"There is something wrong in this city," said Leo Bueno, a hospital maintenance man who joined the rally outside City Hall. "But nobody can find out anything about what is going on. There is nowhere to go."
Back in the days of more robust staffing at local newspapers, Bell officials might have gotten away with a few years of unchecked pay raises. But I'm guessing The Times or a smaller competitor would have sniffed out Rizzo's ill-gotten gains years ago, perhaps when his salary was a mere $400,000.
Several of the residents pleaded for The Times to stay on the story. But a big downtown paper spread over hundreds of Southern California communities can only dip in occasionally on any single small-town government.
It will take a more persistent journalistic voice, closer to home, to keep municipal malefactors on the run. Bell reformers have recently created a Facebook page. They have a new political organization. But it's unclear whether they can find and support a new journalistic voice to patrol their city's cozy corridors of power.