Bell, California Citizens Protest Against Corrupt City Officials Including City Manager Who Makes $787,000 a Year

Bell City, one of the poorest cities in Los Angeles County, pays its city manager $787,000 a year.
Los Angeles Times reporter Jeff Gottleib released a list of Bell city officials and their salaries last week in a report. The citizens of Bell were outraged by this revelation and held a protest this weekend.

My Way reported:

Several hundred angry residents from a modest blue-collar Los Angeles suburb marched Sunday to call for the resignation of the mayor and some City Council members in a protest sparked by the sky-high salaries of three recently departed administrators.

The residents of the city of Bell marched to Oscar’s Korner Market and Carniceria, owned by Mayor Oscar Hernandez, then to his home, demanding that he reduce his own six-figure compensation or quit.

They then did the same with some members of the City Council, with many marchers wearing T-shirts that read “My city is more corrupt than your city.”

“I don’t think they are taking it seriously. And we’re serious,” event organizer and longtime Bell resident Nestor Valencia, 45, told the Los Angeles Times. “They need to resign.”

The protest was organized by Bell Association to Stop the Abuse, a group founded after the Times reported that Bell’s city manager, police chief and assistant city manager were all being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, with city manager Robert Rizzo collecting a check of $787,637. All three resigned on Friday.

One in six residents of the city of 40,000 southeast of Los Angeles lives in poverty.

“This is a test for our community,” Valencia said. “There’s been a fiasco here.”

The newspaper also revealed that the mayor and three of the council’s four other members make about $100,000 a year, most of it in salaries for sitting on boards and commissions. Only Councilman Lorenzo Velez makes a modest salary of about $8,000 a year.

The Mayor of Bell defended the high salaries after the report was released.

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