There have been hundreds of news stories about Bell city officials' jaw-dropping salaries. In this poor city on the outskirts of Los Angeles, where the per capita annual income is $24,800 a year, the city manager, Robert Rizzo, had a salary of $787,637.
That's about twice what the president of the United States makes. (To be fair, Rizzo was doing a better job.)
Rizzo was the highest-paid government employee in the entire country, not counting Maxine Waters' husband -- pending further revelations. With benefits, his total annual compensation, according to the Los Angeles Times, came to $1.5 million a year.Alerted to the Bell situation, the White House quickly added the Bell city manager to the list of jobs saved by its stimulus plan.
Not only that, but Rizzo was entitled to 28 weeks off a year for vacation and sick leave. To put that in perspective, that's almost as much vacation time as public school teachers get!
Reached in Spain, even Michelle Obama was outraged.
Rizzo responded to the anger over his preposterous salary by saying: "If that's a number people choke on, maybe I'm in the wrong business. I could go into private business and make that money."
(If he wants to grab one of those private-sector jobs that pays $1.5 million for 24 weeks of work, may I suggest the entertainment industry?)
Good luck to him. After leaving Bell, Rizzo will be lucky to land a job at Taco Bell. Before being anointed the King Tut of Bell, Rizzo was the city manager of Hesperia, Calif., where he was overpaid only to the tune of $78,000 a year.
The police chief, Randy Adams, was making $457,000 -- $770,046 including benefits. The assistant city manager, Angela Spaccia, had a $376,288 salary, with a total compensation package of $845,960. Being just an assistant city manager, Angela had to pay for her own yacht.
After the Los Angeles Times reported the stratospheric government salaries in little Bell, and the people of the town revolted, the millionaire government employees all resigned.
That'll show 'em! Oops, except upon their resignations, they qualified for lifetime pensions worth, by some estimates, more than $50 million.
These insane salary packages were granted by the mayor and four city council members -- who also set their own salaries. As a result, all but one was making $100,000 a year for these part-time jobs. After the council members' salaries came to light, the four looters cut their salaries by 90 percent.
According to Nexis, there have been more than 300 news stories reporting on the Bell scandal. Guess how many mentioned the party affiliation of the corrupt government bureaucrats?
One. Yes, just one. Now guess if the government officials were Democrats or Republicans? Yes, that is correct. Congratulations -- you've qualified for our bonus round!
The one newspaper to cough up party affiliations, The Orange County Register, admitted that the corrupt officials were all Democrats only in response to reader complaints about the peculiar omission.
Lots of news stories on the scandal in Bell used the word "Democrat" or "Democratic." But that was only to say that the DEMOCRATIC attorney general of California, Jerry Brown, who is running on the DEMOCRATIC ticket for governor, is investigating the Bell officials' salaries.
So we know the media are aware of party affiliations. They just chose not to mention it when it would require them to identify shockingly corrupt government officials as Democrats.
Any day now, the media will start describing Maxine Waters as "the light-skinned congresswoman from California."
(But you might want to vote for that DEMOCRATIC attorney general who is apparently a great crusader against corruption ... despite his years of ignoring the public employee salary and pension looting that has driven the state into insolvency.)
Maybe Obama's Czar of City Managers' Salaries could investigate this.
Unlike political corruption involving sex or bribery, the outrage in Bell isn't a scandal that hits both parties from time to time -- it's how the Democrats govern.
Elected Democratic officials bestow ludicrous salaries and benefits packages on government employees, and, in return, public employee unions make sure the Democrats keep getting re-elected.
The scandal in Bell isn't a scandal at all for the Democrats. Au contraire! This is the governing strategy of the Democratic Party.