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Comments & Curiosities: Photojournalistic excellence

September 25, 2010|Peter Buffa

I knew it.

I never lost faith. I knew that if I waited long enough, we would get a hook into the city of Bell story, and on Tuesday morning, we did.

That was when former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo, who is presently between engagements, was arrested at his Huntington Beach home and got to do the perp walk from his front door to a police car waiting to whisk him away to the Los Angeles County Jail, which is not a good place to whisked to.

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Yes, I know. Everyone is worked up over Rizzo's base salary, which was just under $800,000, plus add-ons, which put him on track to make about $1.5 million a year. But you gotta admit, Bell got a lot of city manager for their money. If you break it down by the pound, it's not that much.

When Rizzo got the fateful knock on his Huntington Beach door, a news photographer managed to capture the moment that all of Bell had been waiting for in one of those classic, perfect-place-at-the-perfect-time shots that news photographers dream about. It shows Rizzo being led away in cuffs by a couple of burly investigators from the Los Angeles district attorney's office.

Rizzo looks totally and understandably bummed, head bowed, eyes down.

And who shot the homerun pick? Daily Pilot photographer Scott Smeltzer, that's who. How cool is that? Like any good shooter, Scott has a nose for news and a lens for the truth.

"When the call came that Rizzo was being arrested at his Huntington Beach home, I quickly jumped in my car and headed for the address I had been given," Smeltzer wrote in the Pilot's "Photo Of The Week" feature.

But it didn't take Scott long to realize that the address he had been given was wrong.

"By the time I got to his actual address, I was certain that I had missed the shot," Smeltzer wrote. "Fortunately for me, I got there just in time."

Two thumbs up, Scott, way up. Your shot may or may not win a Pulitzer, but I predict it will win something big, maybe a couple of something bigs.

But aside from the great pic, since it is my job to notice the things that normal people don't, what struck me was that Rizzo was sporting that excellent orange hair color that older guys and California governors seem to favor for some reason.

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