I always knew this was a matter of time: Bell officials arrested as prosecutors are set to file criminal charges.

At least eight city of Bell officials were arrested Tuesday morning, a source said, as L.A. County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley prepared to announce criminal charges in the municipal salary scandal.

Former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo, whose high salary sparked the outrage that led to the investigations of the city, was among those arrested in the sweep. No details have been released, but a source not authorized to speak publicly about the case said that Rizzo; former Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia; Mayor Oscar Hernandez; Councilmembers Luis Artiga, Teresa Jacobo and George Mirabal; and former Councilmembers George Cole and Victor Bello were among those arrested.

[Updated at 11:22 p.m.: Cooley filed charges against eight Bell officials Tuesday, alleging that they misappropriated $5.5 million in public funds. Rizzo has been charged with 53 counts of misappropriation of public funds and conflict of interest.

Among those arrested were former city administrator Robert Rizzo, former assistant city manager Angela Spaccia, Mayor Oscar Hernandez, councilmembers George Mirabal, Teresa Jacobo, Luis Artiga and former councilmembers George Cole and Victor Bello.

“This is corruption on steroids,” Cooley said.]

Drop in the Bucket of Criminal Arrests that Need to Happen

When Monday’s news broke, drivers honked horns and even their neighbors cheered the arrests. However, in the grand scheme of things, these arrests are but a drop in the bucket of what needs to happen.

Yes, this is indeed corruption on steroids, and unfortunately that is what it takes to get belated action. This went on for years!

Nationwide, corruption and vote buying are rampant. Officials in many cities deliberately made fiscally unsound deals with unions to get elected. If we prosecuted kickbacks, fraud, and illegal vote buying, the arrest list would be in the thousands.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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