Legislature will try to dissolve Vernon; city leaders call move illegal
The effort to disband the city of Vernon will take a major step forward this week when state Assembly Speaker John Pérez introduces a bill that would effectively require the industrial town to become an unincorporated part of Los Angeles County.
The bill, to be introduced Monday, stems from a series of corruption scandals in the city in recent years, including the indictment of Vernon's former city administrator in October. Critics have said the town of about 95 residents has been controlled for decades by a small cadre of families and their associates.
L.A. County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley and other local officials have talked about the need for radical change in Vernon, but this is the first time the Legislature will consider aggressive action against the city.
"The issue here is about the complete lack of transparency and accountability in Vernon," Pérez said. "We cannot tolerate a situation where a handful of individuals are able to use an entire city as their own personal fiefdom."
Pérez's bill would mandate that any city with fewer than 150 residents disincorporate. Vernon is the only city in California with fewer than 150 residents, according to the state Department of Finance. If the bill is approved, Vernon's city government would be dissolved and its assets would be transferred to the county.
Records from the League of California Cities show that two California cities have been disincorporated by statute in the last century, and their residents did not actively oppose dissolution.
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-- Sam Allen
Map: Vernon, highlighted in dark blue, is by far the least populated for the 26 communities in the southeast region (light blue) of L.A. County. Click for more details on demographics, schools and crime in Mapping L.A.