City with million dollar public pension refusing to turn over public records 

The city of Bell, Calif. refuses to turn over public records to either the Los Angeles Times or a member of the town’s own city council:

Despite vows to be open with the public in the wake of a salary scandal, the city of Bell is refusing to turn over public records to The Times, community activists and even a sitting councilman.

“They continue to keep us in the dark,” said Councilman Lorenzo Velez, who has been critical of the high salaries paid to top Bell administrators and other City Council members. “The problem is a continuation of so many years of doing whatever they wanted in City Hall.”

The Times and other have requested records involving elections, budgets, city financing and salaries that are typically available for viewing at most city halls — and in some cases can even be found online. The city has filled some of The Times’ public records requests, but it has neither responded to the vast majority of the requests nor given an explanation for its denial as required by law.

Bell is currently the subject of two corruption probes, after it was revealed that the top three officials in the city were paid excess of $1.6 million annually. The city manager was making nearly $800,000 a year and is now eligible for a pension from the state of California that will be worth over a million dollars once it matures.

For more on corruption in Bell, see this Examiner editorial from last week.

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Mark Hemingway

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