Larry Mantle |

The toll on Bell is heavy

Tuesday morning’s arrest of eight current and former city of Bell officials was greeted with pleasure by listeners who called in or commented online during our program.  Though one listener called the arrests inevitable, I’m sure some thought the L.A. County D.A.’s office investigation might find unethical instead of illegal conduct.

I first got word of the arrests in an e-mail blast from the Los Angeles Times.  The first message related that four officials were taken in.  The later report upped it to eight.

I was already downstairs in studio A, ready to go next door into Madeleine Brand’s studio B to forward promote my upcoming program.  After talking about the arrests with Madeleine, I ran upstairs to talk with our AirTalk producers about how to reconfigure our show.

We got word of the 11:00 a.m. Steve Cooley news conference on the arrests and immediately worked on hooking up to live audio so that we’d be ready to go.  We started the 10:00 a.m. hour with our reporter Frank Stoltze and the Times’ Richard Winton, then opened the phones to listeners.

This has been a remarkable story, led in reporting by the Times.  The D.A. said in his news conference that his office’s started its look into Bell last March, and that more charges are possible as the investigation continues.

Do you think this will make public officials think twice about sucking money out of their cities, or are you skeptical this will make much difference?  We certainly went down this road before in South Gate, yet here we are back with even more serious allegations of wrongdoing.