November 7, 2013

“Corruption on Steriods”

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 3:05 pm

pile-of-cashOpenCdA has followed the criminal trials of several public officials in Bell, California.  Their actions have been accurately described as “Corruption on Steriods“.

However, the city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, will soon be looking for a new police chief, and Bell’s former Chief Randy Adams sounds like he would fit in perfectly in our city.

It will take some creative accounting to match the salary Adams received in Bell, but we’re sure that Coeur d’Alene’s Mayor and City Council has the vision to find a way.

October 26, 2013

Tutorial: How to Inflate Your City Retirement

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 9:14 am

pile-of-cashThe revelations just never end in the corruption trial of former Bell, California, Deputy City Administrator Angela Spaccia.

This LA Times article explains how Rizzo and Spaccia had a Wells Fargo & Co. pension expert draw up a really, really, really, really generous and very personalized pension plan — just for them.

The Times article is so clearly written that no explanation is necessary.

Wow!  Just wow!

Tutorial: How to Inflate Your City Salary

Filed under: General — Tags: , — Bill @ 9:02 am


Today’s Los Angeles Times reporting about the public corruption trial of Bell, California’s former Deputy City Administrator explains how DCA Spaccia and City Administrator Rizzo allegedly inflated their own salaries.

This is the kind of detailed, how-it-was done news reporting that educates voters and helps make it more difficult for corrupt public officials.   One of the best courtroom exchanges reported in today’s Times story could have applied here in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho:

 [Bell’s former Financial Officer Lourdes] Garcia said she assumed the city attorney had reviewed the council resolution that contained the vacation increases and that Rizzo told staff members that he would discuss changes with council members.

Did you assume the City Council was voting on things they never read?” Garcia was asked by Spaccia’s attorney, Harland Braun.

“Probably,” she said.

February 1, 2013

Headline Sounds Like Coeur d’Alene

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 4:16 pm

pile-of-cashThis headline from today’s Los Angeles Times could apply to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, as well as Bell, California:

Bell witness:  Rizzo tried to confuse “unsophisticated” council

Rizzo was the allegedly corrupt city administrator in Bell, California.  According to the testimony in Court, he was upset whenever anyone sought to incorporate ethical conduct into his city administration.

And this might explain why the present Coeur d’Alene Mayor, City Administrator, Executive Director of the Lake City Development Corporation (our urban renewal agency), and their cronies are trying so hard to get rid of Coeur d’Alene Councilmembers Dan Gookin and Steve Adams  and the newly elected and appointed Trustees of both the Coeur d’Alene School District 271 and North Idaho College.  Ethical, lawful behavior is not beneficial to the way business is done here.


August 6, 2011

They’re At It Again

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 12:15 pm


“They” are both the Idaho Department of Correction and the City of Coeur d’Alene.  And what they’re “at” again is housing convicts still under state supervision in rental houses in Coeur d’Alene residential communities without informing the neighbors.   See the article headlined New Neighbors Not Welcome in the Saturday Coeur d’Alene Press.

And as “again” suggests, this is not the first time “they” have been “at” this in Coeur d’Alene.  (more…)

December 23, 2010

The Problem With Rubber Stamps

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 9:26 am

The problem with rubber stamps is that sometimes people use them for the wrong reasons at the wrong time.

That’s what the city of Bell, California, found out when the state controller audited the city’s books recently.  The city’s auditing contractor, Mayer Hoffman McCann, “… audits the books of dozens of government agencies …” according to a December 22, 2010,   LA Times article headlined Audits of Bell were ‘rubber stamp,’ state controller says.  The article quotes California State Controller John Chiang as saying, “”MHM appears to have been a rubber-stamp rather than a responsible auditor committed to providing the public with the transparency and accountability that could have prevented the mismanagement of the city’s finances by Bell officials.”

The headline on the December 21, 2010, article in the LA Times was even more blunt:  Bell’s auditors should have spotted most of the alleged corruption, state controller finds.

Fortunately, what happened in Bell could never happen in Coeur d’Alene.  Right?

November 14, 2010

Using Cops As Props in Politics

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 4:47 pm

In July and August this year OpenCdA put up several posts about the municipal corruption in cities of Bell and Vernon, California.  These posts had to do with municipal officials lining their pockets with exorbitant salaries and benefits at the expense of unwitting, low- and medium-income city taxpayers.

Now an alert OpenCdA reader has provided information that Mayor John (Juan) R. Noguez of Huntington Park, California, may have tried to interfere with the city police department’s investigations of major donors to Noguez’s campaign. The October 31, 2010, The Washington Times article written by reporter Jeffrey Anderson, is headlined Signs of municipal corruption spread in L.A. suburbs.  If accurate, the story explains how public officials use law enforcement and police unions for political purposes.

July 27, 2010

Open Session, Tuesday

Filed under: Open Session — mary @ 2:29 pm

People are acting up!  It’s incredible to see regular folks stand up at their city council meeting and tell their elected officials what they really think!  Have you seen the news clips from the Bell, California meeting?  Remember, that’s the small city (the size of CdA) paying it’s City Administrator almost $800,000/year.  The news clips, now surfacing, show some bold language from the citizens.  Bill wrote a great post about it on this web site a few days ago (

What would you say if your city officials were paid more than any other in the state and, in addition, the council still voted to raise your taxes?

July 23, 2010

When People Don’t Pay Attention…

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 1:58 pm

The scandal that has erupted in the Los Angeles suburb of Bell, California, (population 38,000) is an example of how predatory, self-serving city officials will loot a city treasury if the townspeople trust them too much and don’t pay attention to what the folks at city hall are doing.

On Thursday night, the city’s Chief Administrative Officer (salary $800K), Police Chief (salary $457K), and Assistant City Manager (salary $376K) resigned after a contentious public meeting in front of irate townspeople.  Not surprisingly, the Mayor and City Council initially defended approving the outrageously high salaries, to which the townspeople responded, “Recall them, too!”  (more…)

June 2, 2008

Foregone But Not Forgotten

Filed under: Observations — Dan Gookin @ 10:42 am

There’s a CDA Press editorial titled “NIC adds to misery with foregone grab.” Sadly, that’s not news today. Nor was it news in 2005 when that editorial ran.

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