Get out the pitchforks

You’re probably familiar with the story of Bell, Callifornia. That’s the poor Los Angeles County town that was paying some of the highest salaries in the nation, including nearly $800,000 a year for its city manager. This leader of the community recently blew .28 after crashing into a neighbor’s mailbox. He’s resigned but in just a few years, his pension will grow to some

  1. The Mugwump

    Mollie, you are probably familiar with Greenbelt, Maryland. I nearly bought into the community back in the early 1980′s. The mortgage payment was modest enough, but the condo fees would have doubled my monthly payment. I asked a friend of mine who lived there about the situation. His answer: “Well, we elect a board of directors. They immediately vote themselves huge salaries, then raise the condo fees to cover their compensation.”

    “Power does not necessarily corrupt, but the corruptible are certainly drawn to power.”

  2. Palaeologus

    Oh sure, but what does it mean? Probably not much. I expect that we’ll divest ourselves of most of the millionaire-per-annum pensioners. Bravo.

    What good will that do, however, when dealing with millions of 50+K-per-annum pensioners who retire in their fifties and don’t smoke?

  3. Conor Friedersdorf
    C

    It’s like these city officials read about Lynwood, California, and said, “Hey, what if we did that, but without breaking any laws.”

  4. TomJedrz
    Conor Friedersdorf: It’s like these city officials read about Lynwood, California, and said, “Hey, what if we did that, but without breaking any laws.” · Jul 25 at 9:30pm

    Allow me to provide some background.

    There are a number of small, poor, highly industrialized cities in the south-east Los Angeles County: Bell, Maywood, Vernon, Cudahy, Huntington Park, and South Gate. Carved out of unincorporated Los Angeles County in the early 20th century, each has a continuous history of corrupt government. They were effectively company towns; each dominated by a few large factories that employed most of the citizens.

    Between the 20s and the late 60s, they were typical American suburbs full of lower middle class factory workers, mostly but not exclusively white. Proximity to the South-Central (Watts) area triggered a slow “white flight” to places like the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys. Then, the early 70s recession hit these cities very hard, as factories closed and the industrial (and tax) base eroded. They have not recovered.

  5. Rob Long
    C

    Thanks, tomjedrz, for the background. I live in southern California, and have always wondered about the maze of incorporated and unincorporated towns.

    The strange thing is, there really isn’t much outrage out there. I think, frankly, it’s because there isn’t a tradition of brash, muckraking journalism. If LA had a working-class tabloid, like, say the New York Post, I think a lot of this stuff would be revealed a lot more often.

  6. Conor Friedersdorf
    C
    Rob Long: Thanks, tomjedrz, for the background. I live in southern California, and have always wondered about the maze of incorporated and unincorporated towns.

    The strange thing is, there really isn’t much outrage out there. I think, frankly, it’s because there isn’t a tradition of brash, muckraking journalism. If LA had a working-class tabloid, like, say the New York Post, I think a lot of this stuff would be revealed a lot more often. · Jul 26 at 10:47am

    Mickey Kaus talks about the lack of an LA tabloid too. I didn’t read the New York Post much when I lived in NYC, but I’d definitely subscribe to a Rob Long and Mickey Kaus run muckraking tabloid.

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