including the pensions. A small city, a poor city, like Bell should not have these parasites living high on the hog at their expense.

About Alberto Marrero Salas:
Worked on Wall Street for Merrill and PruBache in the 70's and 80's when greed was good, men were men and the sheep were nervous.
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