Sure we use a bit of hyperbole over here at LA Weekly. But we weren't kidding when we told you there's some corruption in this town.
Building inspectors have been accused of bribery (at least one was convicted). We have a mayor who took lots of valuable, free tickets to high-end events like the Oscars without reporting them as gifts. And now the county assessor is being investigated for giving favorable property value estimations to contributors.
Now, we're not saying we don't like a juicy story when we see it. But word, apparently, has gotten around that L.A. is a dirty girl (and we wanted her all to ourselves):
A recent University of Illinois study titled Chicago and Illinois: Leading the Pack in Corruption places L.A. in a solid second place as far as urban corruption in the United States goes. A summary states:
… The number of public-corruption convictions in the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago) leads all other districts with 1,531 convictions since 1976. The two closest contenders were the Central District of California (Los Angeles) with 1,275 convictions, and the Southern District of New York (Manhattan) with 1,202 convictions.
In your face, New York.
Over the weekend, Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez wrote that we should be the true champions:
We cannot accept this, folks. With just a little more effort, I think we can knock Chicago off the top of the leader board.
But if you look at the study's breakdown of numbers from 2000 to 2009 we actually beat Chicago and New York with 383 federal public corruption convictions during that more recent time frame.
Yes we can!
Read the whole study here.