Molina said the audit, expected to cost about $100,000, was paid for out of her office's discretionary fund, at no cost to the city. [40], Danny Harber received 54% of the vote to gain Jacobo's seat. Victor A. Sanchez was leading early in election returns for the city of Bellflower City Council’s District 4 seat. He acknowledged it was a "novel legal approach" but said he was "confident his office had the authority. [52], 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. [54] "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. Public Figure . The draft budget of the City of Bell and Bellflower for the Fiscal year 2016/2017 has a proposed general funding of $16,841,100 and a revenue fund of $15,259,080. [43] The council designated Ali Saleh as mayor. [67], In her February 9 ruling, Kennedy stated that Rizzo "virtually ran this loan program unilaterally" and distributed at least 40 loans totaling almost $2 million between 2001 and 2010. Page Transparency See More. See more of Raymond Dunton - Bellflower City Council on Facebook. [88], In August 2010, the city of Bell began searching for a new police chief. 1345. The City of Bellflower is located in Southeast Los Angeles County and is home to more than 78,000 residents and 4,000 businesses. They were sworn in the last week of March 2011. Bellflower’s population is 52% Latino and 14% African American, according to the city’s website. [113]"All of this was just a means by Rizzo to nickel and dime the community to death to get more money out of them", Christina Garcia, a community activist, said. "[80], Rizzo was ordered to stand trial in an additional conflict-of-interest charge regarding a racehorse deal with Bell's privately contracted planning director. Dec 2018 – Present 1 year 9 months. The latest scandal involves a tract of land presently leased by a carwash. "This guy would be our first seven-figure retiree", said Fritz. "[128], True Detective season 2 is loosely based on the events in Bell, California. They went to ask the city clerks at Bell, Calif., and the response they got repeatedly was 'Those records aren't available; come back in two weeks.' [35], A week after Brown sued, Rizzo and six of the other seven people named in his suit were charged in criminal court with plundering $5.5 million from Bell. Meeting dates may be changed due to holidays and events. The current year's meeting schedule is posted on this website. My family moved to Bellflower when I was six, and it has been the only home I have ever known. [54] 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. Steve Belcher was retained as the interim chief and brought nearly 40 years of law enforcement experience. [59], A second preliminary hearing for misappropriation of public funds[60] by Rizzo and Spaccia, began on March 22, 2011. [79], Since his resignation, Rizzo continued to request that the city of Bell pay his legal bills. (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. 562-866-9771, extension 2103 5050 Clark Avenue, Lakewood, California 90712. Bellflower City Hall, Bellflower, California. Let’s Get Better Together! City Council Member City of Bellflower. Work on the Project must be performed in strict conformity with Specifications No. [95] He has also testified that he didn't remember participating in any of the meetings for which other council members billed the city tens of thousands of dollars. [96] California Attorney General Jerry Brown[97] and L.A. prosecutors investigated whether the current council salaries violate a state law that regulates how much council members are paid. Rizzo was hired around that time. The Community News ceased publication shortly thereafter.[why? 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. Victor A. Sanchez was leading with 44% of the vote for the city of Bellflower City Council’s District 4 seat. 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. Schools Attended: University Technical Institute of Arizona; Cerritos College ; Bellflower High School; Current Appointments: 11111 Brookshire Avenue. Occupation: Business Owner, Bellflower-Lakewood Appliance Center. "[9], Bell, California, is a small suburb of Los Angeles that covers 2.5 square miles (6.5 km2), with a population of approximately 38,000. CITY OF BELLFLOWER. [84][85] 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. But the deal could fall through. The City Council is composed of five members elected at large by the citizens of Cerritos to serve for four-year overlapping terms. [28] State Controller John Chiang said that the salaries in Bell had been "outrageous and unjustifiable" and a voter fraud hotline was set up. Three of the five council persons elected were those endorsed by the Bell Police Officers Association. [93] In contrast, members of San Marino's City Council take no salary at all. In some months the council might meet only once a month, most often during the holiday season or in the summer. The page/URL requested wasn't found on this site", "Bell council members found legal loopholes to allow big salaries", "KTKZ AM 1380: Intelligent Conservative Talk News Article", "City Of Bell - L.A. County auditors to examine Bell's finances", "American Thinker Blog: Tea party redux in Bell, California", "Bell City Council, Mayor Take Big Pay Cuts", "Bell Residents to Vote on Council Resignations | FOX 11 News", "BASTA | The Bell Association to STOP the Abuse", "Critics Weigh In On Bell Salary Scandal", "Bell recall organizers claim enough signatures for vote", "OfficialWire: "Bell, Real Estate Deal Scrutinized, "New search warrants served as Bell corruption probe widens", "Bell demanded extra fees from some businesses", "The City of Bell California Illegally Overcharges 2.9 Million in Property Taxes", "California legislators OK pay reforms inspired by Bell scandal", "Bell homeowners await refunds from tax scam", "UPDATE, Issue No 70, Fall 2012, California Board of Accountancy, p.23", "Why the Bell Scandal Happened and What Can Be Done", "Schiff calls on feds to open local corruption investigations", "Bell crackdowns hand statewide candidates a chance to shine", "Selden Ring award to the LAT's Bell team", "Los Angeles Times wins Pulitzer for Bell, Calif., scandal",, Articles with dead external links from May 2016, Articles with unsourced statements from April 2020, Articles with unsourced statements from March 2018, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from April 2020, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 7 December 2020, at 02:37. … [40] The next day it was announced that Ali Saleh, Nestor Valencia and Violeta Alvarez would fill the other three council seats. Council District: At-Large. 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. [14][92][93][94] In 2009, 11 officers in Bell were paid more than $10,000 in overtime. Keep in Touch 03 Addressing Homelessness. The first witness at the preliminary hearing, Ramirez testified that when he confronted Rizzo at a city council meeting, regarding the rumors that he was paid $400,000 a year, "He immediately said, 'No, Mr. Ramirez, if I would be making $400,000 a year I wouldn't be working here". See reviews, photos, directions, phone numbers and more for City Hall Bellflower locations in Bellflower, CA. The paper's Pulitzer Prize-winning Bell coverage won in the "investigations" category as well as the Publisher's Prize. 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) Member, City Council; City of Bellflower; District 1 (1 Elected) Raymond Y. Hamada. IN THE CITY OF BELLFLOWER SPECIFICATION NO. [53], 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. [27] He was later recalled, arrested, and indicted for fraud and other charges. [2] It has been reported that some residents went to the polling place, only to find that their votes had already been cast. [6][7][8], Spaccia was resentenced in October 2017 after an appeals court reversed five counts of misappropriating funds from the city. [68] 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. Lourdes Garcia, the city's director of administrative services, and Eric Eggena, the director of general services, were paid more than $400,000 each. FOR CARPET REPLACEMENT AT CITY HALL COUNCIL CHAMBERS. "A much more rigorous focus is obviously merited by events", Schiff said, citing statutes that specifically aim at scams involving taxpayer dollars. 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. All five council members are white. There was no such agreement made with Rizzo when he stepped down. 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 judge denied the motion to dismiss any charges against Rizzo and Spaccia. "I am looking forward to seeing you and taking all of Bell's money", Adams wrote, according to the memo. Occupation: Business Owner, Ray-A-Motive. [13] Small businesses, auto shops, markets, carnicerias, and panaderias dominate the streets of Bell. [119] On September 13, 2010 Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado, approved the bill. This is the first time District 4 will have a direct representative as member on the City Council. Priorities: Bellflower City Council Member - 4 years City of Bellflower Planning Commissioner - 8 years Bellflower Resident - 48 years Married - 28 years Attended BUSD K-12, Cerritos College, UTI Kiwanis Club 1992-Present Bellflower Chamber of Commerce 1986-Present [43], Assembly Bill 93 which allows the City Clerk to swear in the new council and also allows the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to validate the March 8 election results. And if anyone was bold enough to uncover it, it was some of our folks here. "We'd look for younger guys in their 20s and 30s, guys with junkier cars, broken lights, loud music or tinted windows", Owens added. Tonia McMillian was in second. [61] These indictments add eight charges to the public corruption case against Rizzo and seven former Bell officials. He started at a weekly salary of $3,230 with no medical or retirement benefits, replacing interim city manager Kenneth Hampian. Raymond Dunton - Bellflower City Council, Bellflower, CA. 2 & 18), Gateway Cities Council of Governments (Alternate Delegate), Lakewood Regional Medical Center (Governing Board Member), League of California Cities, Los Angeles County Division Board of Directors Executive Committee (Primary Delegate), Council Member (2009 - 2013; 2013 - 2017; 2017 - 2020), Mayor Pro Tem (2011 - 2012; 2015 - 2016; 2019 - 2020). "Essentially, they cooked the books on this". City Council. Council District: 5. [10] It is one of the poorer cities in Los Angeles County,[11] with almost one in six residents lives below the poverty line. Log In. [56] Rizzo returned to court the following Monday. 1069, which amended state law to rename “second units” as “accessory dwelling units.” Contact City Council's Office: City of Bell Gardens 7100 Garfield Ave. Bell Gardens, CA 90201 Tel: (562) 806-7754 Fax: (562) 928-4953. "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. 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). [49], A pretrial hearing was set for May 2011 for the six defendants. I could go into private business and make that kind of money. 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. 284 likes. [39], Thirty-three percent of Bell's 10,485 registered voters turned out to vote[40] in a recall election for the City Council members. CityOfBellflower 61 views. FULL NEWSER: President Trump blasts Biden, NAFTA during Rose Garden remarks - … The commission said it was also looking into whether the Bell Police Officers Association was properly noted as the source of the flyer. [63], Several of the city officials requested that the city of Bell pay their legal bills. [citation needed], 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. 2 talking about this. "If ignorance is a crime, I guess I'm guilty." [48], Valdez, who was granted limited immunity, stated she prepared the documents and Rizzo changed the correct figures much lower than the actual salaries; she was ordered to show the falsified lowered figures to Ramirez. That goes for any public employee—from the city manager and council members to any teacher or librarian. 529 amending the Bellflower Municipal Code to allow for Second-Family Units; On September 27, 2016, the Governor signed into law Senate Bill No. City Council. Community See All. 3.7K likes. [61], 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. [46], "I should have asked more questions, I'm not denying that", said Velez, the only member of the city council who did not take a large salary. [48], 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. 1:29:29. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 76,616, up from 72,878 at the 2000 census. This year in Bellflower, in lieu of our traditional & annual State of the City (SOTC) luncheon address, our City this year adapted to COVID-19 and filmed our SOTC. "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. [72] Rizzo also received an unusually large package of benefits, including paid vacation, sick and personal time of 28 weeks off per year. Auditors had discovered that taxpayers were overcharged the $2.9 million for a "retirement tax" to fund city employee pensions. This video is unavailable. "[101] The auditors spoke at the hearing called by state Assemblyman Hector De La Torre, who said he wanted to give residents of the working-class city of 36,000 "a full accounting of what had happened". Bellflower City Hall, Bellflower, California. (Type in your address and select "City Council Districts" Map Layer) City Council Districts Map (PDF) Ordinance No. 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. "He resigned without severance pay", former councilman Velez stated, adding: "I will not even give [him] a penny cut in half. Judge Ralph W. Dau ruled that the parts of the lawsuit accusing Rizzo and the others of "conflict of interest, squandering public funds and putting their own interests ahead of Bell's" could move forward. [74][75] 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. Priorities: Support effective public safety programs to reduce crime Continue revitalization of … Term Expires: December 2020. The Luis Melliz Campaign for Bellflower City Council understands that affordable housing plays a crucial role in stronger communities, we are building a community everyone can enjoy. 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. [51], Subsequently, on March 21, a juror wrote notes to the judge requesting reconsideration of past verdicts, and another juror wrote a note accusing other jurors of bad behavior. Occupation: CPA/Council Member Dan L. Koops 1599 votes 25.9%. The extra tax added about $20 per parcel for each of the last three years' tax bills. BELLFLOWER — In a special meeting Dec. 10, the City Council renewed for another year 12 marijuana permits held by five groups. Bellflower City Council Meeting June 22, 2020 - Duration: 4:55:00. [30]"These outrageous salaries in Bell are shocking and beyond belief," said Brown. [111], The FBI has begun investigating the accusations of violating some citizens' civil rights, particularly whether Bell officials violated the civil rights of Latino residents by assertively towing targeted cars and charging residents extortionate fees to retrieve their vehicles. In that election, more than half the votes cast were absentee ballots, the most vulnerable method to manipulate fraudulent votes. 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