Victor A. Sanchez was leading with 44% of the vote for the city of Bellflower City Council’s District 4 seat. One resident of Bell, on condition of anonymity, told the Los Angeles Times that he was assigned the chore of retrieving absentee ballots: "Our objective was to collect absentee ballots, and if they were not filled out, instruct them how to fill it out, and if not, fill it out for them", he said. , The L.A. Times announced the winners of its in-house editorial awards May 2011. He held a towel over his face as paramedics removed him to an ambulance. In the police report were listed the names of 19 voters who allegedly were either living in Lebanon, or were deceased at the time that their votes were cast.  In addition, both Rancho Cucamonga and Hesperia may be obligated to pay significant percentages of Rizzo's estimated $600,000 annual pension, according to Daily Press estimates. Tonia McMillian was in second. Adams was not charged or arrested. "I am looking forward to seeing you and taking all of Bell's money", Adams wrote, according to the memo. , The state attorney filed suit against Adams and Bell following that report on his "disability". , On April 25, 2011, it was revealed that at least two more illegal retirement accounts have been discovered. Cancel Unsubscribe. If, in fact, the election itself has been tainted by improper electioneering or other violations of state law, then that involves civil—maybe even criminal—penalties, and in some circumstances, you can overturn the election itself", Attorney General Jerry Brown said. The Times acquired a letter to the city in which Controller John Chiang stated that property owners overpaid $621,737 in fees that were illegally increased since 2007. , The Los Angeles Times reported that in a review of state and local records it was discovered that independent audits of public agencies in California frequently failed to recognize and note cases of questionable mismanagement and obvious fraud. 284 likes. In that election, more than half the votes cast were absentee ballots, the most vulnerable method to manipulate fraudulent votes. Bellflower District 4. Bellflower city, California. This November, cast your vote for someone who has everyone’s best interests at heart. More About Roger Graham . " Superior Court Judge Henry J. , In October 2011, the city hired the first Interim Chief of Police since the scandal broke. 2 & 18) Gateway Cities Council of Governments (Alternate Delegate) 2, 3, & 18 (Alternate Delegate District Nos. Bellflower City Council!  The next day, Rizzo slept through a good part of the hearing. Velez, who was paid only about $8,000 a year for his service on the council, has said he had no idea of the exorbitant salaries other officials were collecting. , The city of Bell assessed property owners for sewer fees without getting the mandated voter approval. Valdez testified at the earlier hearing that Rizzo had instructed her to give Ramirez the fabricated figures. The Times' publisher Eddie Hartenstein said of his paper's Bell coverage: "Robert Rizzo and his cronies, I think, savored their windfall and knew all too well what they were doing and knew they had to keep it secret.  At that arraignment on March 24, 2011, Rizzo, Spaccia, former Mayor Hernandez and ex-councilman Luis Artiga plead not guilty to the charges that they plundered Bell of millions of dollars.  Many residents said they had noticed assessments on their tax bills that they were never informed of and did not understand.  He refused to resign from his mayoral office, and was recalled in March 2011. Lourdes Garcia, the city's director of administrative services, and Eric Eggena, the director of general services, were paid more than $400,000 each. COMPLETE Shopify Tutorial For Beginners 2020 - … Updated May 1, 2020 The following dates have been established for the 2020 City Council meeting calendar. The city council expects to have an overall expenditure of $32,100,180 in order to offer all the city council services. Date Elected: March 2017. An additional $4.5 million was found secreted away to avoid retirement limits for public employees and to benefit Rizzo, Spaccia and a select few council members. Public Figure . He then accused the Times of having a "skewed view of the facts. I stand for VALUES, PROGRESS and LEADERSHIP, and it is my greatest privilege to continue to serve you as your Mayor. At least six other cities where officials have been recently charged with corruption include Irwindale, La Puente, Monterey Park, Pico Rivera, Temple City, and Vernon. Not Now. This video is unavailable. 3:36:26.  The testimony ended and LA Superior Court Judge Henry Hall issued a ruling after the opposing attorneys present their arguments. The City Council … , The office that manages retirement benefits for California public employees reportedly looked into the validity of pension plans for at least 10 police officers, including four chiefs, who received disability pensions and workers' compensation settlements when they were compelled to leave their jobs at the city of Bell. The vote on both items was 5 to 0.  "All of the claims triggered a defense obligation from the city of Bell under Mr. Rizzo's employment agreement and he sent the claims to the city for a defense, but the tenders were all denied by the city", Rizzo's updated court papers attested. , Rizzo and Spaccia were indicted on several new allegations by a Los Angeles grand jury on March 30, 2011. , The preliminary hearing for the alleged misappropriations and misdeeds of the Bell City council members charged, began on February 7, 2011. But the permit holders and others seeking to establish a marijuana-related operation will be under new rules, also approved by the council Dec. 10. Bellflower is bordered by Downey on the north and northwest, Norwalk and Cerritos on the east, Lakewood on the south, Long Beach on the southwest, and Paramount on the west.  Wantanabe said the average for the county is 1.16%. It was renamed at least twice, becoming Community News by 1998, when it was sold. Work on the Project must be performed in strict conformity with Specification No. The Board's decision to designate the Adams' decision as precedential means that it can be officially cited in court, in other administrative proceedings, and may be applied broadly to other cases. , Bell's administrative services director, Lourdes Garcia, said shortly before she gave Ramirez the falsified documents, City Clerk Rebecca Valdez confided to her that Rizzo had directed her to have Mayor Hernandez retroactively sign Rizzo's contracts, although Hernandez was not mayor during the period that the contracts were written. ", The primary group organized to fight the cities corruption is the Bell Association to Stop the Abuse (BASTA); Basta means "enough" in Spanish. The City Council is the legislative body of Bellflower's city government and is composed of five members. The City Council is responsible to the electorate to be the policy-making body of the City. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please call (562) 804-1424. "These outrageous salaries in Bell are shocking and beyond belief," said Brown.  BASTA collected enough signatures to force the recall election in March for the four City Council members facing corruption charges. , "Under state law, this is not to be done unless someone is ill or disabled. One officer billed $26,109 in overtime. New; 4:55:00. This council has compensated me for the job I've done. Ramirez had previously filed a public records request with City Hall. If you cannot make it to a Paramount City Council meeting but would like your thoughts shared with the City Council, you can deliver a written statement to City Hall ‐ either dropped off or by mail ‐ to be received by noon the day of the meeting. Then-California Attorney General Jerry Brown maintained that such a large increase should have aroused suspicion from CalPERS. Steve Belcher was retained as the interim chief and brought nearly 40 years of law enforcement experience. Downey, CA 90241. 17-53 declaring the City Council's intent to vacate a sewer easement crossing the vacant parcel of land (located at 16512 Bellflower Boulevard within the City and setting a hearing date for September 25, 2017) The City Council finds and determines as follows: On June 27, 1983, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. Tonia McMillian was in second with 23%. The Community News ceased publication shortly thereafter.[why? But they wouldn't accept that ... [W]hen [the lid] finally came off the Bell salary scandal, it was not because of a grand jury or a conscience-stricken official or anything like that. State Controller John Chiang said the raised rate was illegal. Community See All. Hernandez and Artiga still faced charges of misappropriating funds in a separate case. The new city council has been unable to take office because there was no quorum (none) of the former city council to … She issued an extremely critical ten-page ruling that completely negated the politicians' claim that they had no intent of or knowledge they could possibly be breaking the law.  Bell's local elections are officially nonpartisan.. Those dates are marked with an asterisk(*). , An investigation into the city's property taxes found that the homeowners of Bell were paying a rate higher than those of the affluent Beverly Hills. "The city of Bell charter," Kennedy wrote, "did not make Bell a sovereign nation not subject to the general penal laws of the State of California. ], Journalist Terry Francke claimed that, "the Bell spectacle is what happens to communities without their own old-fashioned diligent news coverage by veteran newspaper reporters, or at least smart reporters led by veteran newspaper editors. City Council. The city of Bellflower wants to sell its aging water system to a big for-profit water company that is better able to manage it. 255 people like this. In the 2005 election, fewer than 400 votes were cast in a special election that cleared the way for City Council members to dramatically boost their own salaries. of defrauding the city of Bell. ", True Detective season 2 is loosely based on the events in Bell, California. Updated November 2, 2020 Cerritos City Council meetings are regularly held at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursday of every month at the City Hall Council Chambers at 18125 S. Bloomfield Avenue. , In his opening presentation, Rizzo's attorney, James Spertus, stated, "Everybody has agreed that it's not a crime to be paid too much. Bellflower District 4 Victor A. Sanchez was leading early in election returns for the city of Bellflower City Council’s District 4 seat. CityOfBellflower 61 views. , In October 2012, Bell Police Captain Anthony Miranda was promoted to Chief of Police after a nationwide search of more than 70 candidates. Councilman Lorenzo Velez, the only Bell official not charged with any wrongdoing, testified that he doesn't remember participating in any of the meetings for which other council members billed the city tens of thousands of dollars. … , Several of the city officials requested that the city of Bell pay their legal bills. , A local newspaper, the Industrial Post, was founded in Bell in 1924. " Later that day, February 23, 2011, Rizzo complained of chest pains and feeling light-headed and was carried out on a stretcher during his preliminary hearing. It is estimated that less than 1% of registered voters actually showed up to cast their ballot. After 18 days of deliberations five councilmembers were found guilty on some of the charges and not guilty on an equal number of charges, with other charges split 9–3 in favor of guilt. He acknowledged it was a "novel legal approach" but said he was "confident his office had the authority. Rizzo was hired around that time. Member, City Council; City of Hawaiian Gardens; Unexpired Term Ending November 8, 2022. "You're only supposed to receive a disability retirement if you are disabled and unable to perform the normal duties of your job," said California Public Employees' Retirement System spokesman Ed Fong. A two-sentence order denying the petition was later signed without comment by Justices Dennis M. Perluss and Laurie D. Zelon of the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles. Bell was charging $300 for unlicensed motorists to recover their cars, three times what Los Angeles County and neighboring cities charge. (MHM) of Irvine, California "committed repeated acts of negligence on more than one occasion in the 2009 audit of the City of Bell (Bell) and the Bell Community Redevelopment Agency (Bell CRA) that departed from professional standards" and "insufficiently documented its audit for Bell and the Bell CRA for the year ending June 30, 2009" the California Board of Accountancy suspended MHM's CPA Corporation License for six months stayed, with two years' probation, and imposed on it an administrative penalty of $300,000, among other enforcement actions, effective June 2012. ABC News announced that Bell homeowners who had overpaid their property taxes over the last three years would be refunded the funds that were collected illegally. "If that is not the case, it would be fraud. Growing up and now raising a family here in Bellflower, I want to see our city thrive as a place where we can live, play, and work. All five members of the Bell City Council signed a statement in favor of the "little-noticed city ballot measure", which converted Bell into a charter city and was "billed as one that would give the city more control," yet failed to mention that Bell became exempted from the salary regulations. The disability status stands to net Adams millions of tax-free pension dollars at taxpayers' expense. Downey, CA 90241.  In 2009, Bell's per capita income was about $24,800 and 90% of its residents were Hispanic or Latino. "With record deficits and painful budget cuts facing California cities, astronomical local government salaries raise serious questions and demand a thorough investigation. City Council. Gilbert Jara, head of the Bell Police Officers Association, called the search "a good first step in ensuring not only public safety but also a restoration of the public's trust in Bell officials. Rizzo was required to turn in his passport and wear an electronic monitoring device. All five council members are white. , Another allegation was that the duo fabricated documents appearing to be contracts for former police Chief Randy Adams and secreted the true contracts' indication that his salary was nearly $10,000 more per pay period than purported. In 2005, a measure approved by Bell voters exempted the city from a state law enacted earlier that year which limited the salary of council members of general-law cities—cities without a charter of their own. Cerritos City Council Meeting Schedule. The City of Bellflower is located in Southeast Los Angeles County and is home to more than 78,000 residents and 4,000 businesses. 18/19-06 as adopted by the City’s City Council on January 14, 2019 which is filed with the City’s Public Works Department. Homeowners in Bell pay the second-highest tax rate of any city in Los Angeles County. Mon - Fri: 7:30 am - 5:30 pm.  Former Bell City Attorney Edward Lee confirmed during a testimony in 2010 that he outlined the clause in Rizzo's contract that was intended to guarantee the former city manager defense funds "against any type of claim", according to the court papers. , In February 2008, it was revealed on CBS News that Adams allegedly exchanged e-mails with the assistant city manager on how they were going to arrange his over $400,000 salary and how to hide that fact from Bell's taxpaying citizens. He was transported to Good Samaritan Hospital, and the hearing was adjourned for the day. , At Rizzo's hearing, documents acquired from former Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia's computer by District Attorney Steve Cooley showed that, starting in 2005, she and Rizzo created fraudulent contracts that were not sanctioned by the City Council that elevated their salaries to "outrageous" levels and made it almost impossible to tell how much they were being paid, according to the 19-page memorandum from Cooley. City Council meetings are typically held twice each month, on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month, in the City Council chambers at The Centre (map). Council Members are elected during even-numbered years for four-year terms on an overlapping basis; two elected at one election and three at the next. After another day of deliberation, the judge declared a mistrial on all remaining counts, leaving the prosecution to determine if they wanted the case retried. While the Council meets regularly on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month, the calendar was adjusted for special events and/or holidays. "If ignorance is a crime, I guess I'm guilty." I stand for VALUES, PROGRESS and LEADERSHIP, and it is my greatest privilege to continue to serve you as your Mayor. , State lawmakers and investigators traveled to the city of Bell on November 8, 2010, to probe the Los Angeles suburb's alleged corruption and governance problems.  Rizzo returned to court the following Monday. He also claimed the city owed him back pay. Copy and paste this code into your website.  On August 12, 2011, the city announced that Arne Croce would serve as yet another interim city manager. Cooley says [Updated]", "8 current, former Bell, California officials arrested", "8 former, current officials in Bell, Calif., arrested in salary scandal", "California City in Pay Probe Has Higher Tax Than Beverly Hills", "Attorney general expands probe of California city officials", "Rizzo says Bell owes him more money and should still be paying his salary", "Robert Rizzo ordered to stand trial on new conflict of interest charges", http://www.kansascity.com/2010/10/28/2365935/bell-officers-say-they-have-proof.html, "Former Bell police chief had a lucrative tax angle for retirement", "Bell Police Chief - Injury cited by ex-Bell police chief in disability pension claim didn't prevent him from exercising", "Bell Police Chief Randy Adams Ran In 5k, Rode Bikes Despite Alleged Disability", "Officers in scandal-torn Calif. city demand probe", "L.A. County: "Bell, Compton Should Not Have Own Police Departments, "Disability pensions of ex-Bell cops under scrutiny", "Bell council seeks resignations of 3 city officials", "In tiny Bell, police officers get big paychecks, too", "404. , Former city clerk, Rebecca Valdez, testified at the hearing she was instructed by Rizzo to lie to a resident, Roger Ramirez, who had enquired about council members salaries. Occupation: Business Owner Bellflower Planning Commissioner Bellflower-Somerset Mutual Water Company Bellflower Chamber of Commerce Bellflower Public Transit Committee B.A. Schools Attended: University Technical Institute of Arizona; Cerritos College ; Bellflower High School; Current Appointments: The Palm Springs Desert Sun maintained, in an editorial: That, in a very disturbing way, we all owe the community of Bell thanks. Bellflower City Council Meeting December 10, 2018 CityOfBellflower. Find 1085 listings related to City Hall Bellflower in Bellflower on YP.com. Clear 1 Table. Councilman Lorenzo Velez, the only Bell official not charged with wrongdoing, was also replaced on the city council. The City's website is temporarily under construction and we are actively working to get back up to speed. , Rizzo was regarded as the ringleader among the "Bell Eight", former Bell city officials (all of whom resigned or were recalled or fired), accused of bilking taxpayers out of about $5.5 million through hefty salaries, benefits and illegal loans of public money. The measure passed, 336 votes in favor and 54 against.. Council District 4, one of five Bellflower City Council districts created by Bellflower voters in 2016, covers the southwest portion of the city generally between Downey and Ardmore Avenues and between Flower and Rose Streets. 03 Addressing Homelessness. About See All (562) 866-6179. Spouse: Dawn Dunton.  The pair had already been ordered to stand trial on the previous charges. 19/20-06 as adopted by the City’s City Council on August 10, 2020 which is filed with the City’s Public Works Department. Term Expires: December 2020. Occupation: CPA/Council Member Dan L. Koops 1599 votes 25.9%. 2, 3, & 18 (Alternate Delegate District Nos. AN ORDINANCE APPROVING ZONING ORDINANCE TEXT AMENDMENT CASE NO. , In August 2010, the city of Bell began searching for a new police chief. CityOfBellflower 111 views.  Nor did it stop him from stating on a 2008 application for Orange County sheriff, that he likes to ski and had been in the 120-mile Baker to Las Vegas Relay run. expands probe into Bell city government", "AG Jerry Brown subpoenas Bell officials, sets up voter fraud hotline |", "Kimi Yoshino named L.A. Times Business editor", "How The L.A. Times Broke The Bell Corruption Story", "Bell official made $700K+ while city laid off workers", "California Mayor Regrets 'Indefensible' Salaries", "California officials reduce salaries in response to outcry", "California Will Post City Officials' Salaries After Bell Scandal", "Bell salaries raise more concerns about CalPERS", "Outrage over high salaries in Calif. town; Three city officials resign after total compensation revealed", "Signal Hill city manager explains councilmembers' complicated salaries", "Capitol Alert: Schwarzenegger on key pension bill: "Taxpayers deserve better, "California city manager's pension could top $30 million", "Bell officials won't receive massive pensions", "Judge questions suit over CA city's big salaries", "RESULTS: March 8 Election Results - City of Bell Special Election", "Bell voters cast out the old and opt for the new", "City of Bell Postpones Investigation of High Salaries", "Capitol Alert: Lawmakers target glitch caused by Bell City Council arrests", "New Bell mayor talks about efforts to fix city's budget, prevent corruption", "Bell Police Officers Association investigated by California Fair Political Practices Commission", "Calif. City Official Testifies in Corruption Case", "Bell Salary Scandal: "Bell City Clerk Testifies Robert Rizzo Made Her Lie, "Differing views of CA official: Crook or victim?  Council members in cities similar to Bell in size make an average of $4,800 a year.  When Hernandez refused to answer the door at his home, the sheriff's department used a battering ram to break down his door and bring out the mayor in handcuffs. The City’s five Council members are elected by District for four-year, staggered terms of office. 67 talking about this. Special Meetings of the Council are called from time to …  Cole's attorney, Ronald O. Kaye, claims that, although he was being paid approximately $100,000 a year for his part-time position and for attending meetings that did not occur or lasted only a few minutes, that "[A]t that time... Mr. Cole did not believe that his actions were unlawful. In September 2010, Rizzo, Hernandez, Spaccia and council members George Mirabal, Teresa Jacobo, Luis Artiga, George Cole and Victor Bello were arrested and charged with misappropriation of public funds. The other seven city council members arrested for misappropriating funds received similar pension cuts. Work on the Project must be performed in strict conformity with Specification No.  Bell Police Chief Adams, who oversaw a 46-person department, had an annual salary of $457,000, which is 33% higher than the LAPD police chief, Charlie Beck who oversees 12,899 employees in Los Angeles and earns $307,000.  California Attorney General Jerry Brown and L.A. prosecutors investigated whether the current council salaries violate a state law that regulates how much council members are paid. ", A series of investigative articles published by the Times in July 2010 revealed that several city officials in Bell were being paid salaries significantly higher than those in other cities. ZOTA 17-01 TO AMEND CERTAIN SECTIONS OF THE BELLFLOWER MUNICIPAL CODE (BMC) TO UPDATE THE CITY’S ACCESSORY DWELLING UNIT REGULATIONS TO BE IN CONFORMANCE WITH APPLICABLE STATE LAW; APPLICANT: CITY OF BELLFLOWER . The City Council is composed of five members elected at large by the citizens of Cerritos to serve for four-year overlapping terms.  Subsequent investigations found atypically high property tax rates, allegations of voter fraud in municipal elections and other irregularities which heightened the ensuing scandal. Watch Queue Queue "Essentially, they cooked the books on this". , On Friday of the same week, the focal point was Rizzo's enormous salary and what machinations were made for him to receive it.  The million-dollar pension Rizzo was expecting has been reduced to about $100,000 per year. "There is no way order can be restored in Bell until residents there have an accurate picture of the city's finances. Judge Ronald S. Coen handed down a new sentence of ten years on the remaining charges of which she was convicted and the amount of money she was ordered to repay in restitution remained the same, which her lawyers planned to appeal, "contending that she was being told to repay money related to crimes which she no longer stands convicted of. Keep in Touch The City Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., respectively. Raymond Dunton - Bellflower City Council, Bellflower, CA. 3.7K likes. In September 2010, Lieutenant Governor Maldonado signed Assembly Bill 900, which returned $3,000,000 collected from 4,000 residents. Police officers in Bell said in interviews in August 2010 that they frequently spent their shifts pulling over vehicles for small infractions hoping that they would be unlicensed drivers. "Although officers didn't look exclusively for immigrants, it was clear that the majority of the drivers pulled over turned out to be illegal immigrants", Officer Kurt Owens said. (562) 869-7331. "Bell residents know their civic house is in disarray," said Supervisor Gloria Molina. The City Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., respectively. www.dunton4council.com. The defendants at this preliminary hearing were Hernandez, Jacobo, Mirabal, former Mayor George Cole and former Councilmen Luis Artiga and Victor Bello. ", U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, (D-Pasadena), appealed to federal prosecutors to scrutinize the widespread political corruption in Los Angeles County. THE CITY COUNCIL DOES ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS: SECTION 1.  Mayor Hernandez, Deputy Mayor Jacobo and Council member George Mirabal, were all recalled, each with a referendum of over 95%. , A pretrial hearing was set for May 2011 for the six defendants. The bogus records he was given showed Rizzo was earning about $15,000 per month, and City Council members a couple hundred dollars per month. Victor A. Sanchez was leading early in election returns for the city of Bellflower City Council’s District 4 seat. Former vice-mayor Teresa Jacobo was one of the leaders of those campaigns and the people of Bell are trying to find out where those charitable contributions went and if any funds were ever donated to breast cancer awareness organizations. The email's contents were presented in a humorous manner regarding bilking the city. My family moved to Bellflower when I was six, and it has been the only home I have ever known. In June 2011, there was a hearing regarding Rizzo's request and the issue of intent in the employment agreement. He held a post-secondary degree and more for City Council ; City of Bell searching... Made the decision to put them on trial back pay increased income from fees and over. 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Times announced the lawsuit, he said he was `` confident office! 100,000 a year, excepting Councilman Lorenzo Velez I 've done Assembly bill 900, which returned $ 3,000,000 from. $ 20 per parcel for each of the City of Bellflower ; 2! '' These outrageous salaries in the summer Hawaiian Gardens ; Unexpired Term Ending November 8 2022... Estate deal that ran amok '', remarked the judge made the decision to put them on.. Following that report on his `` disability '' on this website to sell its aging system! Employee pensions '' for Officers to ticket for various targeted infractions taxes over several.... To discussing the trial outside of the Bell Police Officers Association injuries in crash! 26 ] Hernandez later apologized for what he called the City Council renewed for another year 12 marijuana held! The alleged misappropriations and misdeeds of the last week of March 2011 is posted on this website into Business. 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