MAYBE WE NEED A CORRUPTION CZAR TOO.
As if on cue, the LA WEEKLY and the LA TIMES published stories of local political corruption right after the issue was raised here in connection with gang cops and disclosing their personal finances. The Weekly story focuses on Bell Gardens Councilman Mario Beltran, his connection to the 740 Club's owner Ralph Verdugo and La Puente City Councilman John Solis. According to the accompanying piece in the Weekly, Beltran is a protege of State Senators Gil Cedillo and Ron Calderon.
In the Times piece, Lynwood Mayor Louis Byrd and Councilman Fernando Pedroza were charged by LA DA Dave Demerjian with misappropriating city funds by taking personal trips on Lynwood's dime. Pedroza apparently even charged lap dances in Guadalajara to the city. A year ago, Paul Richards was sentenced to 16 years in the Feds on charges of public corruption. Former Lynwood council members Armando Rea, Arturo Reyes and Ricardo Sanchez are also named in Demerjian's filing.
The Weekly story was written by the same Jeffrey Anderson who wrote the pieces on corruption in Cudahy and the Marroquin/No Guns scandal.
There's obviously a pattern of illegal behavior and corruption in these little cities. It looks like they're being run like Medieval fiefdoms with the guys in the castle raking in the booty and the Dukes in Sacramento backing their play. While it appears that the legal system is working to put these bandits in suits out of business, the big question is, "Where's the public outrage and the big media coverage?" The Weekly's coverage, while excellent, isn't exactly big media. Where's the call for Federal supervision of these towns? Maybe we need another Christopher Commision to ride herd on these people complete with compliance certification from Kroll just to make sure the lap dances aren't paid for with public money.