Bell Grifter Mayor Defense: It's Not Your Fault If You're Rolling In Stolen Money As Long As You Are Dumb
Haha we had forgotten about this whole saga with Bell, the unincorporated little village/hamlet/town/whatever they call them in Southern California where the city council paid themselves a metric fuckton of money by screwing the poor and working class immigrants who lived there and making up a bunch of invisible "boards" to sit on. We don't know about you, but all of yr Wonkette is now trying to get elected to a tiny city council somewhere so we can be mad with power and rolling in money. Well, until we get caught, in which case we will blame literallyeveryone else on the planet while our defense attorney explains it's not our fault, we are just stupid, like Dan Quayle and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The unschooled and illiterate former mayor of the scandal-ridden suburban city of Bell had no training that would have alerted him that his huge salary was illegal, his lawyer told a jury in closing arguments Thursday.
Hernandez is among six former Bell city officials charged with misappropriating funds. He was earning just under $100,000 a year for the part-time job.
Friedman argued that financial advisers hired by the city could have informed Hernandez that salaries being paid to council members were illegal, but no one did that.
"They didn't say, 'Stop in the name of the law. These salaries are illegal,'" he said.
(Thank us later for including that last line and song-poisoning you all with the Supremes.) Yep. The uneducated simply have no conception of money. They can't look around and see that they make three-and-a-half times the salary of everyone else in their town. They just can't conceive of how they are rolling in money while everyone else is struggling to get by. They think everyone has several (!!) sweet-ass no-show gigs that meet once a year just to say they're a city commission and otherwise just exist to collect money, delicious money. Really, the whole thing is the fault of the super-nefarious city manager:
...much of the defense's testimony and questions over the last month revolved around Rizzo and a culture he fostered that put a "firewall between him and the council," as one attorney said.
The three defendants who testified described Rizzo as a detail-oriented city manager with a head for finance who made major changes in the city's appearance. Yet, they said, he also used money to hold sway over council members.
Look. We've no doubt that the city manager was also an evil thieving bastard [Editrix note: he is] but we seriously just CANNOT get behind the notion that anyone is genius enough to trick regular folk into thinking that doing nothing for your incredible amount of money is the norm. The good people of California can convict everyone involved in this, so why choose?
The attorney for the not-smart-but-super-rich mayor also tried a...novel tactic in his closing arguments: saying tons of politicians are unqualified:
Friedman echoed that argument on Thursday. He added that Hernandez was known around town for being willing to listen to everyone's problems. Like many other politicians of simple backgrounds, he wasn't required to be scholarly to be mayor, he said.
"We elect people who have a good heart. Someone who can listen to your problems and look you in the eye," Friedman said. "There are a lot of elected officials who may not be the most scholarly. We had a vice president of the United States who didn't know how to spell potato."
Friedman said former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's main qualification was "he portrayed a killer robot in the movies. And (former Minnesota Gov.) Jesse Ventura was a professional wrestler."
OK some of yr Wonkette are lawyers, and we can say that this does NOT seem like a winning argument. Other people that ran states were dumb, so it is cool that this guy was elected in spite of the dumb, but you should let him off the hook for the dumb. Also: Ah-nuld libel! What about his tender role as spy dad in True Lies? What about Conan the Barbarian? THE MAN HAS RANGE. How DARE you say he is only known for being a killer robot. Also, too: Jesse Ventura libel! He's a wrestler-actor double threat! He was Captain Freedom in Running Man! Get your facts straight, stupid defense attorney!
Takeaway, Wonkettians: Be dumb, get elected, get money, but then for the love of god be smart enough just to skip town.