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Bill to dissolve Vernon overwhelmingly approved by state Assembly

Vernon's councilmen

The state Assembly on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would dissolve the city of Vernon.

The bill, which is the first known attempt by legislature to disincorporate a charter city, was passed on a vote of 60 to 7.

The legislation was authored by Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles), who described a “pattern of unprecedented corruption” in Vernon, a city of fewer than 100 residents. He vowed that his bill would create a more open government in the 5.2-square-mile industrial enclave and protect the 1,800 businesses located there.

“Members, we have an absolute obligation to make sure that we have transparent and accountable government at every level in the state of California,” he said.

Thursday’s debate also marked the first opposition to the bill from other legislators. Those urging a “no” vote included Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks), Curt Hagman (R-Chino Hills) and Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield). The three said they feared Perez’s bill would cause a loss in jobs.

We cannot afford to continue an assault on private business,” Grove said, adding that she wanted Perez to consider other methods of addressing problems in Vernon’s government.

In response, Perez again promised to add amendments to the bill to preserve the city’s utility rates and zoning. Vernon operates a municipal power business and has throughout its history accommodated heavy industry and manufacturing. A coalition of local business and labor groups have also opposed the bill, saying it would damage Vernon’s unique business climate.

But Perez also called the jobs argument a “scare-tactic” being used by the city and its team of lawyers and lobbyists in its attempts to derail the bill. His supporters echoed that claim.

“This bill is about attacking political corruption, and I think we all should be standing on that side,” said Jose Solorio (D-Anaheim). “Who’s to say that if we change the political environment, businesses won’t do better?”

Other representatives argued that Vernon’s municipal government should be eliminated because the city lacks an independent electorate. Most of its voters live in city-owned housing, they said, which prevents them from challenging city officials.

“We have the opportunity to make a statement to the people of California that corruption will not be tolerated,” said Cameron Smyth (R-Santa Clarita), the bill’s principal co-author.

The bill now moves to the state senate. It could be voted into law as early as September.


The living is easy for Vernon council members

Move to disincorporate Vernon could drive businesses away

Vernon ethics advisor says he was misled about ad

--Sam Allen

Photos: Members of the Vernon City Council are, from left, Mayor Hilario Gonzales, William McCormick, Daniel Newmire, William Davis and Richard Maisano. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

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Comments () | Archives (52)

Curt Hagman's vote has nothing to do with jobs. His district includes the city of Industry. If the legislature dissolves Vernon for corruption, then surely Industry must be considered as well.

Thanks to Rizzo, the thievery in Vernon will come to a halt as well!

Are the corrupt officials of Vernon Republicans or Democrats?

It's about time. This city is the icon for cronyism, political intimidation, fraud and corruption. There are so very few residents (it's at least 90% businesses) calling this a city is a canard.

The five officials in Vernon were running their own little "fiefdom". They should all be ashamed and prosecuted for living in city funded housing at below market rates, taking exhorbitant salaries for very little work for which most of them were not qualified, setting up expensive retirement plans, and enjoying expensive travel and meals on the taxpayers dime. And now they complain about transparency. Well guess who created the problem and the need for the transparency?

Good. It's not a real town when you have a giant pile of businesses and very few actual "residents". Though it is sort of amusing to see corporate personhood taken to such an extreme. Fake towns should not be given charters by the state.

Thanks LAT! Your continuing story on this has given me momentum in my LA Study. Honestly, thank you.

Paul, it doesn't matter, man. Get the bad ones out and the good ones in. This Rep./Dem. feud is a sham and it's divisive!

Make your own decisions and remove the unjust, regardless of Party.

"Are the corrupt officials of Vernon Republicans or Democrats?"

@Paul Isn't it obvious?

At last, the slimy L.A. politicians can get their grubby hands on Vernon's tax revenue. Hurray for L.A.!

1. Has there been any arrests or let alone, convictions with regards t "alleged corruption" within the City of Vernon? Nope.

2. Has any evidence been presented to a Grand Jury, regarding malfeasance in the City of Vernon? Nope.

3. Have hearings been held on this issue? I don't believe so.

The City of Los Angeles is looking (pardon the pun) for a cash cow. Vernon has meatpacking plants and because of the income that is generated by these firms, it means big revenue for the City, since licenses and permits are based upon gross revenue and are not a "fixed-fee."

This will probably be tied-up in the courts, before the City of Vernon's charter is revoked. I'll bet dollars to doughnuts the City Attorney has already hired outside counsel, such as Latham & Watkins or Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, to seek relief from the court.

This is a clear case of outsiders tryng to feather their own nests, with the revenue and potential revenue of another city.

This is just another liberal attack upon business. If they are worried about corruption, they why not dissolve Los Angeles? Simple, LA in the Left's pocket. It is funneling gobs of money to the Left. Vernon is, in the opinion of the Left, too business friendly. So they have to pay. Bell on the other hand, another Left enclave is ignored by they hacks in Sac.

I wonder who has their eye on the land in Vernon? How much money did they give to the Dems to destroy this town? Where is the LAT investigation? Those questions, and others will not be answered … at least until AFTER the city is dissolved and then the land is in the hands of 'fat cat' Dem supporters and the LAT can defend the corrupt process and people.

Why would businesses be afraid of removing a corrupt government unless they were complicit in some way? The stench of this whole affair may go deeper than just a couple of dirty politicians.

Hopefully this is the start of a trend to eliminate the ridiculous number of cities in Southern California.

Well why are they not disincorporating Los Angeles...Talk about corruption and flagrent government abuse Los Angeles has more of it than Vernon. One can look at any city department here and see what a complete and total failure that this city has become.

Well why are they not disincorporating Los Angeles...Talk about corruption and flagrent government abuse Los Angeles has more of it than Vernon. One can look at any city department here and see what a complete and total failure that this city has become.


"Are the corrupt officials of Vernon Republicans or Democrats?"

The city offices are non-partisan, but let's just think about that -- rich, corrupt businessmen and cronies -- which party are the rich and businessmen more likely to belong to?

Oh Yeah - according to your thinking, they must be Democrats.

More dollars for Villagarosa to piddle away on his illegals.

Re: the 3 who voted NO, there would be a job loss: The loss of the jobs of those pictures in this article. After that, there'll probably be a job gain!

There was a larger article about this city in the LA Times a few months back, perhaps. There are certainly two sides to the issue, and it is not just "corrupt" politicians in Vernon. It is the surrounding cities, municipalities, etc that want to do a "tax grab" and capture the money that the city generates by having very few residents and lots of industry in order to plug their budget holes that are a result of their own mismanagement and bloated government policies. What the majority of politicians in CA will never learn is that so many regulations, rules, and economic barriers to conducting business drive out companies and cost CA jobs. If they start to meddle, expect the same here.


City of industry must be dissolved, hope someone is looking into that.

There goes more jobs lost to other states now.

I'm glad the Assembly has noting better to do waste time on a matter over which it has NO CONTROL. The Assembly is not empowered to disband a legally incorporated city.

Florida did this in the face of local corruption. Boulogne, FL was a notorious speed trap town, which the AAA advised drivers to avoid. the Florida legislature stopped the incorrigible behavior by erasing the Boulogne's franchise. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boulogne,_Florida Another cite:
Ludowici, Ga., had this scheme: Locals would sit in the barber shop, and when an out-of-state car came to the local stop light, they would switch it suddenly to red, so the cops could issue a ticket. Ludowici should have suffered the same fate. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludowici,_Georgia
So, take a hint, Sacramento. Use the Big Eraser. There's precedent.

Looks like a bunch of homeless people on that city council....

go to victorville, they have the same city manager for 50+ years raking in over $200k per year,unemployment is about 20% there.

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