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High city salaries fuel anger in Bell

July 17, 2010 |  9:25 am

At Veterans Memorial Park in Bell, Leticia Arellano, 37, could not find the words to express her anger over the salaries of the City Council and top city administrators.

Watching her son running in the park, she said she had brought her son to play in the water area of the park, but for an unknown reason the city had cut the hours to the play area earlier.

“Before it was 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., now it is 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.,” she said.

Nearby, children ran, pouring water from bottles onto themselves, others using water soakers. Arellano complained that city services are not good --and the schools are overcrowded.

The Times reported Thursday that Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo earns nearly twice the salary of President Obama, Police Chief Randy Adams gets paid about 50% more than Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, and Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia receives more than the chief executive for Los Angeles County.

Rizzo makes $787,637, Adams makes $457,000 and Spaccia makes $376,288.

Bell is being investigated by the Los Angeles County district attorney's office over the compensation of its City Council members, who receive about $100,000 a year for their part-time positions. In a city the size of Bell, a council member is typically paid about $400 a month, according to state records.

Bell resident Douglas Waugh said he was infuriated when he learned that city officials in his small city had some of the highest salaries in the nation.   

“They think we’re stupid,” Waugh said standing outside of his home.  “They get into power and talk to us like little kids and they think we’re ignorant, but we’re not.” 

Watch more comments from residents in the video above.

-- Ruben Vives in Bell