The Political Class and the Police State: a Tale of Two Cities

The tales of Maywood and Bell California perfectly illustrate the relationship between the political class and the police state and how, together, they are bankrupting the United States. Sam Wilson lays out the beginning of this story in a post asking if Maywood should be considered a "libertarian utopia":
Maywood has eliminated its entire public workforce by either outsourcing public services to private contractors, many of whom promptly rehired the city's former employees, or placing itself under the protection of larger authorities like the Los Angeles County sheriff's department . . . If the experiment points out anything, it's the redundancy of bureaucracy in the American system. If the sheriff's department can do an adequate job while expanding its coverage to Maywood, then why should Maywood bother with its own police force?
The irony here is that Maywood may well have survived were it not for the apparent moral and ethical bankruptcy of its police force, which literally bankrupted the city. From the New York Times:
Maywood’s biggest problem by far has been its police department. A report by the state attorney general last year concluded the culture of the department “is one permeated with sexual innuendo, harassment, vulgarity, discourtesy to members of the public as well as among officers, and a lack of cultural, racial and ethnic sensitivity and respect.”

There are $19 million in claims pending against the police, which made it effectively impossible for the city to get insurance for any of its employees. If Maywood did not dismiss the municipal work force, officials said, bankruptcy would have been the only option. . . . The budget for the Police Department last year was nearly $8 million, more than half of Maywood’s revenues.
Following Maywood's elimination of its workforce, the nearby city of Bell took control of numerous municipal functions within Maywood. But now citizens in Bell are demanding that this process be halted until an independent audit of city contracts and the salaries of city officials is undertaken and completed. The city's political class have established an impressive fiefdom for themselves at the taxpayer's expense. Bloomberg reports:
An overflow crowd packed a City Council meeting in Bell, a mostly Hispanic city of 38,000 about 10 miles (16 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles, to call for the resignation of Mayor Oscar Hernandez and other city officials. . . .

It was the first council meeting since the Los Angeles Times reported July 15 that Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo earns $787,637 -- with annual 12 percent raises -- and that Bell pays its police chief $457,000, more than Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck makes in a city of 3.8 million people. Bell council members earn almost $100,000 for part-time work [emphasis added] . . .

The city’s personal income was $24,800 per capita in 2008, according to its financial statement. That compares with an average of $32,819 nationwide . . .

Its debt has risen to $1,972 per capita in 2009 from $599 in 2004, according to its annual financial statement.
Bell's political class and police force are costing it dearly. The city's current police chief, Randy Adams, was lured out of retirement by the hefty salary to combat endemic corruption in the department. It sounds like Bell's police aren't very different from what they were in Maywood:

Adams, Bell’s police chief, said in an interview after the council meeting that he had retired as chief of police in the much larger city of Glendale, California, when Bell officials approached him. “I told them they would have to pay me what I was making in retirement and the $165,000 I would make as chief of police,” Adams said.

Adams said he had been brought in to end corruption in Bell’s police department. “Some of the former members of this force are in the federal penitentiary,” he said.

At least they're off the city's payroll! More discussion on both stories at Memeorandum.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Resolved that Veterans For Peace calls on the U.S. House of Representatives to immediately begin impeachment proceedings against Barack H. Obama for failure to uphold his sworn oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America from all enemies foreign and domestic, and for his commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity, obstruction of justice and the violation of numerous national and international laws, treaties and conventions.

Note: This resolution to call for the Impeachment of President Barack H. Obama for War Crimes was debated, voted on, and approved by the members of the Central Florida chapter of Veterans For Peace on 7 July 2009.

I endorsed this call, as did my organization, Citizens For A Better Veterans Home