Bell Was Paying Big Salaries With Help Of Towing Fees

Last week we heard from Bell residents that the city was able to pay exorbitant salaries to the city manager (nearly $800,000), assistant city manager ($376,000) and police chief ($457,000) in part because of its extreme ticketing and towing policy.

According to this Times report, that's apparently the case.

The city has very restrictive parking policies in its neighborhoods, but is also apparently quick to tow the cars of unlicensed drivers. A police officer who has filed a wrongful dismissal suit wrote a letter to the city attorney saying he couldn't participate in the practice of unfair towing.

The city took in at least $652,000 in revenue related to towing cars during the fiscal year that ended June 30. (That's nearly enough for a Bell city manager!) It appears much of it was money collected from unlicensed drivers whose cars were towed after they were stopped. The city is believed to have a significant population of illegal immigrants who can't get valid driver's licenses.

In other Bell news, the city is in some cases refusing to turn over some public records to residents or the Times, without explanation.

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