Pérez said there was an "unprecedented pattern of corruption" in Vernon, a city of fewer than 100 residents that has faced criticism for generations that it is run as a personal fiefdom for a small clique. Perez's bill would make Vernon an unincorporated area overseen by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, a move he said would result in a more open government.
Thursday 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). All three said they feared Pérez's bill would cause a loss of jobs in Vernon.
"We cannot afford to continue an assault on private business," Grove said, adding that she wanted Pérez to consider other methods of addressing problems in Vernon's government.
"We keep hearing that jobs are going to leave.... Yet at no point have we heard exactly why that would happen, or how," said Cameron Smyth (R-Santa Clarita), the bill's principal co-author. Smyth also pointed out that Vernon's electricity rates recently rose due to market conditions. The rates are one of the key benefits local business groups have cited in their arguments against the bill.
Other representatives focused their comments on Vernon's unusual municipal government. Nearly all of the voters in Vernon live in city-owned residences, and legislators argue that the arrangement leaves them beholden to City Hall.
Assemblyman Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) described Vernon as a "long-running joke" where "voter-choice and independence never existed."
"We all here ran for office; we convinced voters to elect us," Bradford said during the debate. "That does not happen in the city of Vernon."
Pérez noted that the city has held only one competitive election since the 1980s and that all but one of the City Council members were appointed to their seats. He also listed a series of criminal indictments against Vernon officials dating to the 1940s.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Legislature Approves Anti-Feudalism Bill
by M. Bouffant at 20:15
Oh, you mock. You think that's some sort of a joke, or hyperbole. For once, it isn't.