L.A. Catching Up to Chicago in Sleaze
Panning for gold in the local cesspool is always lucrative, but it’s been one fat nugget after another lately.
We’ve got Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa marketing himself for his next job before he finishes this one; City Atty. Carmen Trutanich insisting he’s not the liar he appears to be; auto painters at the DWP making $109,192 a year while the agency guns for a rate hike; and Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez under investigation for an alleged scandal involving tax breaks for clients represented by his friend.
And now comes a study revealing that Greater Los Angeles is the second most corrupt metro region in the United States.
We cannot accept this, folks. With just a little more effort, I think we can knock Chicago off the top of the leader board.
In the “most corrupt” study, by University of Illinois professor Dick Simpson and his colleagues, our No. 2 ranking has a lot to do with the huge population of the area they analyzed, which includes not just Los Angeles County, but also Riverside, Orange, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and San Bernardino counties. In per capita rankings, we fall back to ninth place. But still, we managed to rack up an impressive 1,275 federal convictions since 1976 (to Chicago’s 1,531) for extortion, bribery, conflicts of interest and election crimes involving elected officials, government workers and the private citizens with whom they did their dirty deeds.
And those numbers don’t include charges like the Los Angeles County district attorney’s pending cases against the city of Bell rascals who got hauled away in handcuffs. In Illinois, the state doesn’t prosecute public corruption, only the feds do. So we may actually have Chicago beat.
Why so many scoundrels here?