Patt Morrison for September 21, 2010

The Bell effect – 8 city officials arrested in early morning round-up

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Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Residents of the City of Bell who are calling for the ouster of city officials gather outside a Bell city council meeting in Bell, California.

At least eight City of Bell officials were arrested this morning, bringing months of FBI and L.A. County district investigations over various allegations of corruption to a dramatic climax as police, equipped with a battering ram, broke down the door of Mayor Oscar Hernandez and brought him out in handcuffs. From the now infamously high salaries of Bell’s city council, to the questionable city contracts in Maywood, city-level corruption seems to be spreading across the southland. Why now? Is it a lack of investigative reporting during a recession; no resources for potential whistleblowers to seek legal representation; or the absence of oversight created by charter cities like Bell? Patt talks with some policy experts about the seemingly widespread corruption popping up across L.A. County and what structural oversights may have allowed them to happen in the first place.

Guests:

Frank Stoltze, KPCC political reporter

Jessica Levinson, Attorney and Director of Political Reform at the Center for Governmental Studies, and Adjunct Professor at Loyola Law School, teaching Campaign Finance

Chris McKenzie, executive director of the League of California Cities


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