FROM Cristina Garcia
Women in Politics After the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings in the early nineties, an unprecedented number of women ran for public office. Has that enthusiasm waned? Let’s look at California. There are 120 state lawmakers in Sacramento and about a quarter of them are women. But it looks like that number will shrink after the next election. The same trajectory is playing out in California’s Congressional delegation. A decade ago, California was represented by 31 women in Congress. Now there are 19. Three of them will be leaving at the end of this term, and two are likely to be replaced by men. Why are so few women seeking office these days?
Round One of Bell Verdicts Is In A jury today found five former members of the Bell City Council guilty of misappropriating public funds by accepting pay for meetings of the Solid Waste and Recycling Authority. Prosecutors argued that it was established for the sole purpose of increasing their salaries. All five were acquitted on similar charges related to the Public Finance Authority. A sixth defendant, Pastor Luis Artiga, was acquitted on all counts. We hear from Ali Saleh, who was elected Mayor in the aftermath of the corruption scandal, and from State Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, a member of BASTA, the Bell Association to Stop the Abuse.
Hearings Continue for Current and Former Officials of the City of Bell When Randy Adams was negotiating for 770,000 thousand dollars to be the city police chief, he joked in an e-mail about “taking all of Bell’s money.” That’s just one of the ugly revelations emerging from hearings into a scandal that’s made Bell the national poster child for local corruption. Part-time council members were paid 100,000 a year for meetings they almost never attended—all arranged, says the District Attorney, by two principal defendants: former Chief Administrative officer Robert Rizzo and his former assistant, Angela Spaccia. Their compensation amounted to 1.5 million and 850,000 respectively. With all but one council member facing charges and no meeting since last year, who’s in charge?
Bell Residents to Get Property Tax Relief with Emergency Measure Four thousand property owners in the City of Bell will be getting a total of $3 million in property tax refunds. That’s according to Assembly Bill 900 , signed into law today by Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado because Governor Schwarzenegger is out of the country. Cristina Garcia is a leader of the Bell Association to Stop the Abuse, or BASTA.
Is Southeast LA County Just Ungovernable? A cluster of cities in southeast Los Angeles County are at risk of coming unglued. The City of Bell has been the focus — first of a media frenzy, now of investigations by the District Attorney , Attorney General , State Controller and the FBI . It’s all about compensation for public officials that, in Bell, totaled $1.5 million in a city where the average household income is less than $40,000 a year. Bell — and other cities, including Maywood, Cudahy, Southgate and Bell Gardens — may be the victims of municipal corruption. But that’s not all.
How Tiny Cities like Bell End Up with Giant Salaries The City of Bell has been up in arms since the LA Times disclosed that City Manager Robert Rizzo makes almost $800,000 a year, while council members pull down $100,000 for their part-time jobs. Bell, in South Los Angeles County, is home to 37,000, mostly Latinos with a per capita income about half the average of the United States. The vice mayor predicted that Rizzo would resign or be fired at last night’s council meeting. Cristina Garcia organized the Bell Association to Stop the Abuse .
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.