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Claremont Courier - A Local Nonprofit Newsroom

Back Page 3.22.13

TRUER WORDS WERE NEVER SPOKEN

Rep. Michele Bachmann came under fire for her comments at the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC, held last week. 

The Washington Post’s fact-checker, Glenn Kessler, gave Ms. Bachmann “Four Pinocchios” for what he characterized as outrageous accusations made against President Barack Obama, including that the president employs 5 chefs on Air Force One as well as 2 projectionsists to operate the White House movie theater.

“[The movie projectionists] regularly sleep at the White House in order to be readily available in case the first family wants a really, really late show,” Ms. Bachmann related to the CPAC crowd. “And I don’t mean to be petty here, but can’t they just push the play button?”

A recent book by a Republican lobbyist titled The $1.4 Billion Man was referenced by Ms. Bachmann, who also purported that “We are also the ones who are paying for someone to walk the president’s dog, paying for someone to walk the president’s dog?”

Mr. Kessler noted that the White House groundskeeper helps take care of the Obamas dog, “just as the same guy has done for every presidential dog since Richard Nixon’s Irish Setter, King Timahoe.”

Mr. Kessler also noted that the annual cost of operating the White House during the George W. Bush years was $1.6 billion. Suprisingly, Ms. Bachmann didn’t mention this in her speech.

The whopper of the day, according to Mr. Kessler, was Ms. Bachmann’s chastising of the egregious financial waste within the federal food stamp program. She suggests that 70 percent of the food stamp funding goes to “bureaucrats.”

Mr. Kessler’s fact-check resulted in his comment, “That’s one particularly lean anti-poverty program in which less than 6 percent of the program is spent on administrative costs.”

As of yet, neither Ms. Bachmann nor her staff have publicly responded.

 

STRANGE BREW

Espiau’s on Yale Avenue and First Street posted a warning to tipsy drivers leaving their establishment on St. Patrick’s Day. A sign taped to the inside of the door read, “Check point: South on Indian Hill.”

 

CLean Water, Clean Beaches measure tabled

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to table the Clean Water, Clean Beaches Measure after receiving comments from cities, residents and businesses.

The Claremont City Council urged residents to write in voicing their opposition to the measure, which purported to raise property taxes. It was projected that 40 percent of the proposed tax returns would go to the city, 50 percent of the fee would be allocated to an appointed watershed authority group established for water quality improvement programs and the remaining 10 percent of the fee revenues would be used by the Los Angeles County Flood Control District for water quality monitoring, research, technical assistance and administration. The LA County Flood Control District already collects fees from residents, some of whom maintained the measure was an attempt at double-dipping.

 

FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

Jurors in the city of Bell corruption trial have reached a verdict in the case against 6 former council members accused of misappropriating public funds.

Defendants Luis Artiga, Victor Bello, George Cole, Oscar Hernandez, Teresa Jacobo and George Mirabal, who drew annual salaries of nearly $100,000, were found guilty. They await sentencing.

Defense attorneys claimed that former city administrator Robert Rizzo controlled the city and was the mastermind of the alleged corruption.

Mr. Rizzo’s annual compensation was $1.5 million, with an estimated $650,000 a year expected from CalPERS and more than $1 million a year overall after a second pension from the city of Bell was included.

CalPERS, in 2011, cut Mr. Rizzo’s pension, and that of his assistant city manager Angela Spaccia, after an audit determined that their pensions were “improperly inflated,” according to the Los Angeles Times. To add insult to injury, Mr. Rizzo had also cashed out 107 vacation days and 36 sick days in one year.

The city of Bell, where residents have an average income of $40,000 per year, pay the second-highest property tax rate in Los Angeles County.

Until next time,

Sammy

sammy@claremont-courier.com

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