BASTA Leadership Demands Interim CAO Pedro Carrillo be Terminated,
His Replacement Must Include the Community’s Input
Over the last several months the office of the State Controller’s John Chiang has been conducting an extensive audit of Bell’s finances during the Robert Rizzo Regime. Yesterday his audit brought into question $710,459 of state and federal expenditures made between July 2008 and August 2010. The report states that these payments “were made without a valid contract or were outside the scope of the contract. In addition none of the goods or services was procured through competitive bids.”
These companies included Great Western Park and Playground ($199,528), MBH Architects & SMS Architects ($180,368), Medina Construction ($56,854), D&J Engineering ($99,882), Graffiti Protective Coating, Inc ($99,542), Relia-Tech ($74,285). Additionally the controller’s report found that these type of issues also existed with $220,000 in payments to the current Interim CAO’s firm Urban & Associates, Inc. The audit points to the fact that neither the city staff, nor the interim CAO have provided any records that these contracts were generated in an ethical manner.
BASTA leadership is very disturbed by these findings as they raise serious questions about conflict of interest, favoritism, and ties to the Rizzo Regime by current interim CAO Pedro Carrillo. Moreover, the community and BASTA have clearly been asking for full disclosure from Mr. Carrillo as to the scope of his involvement with Robert Rizzo. His failure to self-disclose shows his disregards for the community needs.
BASTA acknowledges that Mr. Carrillo has worked hard to meet almost all of our demands to rid the city of individuals and practices connected to the Rizzo regime, but the latest revelation raises serious concerns and further fuels mistrust of Mr. Carrillo. Without trust, good governance cannot be achieved. Moreover, we feel that the only way to build trust between the residents of Bell and city officials is through change, thus BASTA demands the termination of Mr. Carrillo as interim CAO and anyone else connected to the Rizzo regime.
BASTA also demands that the current council work to appoint a qualified city manager in an open and transparent process that includes the community’s input. BASTA demands that the new city manager have no connection to past or current councilmembers or administrators, and should have extensive experience as a city manager as opposed to a political appointee. Moreover a committee of community members should immediately be created to help select the new interim city manager. The candidate selected needs to establish open and transparent communication.
BASTA will not stand for anything less than Bell city officials following due process and using a code of best practices to make appointments and grant contracts.
All BASTA representatives are unpaid volunteers. BASTA remains committed to financial transparency and believes is it crucial to leave the ugly, divisive politics of the Rizzo regime behind. That only worked to divide us, not make us a strong, vibrant city capable of local control. We invite anyone who has a difference of opinion with us to sit down with us and discuss it. We remain committed to doing all in our power to Take Back Bell.
BASTA welcomes our community and others interested in reviewing our demands for transparency to visit our website at BASTA4bell.com
BASTA is a coalition of Bell residents, the Bell Police Officer’s Association and AFSCME Council 36 who are committed to restoring ethical and honest governance to the City of Bell.
May 21, 2010
Has the Mojave Cross have been removed for good?
A cross replacing the original at the Mojave Desert war memorial has been declared illegal and taken down.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that the 9th Circuit overstepped its bounds when it ruled the cross must be removed. Since then, the memorial had remained covered with a plywood box until it was stolen on May 9.
Linda Slater, public information officer with the Mojave National Preserve, said the cross that mysteriously appeared last week was unauthorized.
"The main reason that we can't put a replacement cross up or allow one to be put up," she said, "is because we are under court order to not display a cross on Sunrise Rock."
Kelly Shackelford, president and CEO of Liberty Institute, said his team will work to convince the Justice Department to replace the cross.
"That's not a proper act to take," he said. "Our veterans deserve more than that, and that memorial needs to be put back up."
An anonymous donation means there is a $125,000 reward posted for tips leading to the conviction of whoever stole the cross that served as a memorial to Americans who served during World War I.
A decorated military veteran offered $100,000 for the reward, said Kelly Shackelford, chief counsel for Liberty Institute. That figure was added to the previous $25,000 offer.
The cross stood at Sunrise Rock, which is about 15 miles south of the 15 Freeway along Cima Road in the Mojave National Preserve.