In the wonderful world of City Hall’s corruption, the insiders win even when they lose.
Take the case of Chris Essel, the secretary at Paramount Pictures who became the company’s lobbyist and head of the Central City Association which qualified her to be the City Hall political machine’s candidate last year of Council District 2 even though she didn’t actually live there.
IBEW union bully boy Brian D’Arcy and other pigs who feed at the trough of City Hall poured a fortune into her campaign only to see her lose to Paul Krekorian who successfully wooed CD2′s activist community and remains popular after nearly a year in office.
It was a triumph of the people over the machine but Essel came out a winner.
Instead of a measly $180,000 a year as one of the nation’s highest paid big city elected officials, Essel was named to head the Community Redevelopment Agency — the fountain of taxpayer dollars that flows so generously into the hands of wealthy and well-connected developers, insures all construction is done by union labor and facilitates the densifying or our neighborhoods.
That she lacked real qualifications for the job didn’t matter since interim CRA chief executive officer
So what is Essel’s deal for her commitment to public service?
She draws an annual salary of $223,256 plus a monthly subsidy for health insurance of $1,110.38 her.CalPERS pension contribution is entirely paid by the Agency,
including 7% of which is the “employee share,.” according to the official city file.
Then, there’s life insurance up to her salary plus $100 monthly to buy more, disability insurance, 12 days of sick leave, three weeks vacation, 12 holidays plus 20 hours of floating holidays, 8 days leave, a free insured car or $500 a month if she uses her own car and several tax avoidance benefits.
Not bad for a loser.
Of course, Essel is just one among thousands, which should help explain why libraries and parks are closed, other core public services be gutted and the city teetering on bankruptcy.