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Bill To Dissolve 'Corruption-Plagued' Vernon, City Of 95
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A bill to dissolve the barely-there city of Vernon was introduced yesterday by Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, and Assemblyman Cameron Smythe, R-Santa Clarita, reports FOX LA.
The town of about 95 residents has been overrun with corruption and for decades ruled racket-style by a few families and their associates. "Government needs to be held accountable at every level -- local, state and federal," Perez said in a speech. "The city of Vernon, in my own district, provides another example of why this is true. For years, the entrenched leaders of that city have operated with impunity and no accountability."
He went on condemn Vernon for abuse of taxpayers trust and called the city a bad neighbor to surrounding communities. The 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," reports the LA Times. If passed, Vernon would become an unincorporated area and its assets would be transferred to the county.
Officials in Vernon are questioning if the Legislature has the authority to dissolve their city. Some Vernon officials made between $500,000 and $1 million every year since 2005, some as much as $1.65 million in current years, reports the LA Times. Vernon City Administrator Mark Whitworth issued a statement on Friday asserting that dissolving the city would mean a loss of thousands jobs and hundreds of millions in tax revenues.
Vernon was founded in 1905, and its leaders -- including longtime, scandal making Mayor Leonis Malburg's grandfather -- began dealing with charges of voter fraud in the 1940s.