SHERRY BEBITCH JEFFE, senior fellow, USC’s Price School of Public Policy.
This op-ed originally appeared at Prop Zero.
On the same day that the passing of Andy Griffith, the beloved TV sheriff of fictional Mayberry — that perfect epitome of small-town values — made front page news, the above-the-fold, page A1 headline in the Los Angeles Times read: “Office Seekers Recall Cudahy Intimidation.”
As part of an ongoing probe of alleged civic corruption in Cudahy, Calif. –a small, working-class community — the FBI uncovered evidence of election fraud. Three local officials had already been arrested on bribery charges.
Clearly, we don’t live in Mayberry.
Cudahy is only one example of a pattern of civic dysfunction that includes fiscal mismanagement and just plain corruption, which has long bedeviled smaller California cities, particularly in eastern LA County.