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All Cities Damaged By Acts Of A Few
Monday, Aug. 16, 2010
Comparing California to New Jersey wasn't what caught my eye when I logged on to AOL this morning. It was the headline " California Cities Struggling Under Wave of Corruption. "
Reading more like the National Enquirer than a news source, the story conjures up a statewide ethical crisis in California with phrases like "government gone wild."
We know that the elected and appointed officials in Bell captured national attention and ire because of grossly inflated salaries. The problems in Bell have caused neighboring Maywood to suffer as well. After losing insurance coverage, the city dismissed virtually all employees and contracted out services, some to Bell. Now Maywood residents are feeling a double whammy -- their own problems compounded by the behavior uncovered in Bell.
While there are pockets of ethics problems in virtually every state, these incidents hardly constitute the "long-runninng saga of corruption" described in the AOL story. The California legislature is considering new guidelines for disclosure and transparency, but ultimately it is up to the public to be engaged with their local government. With the lack of city council news coverage, the public will need to take on the role of "political watchdog."
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