Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sacramento Bee: Powerful LA Groups Oppose City of Vernon Dissolution

Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

Two powerful Los Angeles groups are turning thumbs down on legislation to dissolve the tiny city of Vernon that is being pushed by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez and is co-authored by nearly 100 of the state's 120 legislators.

The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce is announcing its opposition to Assembly Bill 46 today, and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor is opposed to the measure unless it can be amended to preserve existing union jobs in Vernon.

"There is great anxiety about the long-term viability of (businesses) if Vernon if disincorporated and becomes a part of unincorporated Los Angeles County or is annexed by an adjacent city," the chamber wrote to Pérez.

Major changes proposed by the Vernon business community should be given a chance to transform the city's governance before disincorporation is considered, the chamber's letter said.

AB 46 cleared its first legislature hurdle without a no vote this month, passing the Assembly Local Government Committee, 8-0.

Pérez, in targeting Vernon, contends that the city is riddled with corruption and that its leaders have created a perpetual ruling class because the city owns and controls who lives in many of the several dozen housing units within its 5 square miles.

Vernon sparked headlines last year for the indictment of former city manager Donal O'Callaghan on conflict of interest charges, and for a probe by the attorney general's office into issues that included massive pay for the city's leaders in years past.

Only about 100 people live in Vernon, but more than 50,000 work in the unusual city, which was designed as an industrial hub and incorporated in 1905.

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