Battling over the disincorporation of the small city of Vernon is heating up. While Assembly Speaker John Perez has got over 100 legislators to sign on as co-authors to a piece of legislation that would dissolve the local government, two powerful Los Angeles groups have come out against AB 46. The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor have sent letters to the speaker to emphasize the economic impact of disbanding the city and the Federation of Labor is looking to preserve union jobs. Notably, on an 8-0 vote, the bill already passed the Assembly Local Government Committee. It is likely that the bill will go before the full Assembly in the summer or fall. You can read one of the letters that was sent to Perez below.
In other Vernon-related news, the LA Times has released a new report on the city and the large salaries, excellent benefits, and below-market housing rentals that its council members enjoy. An excerpt reads:
“Critics cite the lifestyle the councilmen and other top officials enjoy as evidence that the city is a fiefdom run for the benefit of its ruling clique. […] The five councilmen live in city-owned homes and apartments, paying below-market rents of $147 to $236 a month. As Vernon's leaders, they are both renters and landlords. At least two councilmen have family members or friends who also live in Vernon housing. Contested elections are rare, and all but one of Vernon's five sitting councilmen was appointed to his post. The last time someone won their seat in the small industrial town in an actual election, Richard Nixon was president.”
Council members reportedly earn around $70,000 a year, despite the city having a population of less than 100. Mayor Hilario Gonzales recently acknowledged that the city needed reforms but that it would not happen overnight. Read the full article here.Perez