Several former city council members from the city of Bell go on trial next week on charges of public corruption. They are accused of taking large city salaries for no work, attending phantom meetings, and receiving illegal loans from the city.
Since their arrests, and that of former City Manager Robert Rizzo and his assistant, new leaders have been trying to restructure the city. Residents and business owners say they are noticing a difference, although the pace of change has been slow.
Charlie Ortiz opened Charlie's Chop Shop in Bell a dozen years ago when the Rizzo regime was in full swing. Ortiz swiftly made professional and personal friends with members of the local police department, but suspected something might be wrong.
"I used to think your voice wasn't heard as loud, before," he says.