Only Police Chief Randy Adams defended himself during a public council meeting last week, saying: "This is southeast L.A… Some of the former members of this department are in the federal penitentiary right now. They asked me to come in and make an assessment and bring in best practices to this police department, and I have diligently been trying to do that."
On Friday Mayor Oscar Hernandez broke his silence. In an open letter he attacked the LA Times for reporting the story and stood by Rizzo's salary.
"Unlike the skewed view of the facts, the Los Angeles Times presented to advance the paper's own agenda, a look at the big picture of city compensation shows that salaries of the city manager and other top city staff have been in line with similar positions over the period of their tenure," Hernandez said in the letter.
But Hernandez also recognized that the citizens were angry over the compensation.
"We recognize that today's economic climate and the financial hardships so many families are suffering put our past compensation decisions in a new light. To the residents of Bell, we apologize."
But that apology comes as little consolation to the people of Bell.
"Our government is not supposed to work that way," said resident Denise Rodarte at an earlier council meeting. "You guys are stealing from the poor, and you guys are laughing all the way to the bank."