Friday, September 3, 2010


Burt Prelutsky

Sometimes, political corruption is so blatant, it almost seems like make-believe, like a farce concocted by Billy Wilder or Preston Sturges.

Here in Southern California, we have a small, poor, mainly Hispanic community of 40,000 that has managed to put itself on the map in the unlikeliest of ways. Although nearly 20% of its population lives under the poverty level, this community is a shining example of the can-do spirit in action. How else can you explain that it had the highest-paid city officials in the nation?

Its chief administrative officer, Robert Rizzo, was pulling down $787,637 a year. Police Chief Randy Adams was taking home $457,000, and Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia was making do on $376,288. The various council members were being paid nearly $100,000 each. Did I mention that being a member of the Bell city council is a part-time job?

There was one exception, one guy riding the rails of the gravy train. City Councilman Lorenzo Velez, who was unaware that all of his colleagues were making out like bandits until the L.A. Times broke the story, was only being paid $8,076-a-year. At least now, I guess he knows why all the other fellows used to chuckle when he suggested getting together at Wendy’s or Taco Bell after council meetings.

But before we all chuckle too heartily at those poor Bell taxpayers who were laying out roughly $2 million-a-year to these lowlifes, let us not get too cocky. Let me remind you that we’re all paying Barack Obama $420,000; Joe Biden, $171,500; Harry Reid, $193,400; Nancy Pelosi, $217,400, and that’s not counting perks that include an army of aides, personal jets and humongous pensions. Do you really think they’re doing a better job than Rizzo, Adams and Spaccia?

On the other side of the country, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who believes he is all-wise because he is all-wealthy, thinks it would be a really terrific idea for the Muslims to erect a gigantic mosque near Ground Zero. The Mayor seems to think it would be a wonderful symbol of something or other. Most normal people, and I’m happy this one time to include Democrats, think 9/11 was symbolic enough of Islamic barbarism without having our noses rubbed in it.

The fact that the Muslim who’s promoting the scheme is a guy with ties to Hamas doesn’t seem to faze Bloomberg. But I guess when his fellow council members left council meetings in their Ferraris and Mr. Velez got on his bicycle, it did nothing to raise any red flags for him, either, but, then, Mr. Velez, unlike Bloomberg, isn’t a billionaire who’s thinking of running for president.

Speaking of elections, with November just around the corner, I’m already getting annoyed with some of my email. A number of conservatives are very upset that Ronald Reagan, for reasons they can’t quite grasp, isn’t going to be on their ballot.

Even more irritating are those nincompoops who insist they’re independents and enjoy announcing that they vote for the man, not the party.

Believe me, I understand that not every Republican is a saint and that not every Democrat is evil incarnate. But constantly repeating the mantra that both parties are alike, much like Bloomberg’s belief that the mosque will usher in an era of ecumenical brotherhood, is a prime example of mind-boggling naiveté.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock since January, 2009, you should have noticed that it has been Obama, Pelosi, Reid and their flock of liberal sheep, that have shoved bigger government; higher taxes; endless perks for unions; ObamaCare; an insane energy agenda; an equally loony illegal alien policy; and deficits that will bankrupt generations of Americans not yet born; down our throats, while managing to provide leftists Kagan and Sotomayor with lifetime sinecures; and it’s been Republicans who have done their best to fight back on our behalf.

As much as anyone, I’m aware that the Republicans, including John McCain, spent 2000-2006 trying to cuddle up to Ted Kennedy. But I have to believe they learned their lessons in the past two elections. If it turns out they didn’t, there’s time enough in 2012 to take them out behind the woodshed and paddle their butts.