Thursday, March 31, 2011

TALKING WITH HENRIETTA - Unions Are Under Attack


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Talking with Henrietta:Halting the Rising Number of Foreclosures

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Lesson of Bell, CA

Voters turned out en masse in Bell, CA on Tuesday, March 8, and voted overwhelmingly to recall four top public officials in their city who were accused of corruption. In an impoverished city that was facing a huge deficit of $4.5 million, the four city officials, namely, the mayor, the city manager, the assistant city manager and the police chief were paying themselves between $376,000 to $787,637 annually. These salaries were among the highest for city officials in this nation.

Like East Palo Alto, the city of Bell is 2.5 square miles and its population, though, larger than East Palo Alto's, is similar in size. In spite of Bell's size and its budget difficulties, the city's former police chief was making, at $457,000 more than the police chief for the City of Los Angeles, whose salary is listed at $279,834. Los Angeles which has a population of 3.7 million, is the largest city in California. It has been said that the scandal that took place in Bell was a wakeup call for the city's citizens to pay closer attention to what is going on at the top levels of their city's government. It was certainly a wakeup call that captured the nation.

Not only should the residents of Bell pay closer attention to their city's politics and issues, but the same could be said for the residents of all cities. To paraphrase, the late governor of Arizona, Barry Goldwater, who was a presidential contender in the 1960's, "Vigilance is the price of liberty."

Enough can't be said about the importance of going to or at least following city council meetings, following the issues affecting one's city and keeping tabs on the votes of city officials and other political representatives. Because of the scandal in Bell, California's Controller John Chiang has a website that allows visitors to search for the salaries and compensation packages of public officials in all cities in California. His website is

So, here is a quick quiz. Do you know what your public officials are making? Do you know how they are voting or the legislation and programs that they are supporting? What they are making, how they are voting and the issues they are supporting might determine the future and the quality of life in your city. What happened in Bell rightfully captured much of this nation's attention. What happened in Bell should not be forgotten.