It's come to this: Some California civil servants making close to $1 million per year

Welcome to the city of Bell. Average income: $24,800, $8,000 less than the national average. Public debt per capita: $1,972, up from $599 six years ago. Average wage for the city’s leaders?

Well, that’s where things get nuanced.

An overflow crowd packed a City Council meeting in Bell, a mostly Hispanic city of 38,000 about 10 miles (16 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles, to call for the resignation of Mayor Oscar Hernandez and other city officials. Residents left standing outside the chamber banged on the doors and shouted “fuera,” or “get out” in Spanish.

It was the first council meeting since the Los Angeles Times reported July 15 that Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo earns $787,637 — with annual 12 percent raises — and that Bell pays its police chief $457,000, more than Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck makes in a city of 3.8 million people. Bell council members earn almost $100,000 for part-time work…

Bell’s general fund revenue declined 4.6 percent to $14.1 million for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2009, according to the city’s financial statement. The city’s expenses rose 2.3 percent to $15.9 million in same period.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has begun an inquiry into Bell council member pay, according to Dave Demerjian, head of the office’s Public Integrity Division. He said Bell council members were receiving $8,083 a month, mostly by serving on city-related commissions…

“It seems obscene to me,” De La Torre said in a telephone interview. “People making $30,000 a year are paying taxes so that their council members can make $80,000.”

Mayor Hernandez’s defense: “Our streets are cleaner, we have lovely parks, better lighting throughout the area, our community is better.” Worth every penny, baby. As enraged as most of you will be by this, you really should be grateful: This is precisely the sort of jawdropping freak-show case of government at the trough that concentrates the average voter’s mind on spending. A hundred posts about the myriad ways in which the public sector is fleecing the private sector aren’t as effective as one news story about a poor little city struggling to keep its municipal overlords rolling in dough. Thanks, Rizzo!

My friends, I fear there’s only one man capable of dealing with this situation. Via Cubachi…