Now that another chapter in the saga of the city of Bell corruption scandal has been closed, let's thank the Founding Fathers for the constitutional amendment that guarantees freedom of the press.
We see, in countless media investigations of wrongdoing by officials such as former Bell administrator Robert Rizzo, a shining beacon of hope for freedom, fair play and democracy. Without the media — more precisely, newspapers in America — we would be like a small ant being stepped on by a Herculean giant of institutional self-interest.
Thank you, Thomas Jefferson: You were quite astute when you insisted on including a Bill of Rights in the Constitution. It is saving our bacon now.
It's incredible that Rizzo's lawyer asked for special consideration in the sentencing because his client pleaded no contest to the charges against him. That's like a husband who murdered his wife pleading for mercy because he is now a lonely, disgraced widower.
None of the former Bell leaders would have stood before a judge if not for their greed and obvious disrespect for the community they were supposed to serve. Rizzo's apology rings hollow in my ears.
However, I do believe Rizzo is truly sorry — sorry for getting caught.
Ramona S. Saenz
Earlier in the week, U.S. District Judge George H. King sentenced Rizzo to 33 months in federal prison for tax fraud. Ordering that this sentence not be concurrently served with a state term, he said that Rizzo deserved no "bulk discount for criminal behavior."
So much for King's wishes. On Wednesday, L.A. County Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy talked big but gave Rizzo a reward for committing tax fraud. She is allowing him to serve his federal and state sentences concurrently.
I also note that Rizzo's roughly $116,000 annual pension is legally safe.
Warren Evan Larson
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