|Simpsons Episode Where|
Con Artist Tries to Fleece Springfield
With a Monorail Project
Because, in all likelihood the council members who gave those orders are getting a kickback. Here's how it works. ABC contracting company gets ten contracts for $125,000, which really a million dollar contract. ABC then gives several thousands of dollars back to the council members who approved it. (And later on, ABC says that the project estimate was too low and sends a bigger bill as the project goes on.) The City Manager gets a raise. Everyone's pockets are lined by having a useless project, except the residents are stuck with the bill.
Did this happen with Baldwin Park's new authority to give Shannon Yauchtzee the power to approve $125,000 in contracts? I think so.
The company that got the big contract is AAE. AAE is owned by a man named Sid Mousavi, who appears to be behind the corruption with the bribe deals with the Mayor of South El Monte, a neighboring City. A&E was also the same company that built a multistory useless parking structure that was never needed, or is hardly ever used.
The new project that's been approved is a bike trail. Although we have a few people who bike here, this isn't the bay area. People don't bike in Baldwin Park. Again, another useless project.
That's why I pasted the Simpson's Monorail Episode picture above. A con artist tries to sell the city a useless monorail project. When Bart and Lisa investigate other cities that had a monorail, they realize that other cities are so ashamed to talk about it, because they have a broken train and were fleeced all their money. Fortunately for Springfield, Bart and Lisa were able to foil the con artist.
Returning back to Baldwin Park's scheme: Did Shannon get a raise? Of course he did. A big one too. With benefits, we now estimate the City Manager of this City now makes close to $300,000. Baldwin Park CEO Gets 8% Raise I mean, isn't this all sounding like the City of Bell?
In the heyday of corruption int he City of Bell, the Council and Rizzo voted to become an independent charter city. What that really means is that they no longer needed to follow the general law, so they could spend as much as they want, and give raises to exorbitant amounts. It's estimated that Bell's CEO was making $1.5 million a year.
Baldwin Park is following a similar scheme. By the City Manager having such authority to approve contracts, big projects don't have come up for vote or on the agenda. So, people don't know that money is being filtered through big contractors. (This is another reason to keep the Public Records Act in full enforcement, which I haven't had much luck with recently.)
When the Tribune asked Council Member Pacheco why former staff accused him of corruption, he responded, "It was an outrageous lie what he said about me." Pacheco also said that reinstating the $10,000 cap for services would slow down city business because most of the projects done by AAE and the other two firms cost more than $10,000 each. Pacheco also says he can't remember pulling off the issue of why AAE didn't have to go out for bid.
You can read the local newspaper's detailed coverage of the story here. Why a bike trail for a City that doesn't need one?
I wish I had some witty quote to end with, but all of these rampant schemes are so blatant and out in broad daylight. We just need those involved to be prosecuted; otherwise, we're living in unbearable conditions, where council members like Pacheco are raising taxes, taking our money, and inventing ways to put it back in his pocket. It's a complex form of stealing in my opinion.