As the first trial of the Bell conspirators wraps up, many are using the Southern California example to spur a moment of self reflection. In an opinion article, the Visalia Times-Delta says that the Bell scandal provides a powerful lesson in civilian oversight.

What happened in Bell is certainly one of the most shocking storylines in recent years of local government. And that it happened in the heart of Los Angeles might prove even more surprising. But, as the Editorial writer says in the article, anywhere that citizens are too busy or too disconnected to care can breed corruption.

That the former City Council members are pleading that they were so ignorant of the law that they didn’t know they were breaking it further proves how disconnected the working-class city was from its leaders.

The first line of defense is a well-informed and willingly involved public.

Read the full article from the Visalia Times-Delta.