Accused Bell City Official’s New Gig: Parking Lot Attendant

Man, oh man. If you’re looking for the flip side to the recent mostly-feelgood story of Ted Williams, the Columbus, Ohio homeless man who rocketed to fame via YouTube, we’ve got it for you, courtesy of LA Times city columnist Steve Lopez.

After being tipped that Robert “Ratso” Rizzo, the allegedly crooked Bell city administrator on payroll until recently for $800,000 a year, was spotted working as a parking lot attendant at the International Surfing Museum in Huntington Beach, Lopez cruised down to take a look. Sure enough, per the fantastically framed photo below, it’s him (great work, Don Bartletti!).

Call it a wild guess, but I’m betting Rizzo wasn’t working as a parking attendant out of the goodness of his heart. It made me wonder if it might have something to do with his arrest last March in Huntington Beach after crashing through a mailbox with a tank full of booze.

I checked with Orange County authorities, who said that Rizzo still has to complete 80 hours of community service by April as part of a sentence that includes three years’ probation. So I asked Rizzo if the parking gig was for the DUI rap. “I volunteer,” he said.

The article is absolutely hilarious, with one of many highlights being the dirty look Lopez apparently got when he asked Rizzo whether or not he surfs. It’s also pretty funny that Rizzo’s main attendant responsibility is making sure locals don’t try to dishonestly avail themselves of the free parking.

It will be interesting to see now how long Rizzo hangs around the lot.

Update – 01/13/01: The resulting media attention from the Lopez piece has apparently led the museum to cut Rizzo from the volunteering ranks.