With different aspects of the City of Bell scandal continuing to come to light, "Bell" is starting to become short-hand for government corruption. Still, Bell's mess does not displace San Bernardino County from its longtime position at the top of the local government corruption charts.
With different aspects of City of Bell scandal continuing to come to light, "Bell" is starting to become short-hand for government corruption. Still, this one scandal can't displace San Bernardino County from its longtime position at the top of the corruption charts.
The mess in Bell is easily summarized: At least two top-level city employees and four councilmembers abused their powers to get rich at taxpayers' expense. According to prosecutors and news investigations, the city officials may have received millions of dollars in excess salaries.
Meanwhile, the corruption allegations, indictments and convictions in San Bernardino County are so numerous they are nearly impossible to track.
When you are hog butcher for the world, you become Chicago. When you make bacon and sausages for Southern California, you face a rather different fate.
Assembly Speaker John Perez introduced last month AB 46, a bill that would take the singular action of forcing the disincorporation of a city that many consider noxious in more ways than one: the Los Angeles County city of Vernon.
For over 100 years Vernon has operated more as an industrial park than a traditional city, and city leaders have vowed to fight -- and even sue -- to maintain cityhood and its distinctive business environment.
San Bernardino County has experienced more than its share of corruption during the past two decades, including the conviction of two county administrative officers, a county supervisor's admission that he accepted bribes, and both successful and pending prosecution of elected officials in county and city government. But none of the past episodes compares with the scandal outlined in mid-February by Attorney General Jerry Brown and District Attorney Michael Ramos.
Former Siskiyou County Planning Director Wayne Virag has been fined $2,600 by the Fair Political Practices Commission for failing to disclose economic interests in real property and for failing to file a statement of economic interests upon leaving office.
At the heart of things, according to county prosecutors, are Councilman Jim Ayers and developers Stephen Holgate and Robert Osborne. Prosecutors say the developers funneled a combined $200,000 in campaign contributions through a variety of intermediaries into Ayers’ unsuccessful 2006 campaign for Assembly and his successful 2008 council re-election bid. >>read more
News from around the state: A Riverside County grand jury has indicted four San Jacinto councilmen and four people in the development business; San Marcos has adopted a specific plan for a new downtown; Yolo County has completed an ambitious general plan update; and Santa Clara County property owners are letting an open space district keep the proceeds of an illegal tax.
A former San Joaquin County political operative who was convicted of corruption in 2005 has had five of 17 guilty counts thrown out by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The appellate panel overturned counts of attempted extortion against Monte McFall but upheld conviction on 12 counts of extortion, mail fraud and witness tampering.