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Corruption Can Kill A City

Thursday, Apr. 28, 2011

With the exception of Bell, California, the city of Vernon has garnered more headlines than most cities of its size. The latest news is the worst yet: the California Assembly voted today to dissolve the city of 112 persons.

If passed by the Senate, the town of 5.2 square miles would be the first “disincorporation” in 40 years.

The city has been mired in political controversy for years. Elections were uncontested for 25 years, and the former city manager was indicted last year for conflict of interest violations. Runaway salaries allowed Eric T. Fresch, the former city attorney and city administrator, to earn more than $1 million for four consecutive years.

Assembly Speaker John Perez, who sponsored Assembly Bill 46, called Vernon “a city in no 'normal sense of the word' with no parks, no libraries and residents nearly all connected to the local government. AB 46 ends the cycle of corruption and abuse in Vernon - while protecting the jobs of the thousands of people who work there." The vote was 62 to 7.

Control over the city would be transferred to Los Angeles County, but not without a fight from lobbyists who represent businesses and labor groups.

Tags: California, City of Bell, City of Vernon, conflicts of interests, corruption

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