From today's San Francisco Chronicle article "Ex-officials convicted in Calif. corruption case:"
Five former city councilors in a small, blue-collar Los Angeles suburb that became a symbol of political greed were convicted Wednesday of stealing taxpayer money by creating a panel that helped boost their part-time pay to nearly $100,000 a year... The trial was the first such proceeding following revelations that Bell's leadership had bilked the hardscrabble city of $5.5 million, using the money to pay huge salaries to the city manager, police chief, City Council members and others... At the heart of the case is whether the six officials broke the law by paying themselves annual salaries of up to $100,000 to govern only part-time in the city of 36,000 people where one in four residents live below the poverty line.What's a novel about local council scheming? The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling:
When Barry Fairbrother dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils... Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town’s council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations? Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.
UPDATE: There's a good review of The Casual Vacancy on Novelicious (and also on Pagelady).