In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 6, 2010 / 26 Menachem-Av, 5770

Crooks in Government? I'm Shocked!

By Greg Crosby

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | By now just about everyone in the world has heard about the sleepy little California city of Bell and how the corrupt elected officials have, now let me see, how can I put this gently… screwed over the people of that community by working the system so that they could grant themselves enormous salaries and outrageous pensions. Bell is not a rich city by any stretch but even if it were, the money it was paying out to these thieves would still be ridiculously out of line.

Top crook here would be Robert "Ratso" Rizzo, a city administrator who was pulling down an annual salary of about $800,000 with a retirement pension at age 50 of $700,000 each and every year (with cost of living increases) for life! So they force this bum to resign, so what? He's 55 years old, so he resigns and starts collecting his fat pension. Nice. According to Reuters, he stands to collect upwards of $30 million in retirement money before he dies. Talk about a golden parachute! Rizzo gets the golden parachute and the tax payers get the golden shaft.

Rizzo's windfall is only the worst case that has surfaced so far in a statewide pension rip-off. The entire state of California is going broke, millions of normal hard working people have lost their 401K's and private pension plans, but government workers are doing just fine and dandy, thank you. The state's public pension assets are managed by the California Public Employees' Retirement System and California State Teachers' Retirement System, global fund giants better known as Calpers and Calstrs, respectively. That's respectively, not to be confused with respectfully, a concept never used by government bureaucrats when dealing with the folks.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is finally demanding that lawmakers do something to reform pensions of government workers. Gee, Arnie, ya think? This year alone California taxpayers have had to pony up an extra $600 million just for state government pensions. Hell, this state only has a $19 billion deficit in our state budget for this year, that's all. Meanwhile, we've got an economy that's in the tank and entitlement programs that keep pumping out billions not only to American citizens, but to support illegal aliens who live here.

But let's go back to Bell for a minute, because I don't want to neglect the other thieves. Like for instance Police Chief Randy Adams who earned $457,000 a year, that's two times what Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck gets. The City of Bell has a 46 person department; LA's police chief oversees a department of 12,899.

And then we have Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia who was paid $376,288 annually, which is more than most city managers are paid. Oh, and let's not forget the City Council members who get around $100,000 a year for their part-time positions. Council members in similarly sized cities make an average of $4,800 a year.

To put all this in perspective, the City of Bell has only a population of around 37,000. It is definitely a lower-income blue-collar community. The per capita income is about $24,800, according to the city's latest annual report. An investigation into the cities property taxes has found that the homeowners of Bell are paying a higher rate than homeowners in Beverly Hills. Residents of Bell pay as much as 1.55 % of their home's assessed value in taxes. The average for the county is 1.16 percent. In Beverly Hills, where the per-capita income is over four times that of Bell, residents pay 1.19 %.

The good news is, the three thieves were forced to resign and as of now, I understand that Rizzo, Adams, and Spaccia will collect no state pension monies until California clears them of charges of fiscal abuse pending against them. But what if they are cleared? Do they get the big bucks? And the question remains, how did this happen in the first place? These people didn't walk into a bank vault with masks on their faces and shove twenties into bags, this thing was carefully maneuvered and it looks like voter fraud may be behind it.

It seems that there are some discrepancies in the 2009 election. These "discrepancies" are being examined by the FBI and the Office of California's secretary of state. In the police report filed, were listed the names of 19 voters who allegedly were either living in Lebanon or were deceased at the time that their votes were cast. There is a small Lebanese community in Bell.

Voter fraud or just crooks being crooks, it doesn't make any difference. These thieves who were "doing the people's business" as so many of them like to say, shouldn't get a penny in pension. Not a penny. I'm sure they'll never see any jail time, but I'd love to see them do some community service, like cleaning county correctional facility toilets for about five years at a nickel a john. Let them save those nickels towards their retirement fund, that's all they deserve.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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© 2008, Greg Crosby