New Horizons for City of Bell

city of bellWhen you mention the City of Bell, people immediately remember the scandals that garnered national attention. From a city of just two square miles and fewer than 40,000 people, the high salaries, high property taxes, voter fraud, and even mismanagement of city administration seemed unimaginable. How was this level of corruption possible? Why had this gone on for so long?

Some blamed low voter turnout, lack of newspaper resources to cover the story until 2010, lack of government transparency, and some even blamed greed. It has to be a combination of these factors – and only one thing to look forward to – solutions. That’s why we were so excited when Ana Maria Quintana, a Councilmember of the City of Bell elected in 2011, reached out this fall to start talking to California Common Cause about what kinds of reforms might help the City of Bell and serve as an example for other cities.

What can we do to build trust again with voters? What can be done to create more transparency in our government and elections? What can we do to create a government that works for the people?

We started to brainstorm possible reform options:

  • Creating a better disclosure database online to track campaign contributions
  • Creating a matching funds or public financing system in the city and incentivize small dollar contributions
  • Synchronizing elections to match up with statewide primary and general elections to increase voter turnout
  • Promoting voluntary expenditure limits and better disclosure on independent expenditure ads.

anjuli kronheimana maria quintanaThese are just some of the ideas we came up with and we’re excited to continue the conversation and work with the community to see what they are looking for.

We’d love to bring more people into this discussion – what ideas do you have for reform in the City of Bell? What gets you excited? Leave comments below and stay tuned for updates coming soon!

Anjuli Kronheim and Ana Maria Quintana
Common Blog 

Anjuli Kronheim is an LA organizer with Common Cause California and Ana Maria Quintanais a Councilmember of the City of Bell.

Pub;ished: Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Published by the LA Progressive on September 26, 2012
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About Anjuli Kronheim

Anjuli Kronheim is from Philadelphia, where she first was turned onto activism when she was sixteen. She took a summer job canvassing for Greenpeace. She went to Ithaca College, studied Politics and Environmental Studies. From there, she joined Green Corps. During this program, she went to Des Moines; Boston; and finally to New York, organizing grassroots campaigns to impact environmental change. She moved to Los Angeles in September 2009 and ran to the rescue of OhioACT to fight the Issue 2 ballot initiative, which was corporate agriculture taking control of the Ohio Constitution. She is currently the Regional Organizer for Bend the Arc Southern California.