Voting Makes a Difference in California
Voting Helps in Richest, Poorest and Angriest US Cities
I've been reporting on local attractions and the numbers and types of jobs available in cities and towns named by Forbes.com, BusinessWeek, and other publications as America's richest, based on individual and household incomes. Some of these places are pretty interesting.
Many of these towns are in Southern California in or adjacent to Los Angeles County. At the same time, one of the poorest towns is located in the middle of the rich. There, one out of every six residents earns below the federal poverty line. That's roughly 17% of the population of Bell, California.
The poorest, angriest residents of Bell took action against their poverty by voting to replace corrupt officials. Since then, their lives have improved and so has the city.
The Year of Major Corruption
In the autumn of 2010, a scandal came under fire as three of the Bell city leaders awarded themselves huge bonuses in spite of the high poverty level in their town.
On Tuesday March 8, 2011 - Mardis Gras Day as well - the voters of Bell had their chance to change leadership, as reported in the New York Times on March 9, 2011:
"Residents of the scandal-riddled City of Bell, Calif., have ousted their entire city government."
According to this article, a landslide vote replaced all of City Council, including the only person not implicated in the scandals of 2010. Voting seems to work in this community.
However, the new council was forced to dedicate itself to budget cuts and other actions to maintain city solvency.
How does a council member from a working class community, where the median income was $30,000 a year, afford to drive around in a $100,000 Mercedes Benz?— Building BASTA, by Cristina Garcia
Across the nation in Columbus, Ohio a similar scandal brewed and was not discovered until June 2015.
Red Light Cameras for issuing moving violation tickets were outlawed in 2015 by the Ohio Supreme Court. The cameras presented several problems, including a lack of accuracy. At the same time, a local elected official, Andy Ginther, announced he would run for Mayor.
Next, news surfaced that the company that had been behind the Red Light Cameras had allegedly bribed Ginther to help keep them active for many years. Ginther disappeared from the media temporarily, but he eventually became mayor.
What about the Bell City Council?
The city handled its problems and was not forced to dis-incorporate and revert to county land.
In the City of Bell, BASTA (Bell Association to Stop the Abuse) was proud as the Grand Jury found a guilty verdict for the Bell Six, who were corrupt local elected officials.
- BASTA | The Bell Association to STOP the Abuse. Cristina Garcia is a co-founder of BASTA and has been a member of the California State Assembly. http://studylib.net/doc/8221747/basta--bell-association-to-stop-the-abuse--was-started-on... Retrieved March 6, 2018.
- Bell California. Watch Our City News in the Public Interest: The focus i son Southeast L.A. County cities of Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Maywood, South Gate, and representative agencies of L.A. County, LAUSD, State Assembly and Senate. www.watchourcity.com/ Retrieved March 5, 2018.
- For residents of impoverished, defrauded Bell, Calif., it's payback time. Christian Science Monitor. The little city of Bell, Calif., became a symbol of greed and failed government when it was found that city officials had awarded themselves huge salaries. www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2011/0308/For-residents-of-impoverished-defrauded-Bell-Calif.-it-s-payback-time Retrieved March 5, 2018.
Voting Does Make a Difference
In reporting the local government scandals, the Los Angeles Times put a story on their front page about Bell.
The paper told how the city manager, Robert Rizzo, earned $787,637 annually and the police chief received $457,000, while the assistant city manager was paid $376,288.
This seemed inordinate for a town of 36,000 people with about 4,800 people subsisting in poverty - over 13% of the people were poor.
Audits found graft among the Mayor and Vice Mayor as well, with another violation on top of all that - overtaxing people and businesses by about $5.6 Million. At the time, officials had the opportunity to go to prison or to get away scot free with large pensions. A Grand Jury indictment ended the latter possibility.
Meanwhile, the Bell city clerk's news website reported that $3,000,000 of the wrongful taxation money was already refunded in 2011. In the US Census2010, the population had grown to 37,800. about 6,400 in poverty, or 17% of the populace in poverty. Poverty had worsened, in part because of the white collar crime of the City Council.
The city website stated:
Bell believes that introducing core values to children at a young age promotes lifelong integrity.
The Grand Jury helped those children believe in integrity. Higher voter turnout and the replacement of city government is a good start to living up to that ideal as well. The people of Bell voted out the entire City Council and replaced all of its members, with no further corruption evident date.
In Columbus, Ohio Andy Ginther will probably not run for Mayor after all. If he ran for the nomination, voters would probably deny him the privelege. Despite many improvements under the administration of Mayor Michael C. Coleman, many children still live in poverty. Secret bribes to city officials unbeknownst to the Mayor did not help those children.
After installing a new Bell City Council and improving working operations, a local transit system emerged that provides low cost monthly passes. A Taxi Service for Seniors ages 62+ and disabled individuals is a wonderful addition. The city is dedicated to Sustainability and Greening as well. The city has a whole menu of requirements for Transparency in government. Bell is a different city today.
Los Angeles River Communities
The Los Angeles River draws many visitors and increases the Tourism Industry. It flows roughly alongside many portions of Interstate 710 to the Pacific Ocean.
After flooding incidents threatened communities along this river around Bell and Bell Gardens, the US Army Corps of Engineers built concrete walls to contain it during The Great Depression. New initiatives have developed to preserve the local riverfront from Los Angeles to the ocean and the river communities are becoming more tourist friendly as a result - many folks did not know about the Los Angeles River previously. At one point, portions of it were little more than a concrete gutter drain-off. Today, local families and visitors enjoy the riverfronts along its banks.
Bell's East Gage Avenue, from the center of the city at the Bell Palm Plaza mini mall reaches the river to the east beside I-710 in just under a mile, passing by the Veteran's Memorial Park. Maywood Riverfront Park is a mile to the north. Cudahy City Park on the river is about a mile-and-a-half to the south.
River and Riverfront Development
- Los Angeles River | LAMountains.com
LAMountains.com is the ultimate site for hiking, biking, planning weddings, filming, sight-seeing in the greater Los Angeles area.
- Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
Through direct action, alliances, partnerships, and joint powers authorities, the Conservancy's mission is to strategically buy back, preserve, protect, restore, and enhance treasured pieces of Southern California to form an interlinking system of ur
- Angeles National Forest
- Ford Park Golf Course, Ford Park Golf Course - Bell, California Golf Course Directory | Course Finde
The Golf Channel Course Directory. The Golf Channel Course Finder is not only a comprehensive guide for Ford Park Golf Course but to golf clubs and golf courses throughout the United States. It also allows you to book discount tee times online and ge
- RG Canning Productions
San Bernardino, Beaumont, and Ventura Markets
Stan Kenton: Born In Bell CA
Local Education and Training for Good Jobs
- NPCollege - National Polytechnic College Education & Training College
Founded in 1996 to provide education and training in a variety of allied health careers serving both the community and surrounding areas. NPCollege was granted institutional approval by the State of California (BPPE). In 2003, the school received nat
- California State University, Los Angeles
Welcome to California State University, Los Angeles. From the home page you can access campus news, services, event calendars, application information, view academic programs and degrees, and find contact information for the many departments and prog
- Cerritos College Home Page
A two-year institution located in Norwalk, California, Cerritos College is committed to the ideals of a liberal arts education.
- East Los Angeles College
- Southern California Institute of Architecture
SCI-Arc is an independent architecture school offering graduate and undergraduate degrees, urban and media studies, public programs and lectures.
- UEI College | Career Training Education | Tech Schools in California, Florida & Georgia | UEI
UEI is a career training school with campuses in California, Florida and Georgia. UEI provides technical training in automotive, business, information technology and healthcare fields . Learn about these programs and more!
- University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is one of the world's leading private research universities, located in the heart of Los Angeles.
- Westwood In LA
3250 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 400; Los Angeles, Ca 90010
- Whittier College
The Vote Helped People and Jobs
High Demand Needs in the Job Market
The ratio of unemployed individuals to the number of open jobs is 1:1, or a job opening for every person. High Demand Industries include:
- Retail & wholesale trade
- Travel, hospitality & tourism
Aggregated job listings from all Internet sources show over 135,000 job listings within 25 miles of Bell. In a poverty stricken population, transportation can be problematic; but local and connecting passenger transportation has improved among the ricer communities since 2011. Within 5 miles of the center of the City of Bell are an average of 6,000 to 10,000 jobs advertised on any day.
Over 42% of adult residents have completed high school or higher education and the largest portion of the workers from Bell are employed in
- Transportation: Truck driving jobs are increasing significantly.
Amid the poverty, two-thirds of the homes are rented and the median home price is over $291,000, in a range similar to the wealthier places in this area of Southern California and Los Angeles County.
Map of Bell California's Largest Job Centers
Top Hiring Companies
- Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
- UCLA and UCLA Health
- Local Trucking Companies
- Cybercoders.com - IT
- Keck Medical Center of USC
- Kaiser Permanente Health
- St. Francis Medical Center
- Michael Page
- Search One
- Travel Nurse Solutions
- DirectEd Educational Services
Largest Numbers of Job Listings
- Truck Drivers: CDL Licenses
- Sales representatives
- Retail Salespeople
- Store Managers
- Account Executives
- IT Engineers
- Food Service Shift Supervisors
- Nurses (RNs): Several specialty areas and Nurse Practitioners
- Physical and Occupational Therapists and Assistants
- Aerospace Engineer Technicians
© 2011 Patty Inglish MS