I want to concentrate some of the stories I've collected regarding Vernon Calif. - Today's company town.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/30/vernon-california-disincorporation_n_941828.htmlVernon, California Saved From Disincorporation
By JULIET WILLIAMS 08/30/11 01:03 AM ET
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The California Senate voted on Monday against dissolving
the troubled Los Angeles-area city of Vernon,
hours after the Internal Revenue Service notified city officials that it was auditing a $419 million tax-exempt bond deal.
The bill by Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles
, failed the Senate on a 17-13 vote. Perez said the city of fewer than 100 residents is too corrupt to function properly
, even if it makes major reforms.
Vernon is one of several small Los Angeles suburbs, including Bell and Temple City, where top officials have been accused of using their positions to line their own pockets. Three top Vernon officials have been convicted of corruption charges for misusing public funds, and some employees and contractors have taken home nearly $1 million a year.
Democrats were torn between the speaker's legislation and a counter-proposal by Sen. Kevin de Leon, another Los Angeles Democrat who last week proposed a laundry list of reforms the city should make in order to stave off disincorporation. City officials approved many of those plans at a special council meeting last week.
...http://articles.latimes.com/2011/sep/09/local/la-me-vernon-20110909Vernon audit is ordered by Legislature
The examination will focus on the city's finances and conduct over the last five years as well as ongoing reforms. It's expected to be completed in April.September 09, 2011
|By Sam Allen, Los Angeles TimesThe state Legislature approved an audit of the city of Vernon on Thursday, a week after lawmakers rejected a controversial plan to disband the city
The audit, requested by state Sen. Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles), will examine the city's finances and conduct over the last five years as well as its ongoing reforms, De León's office said. It is expected to be completed in April.
De León's request came in response to a Times' story on recent investment losses in Vernon's power business. Since 2005, the city has suffered a $130-million decline in net assets and amassed close to $500 million in debt.
During the same period, Vernon's expenditures on salaries and legal fees rose steadily. Five city officials made more than $500,000 a year, and City Council members were among the highest paid in the state.
The industrial city, just south of downtown L.A., is home to roughly 1,800 businesses but only 112 residents. Most of the residents live in homes owned by City Hall.
...http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2011/04/28/1990785/california-assembly-oks-bill-to.htmlCalifornia Assembly OKs bill to dissolve beleaguered city of Vernon - Thursday, Apr. 28, 2011
Thursday's 58-7 vote showed that Vernon's high-powered lobbying is paying dividends: Three lawmakers listed as co-authors of AB 46 voted against the bill and nine others abstained.
Fred MacFarlane, Vernon spokesman, said prospects for derailing AB 46 may be better in the Senate.
...AB 46 could make the minuscule but tax-rich city a prime takeover target by Los Angeles or other neighboring cities
The legislation would place Vernon under the immediate control of Los Angeles County. Any future annexation attempts would be decided by the local agency formation commission.Perez proposed AB 46 in response to what he calls an "unacceptable and unprecedented level of corruption" in Vernon
, an industrial hub of fewer than 100 people that generates more than $300 million in state and local taxes.The Los Angeles Democrat contends that Vernon is a virtual fiefdom where leaders handpick their colleagues: Four of five current City Council members joined the panel as appointees, not election winners.
Because the city owns most of Vernon's housing stock, it controls who resides in the city - renting to friends, relatives and supporters, many of whom say little about political corruption
, Perez said.Vernon sparked headlines last year for the indictment of former city manager Donal O'Callaghan on conflict of interest charges
, and for an investigation by the attorney general's office into issues that included massive pay for the city's leaders in years past.Six Vernon officials received more than $500,000 in compensation in one or more of the years between 2005 and 2010, city records show.http://www.joplinglobe.com/national/x415197885/Embattled-California-city-of-Vernon-in-a-battle-to-survive
March 2, 2011 Embattled California city of Vernon in a battle to survive ( Ca bill AB 46 )
Anonymous From MCT The Joplin Globe Wed Mar 02, 2011, 02:25 PM CST
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California’s tiniest city is fighting to survive — literally — by launching a big-money brawl pitting some of the Capitol’s most powerful players against Assembly Speaker John A. Perez.Perez sparked the fight by proposing to dissolve the city of Vernon over allegations of corruption and abuse of power in the tax-rich Los Angeles County community.Only about 100 people live there but more than 50,000 work in the unusual city
, which was designed as an industrial hub and incorporated in 1905.
...The Los Angeles Democrat said leaders virtually handpick their colleagues: Four of five current council members joined the panel as appointees, not election winners.
...Six Vernon officials received more than $500,000 in compensation in one or more years between 2005 and 2010, city records show. Eric T. Fresch, former city attorney and city administrator, topped the list with earnings above $1 million for four straight years.The highest-paid retiree in California’s pension system is a former Vernon city administrator, Bruce Malkenhorst Sr., who receives more than $500,000 per year
. He awaits trial on charges that he embezzled about $60,000 in public funds for massages, golf and other personal use.
Corruption does not spark backlash because Vernon is the “only example that I’ve seen of a city with no independent electorate,” Perez said.
Two powerhouse international law firms plan a squeeze play. Former Democratic Congressman Vic Fazio, now with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, will strategize to kill the bill. A second firm, Latham & Watkins, will pursue a “litigation strategy” to keep Vernon alive, according to a city contract.http://auburnjournal.com/detail/155497.html
Placer County’s $100,000 club: 21 retirees receiving six-figure pensions
...The highest pension is being collected by city of Vernon retiree Bruce Malkenhorst, who receives $509,664 annually, according to the website.
| - - - - http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/05/for-years-bruce-malkenhorst-sr-reigned-as-the-highest-paid-city-official-in-california-riding-in-limousines-and-making-m.htmlIndicted Vernon official collecting $500,000 annual pension
May 7, 2009 | 6:47 pm
For years, Bruce Malkenhorst Sr. reigned as the highest-paid city official in California, riding in limousines and making more than half a million dollars a year as city administrator for the tiny industrial town of Vernon. Then the 74-year-old was charged with embezzling public funds.
But Malkenhorst still sits at the top -- this time as the retiree collecting the most money from the state’s public employee pension fund. Malkenhorst draws about $500,000 a year in state pension benefits, even as he awaits a trial.
“We can’t afford to pay for this and have a government that functions,” she said. Malkenhorst far outpaced the second person on the list, a UCLA physician, who receives $296,555. Vernon officials had no comment Thursday on the pension. Malkenhorst, who has denied any wrongdoing, could not be reached for comment.Los Angeles County prosecutors allege that he spent $60,000 in city money for personal use, including massages, golf outings and political contributions. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vernon,_CaliforniaVernon is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. The resident population was 91 at the 2000 United States Census. It has the smallest population of any incorporated city in Southern California
. Most of the city's land area is occupied by industrial facilities
Consisting almost entirely of warehouses and factories, the city's main industries are food service manufacturing, metalworking, and manufacture of glass and plastic equipment. Most housing is owned by the city and its few residents are employed within the city limits. There are approximately 46,000 direct and 54,000 indirect mostly skilled workers employed by business within the City of Vernon. Among the multitude of businesses is Bon Appetit Bakery and Farmer John Meat Packing, whose products are highly visible in many convenience stores and service stations. True Religion, a national designer of luxury jeans and other apparel, is headquartered in Vernon. The city is also home to several rendering plants, food processors, smelters and metal working companies.
...Most of the 91 residents of Vernon were city employees. Many lived in housing owned by the city government
As of 2006 about 44,000 people who work in Vernon daily live outside of Vernon
...In the state legislature Vernon is located in the 22nd Senate District, represented by Democrat Gilbert Cedillo, and in the 46th Assembly District, represented by Democrat John Pérez.
is located in California's 34th congressional district is represented by Democrat Lucille Roybal-Allard
Antonio Villaraigosa (left) John A. Pérez (right)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_P
Ã©rezJohn A. Pérez is a union organizer and politician from Los Angeles, California
, who has been the Speaker of the California State Assembly since March 1, 2010. A Democrat, he represents the 46th district in the California State Assembly.
... He is the cousin of Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and has spent seven years handling political matters for the United Food and Commercial Workers
, a union representing supermarket workers, and also has served as political director of the California Labor Federation
...Pérez is a member of the Democratic National Committee
, which made him a superdelegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver...Pérez is openly gay – he is the first openly LGBT Speaker of the California State Assembly...Pérez was the first gay person of color to be elected to the state legislatureMayor Villaraigosa speaks with Senator Gilbert Cedillo
and LA County Federation of Labor Executive Secretary-Treasure Miguel Contreras.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbert_CedilloGilbert CedilloCedillo worked for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Los Angeles County's largest union
, where he served as general manager from 1990 to 1996
played a critical role in securing $364 million in federal assistance to ensure that the Los Angeles County Health Care system remained afloat.
President Bill Clinton stated that his decision to provide funding "was reached after critical consultations with SEIU...While he is most widely known for his attempts to reinstate driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, Cedillo has also worked on increasing and expanding access to health care, .... Gil Cedillo is a member of the Council of La Raza
....Cedillo has tried nine times since 1998 to get bills passed in the California State Legislature that would allow illegal aliens to obtain driver's licenses.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_RoybalEdward RoybalIn 1976 he became a founder of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC)
and later co-founded the [(National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials)] (NALEO).
...In 1978, Roybal was involved in a vote-buying scheme, known as the Koreagate scandal
, in which he admitted to lying to the House Ethics Committee about accepting a $1,000 gift from a South Korean lobbyist, Tongsun Park. After requests by Hispanic leaders and testimony from the other two Representatives accused — Ronald Dellums and Phillip Burton — the potential censure was reduced to a reprimand (the same sanction given the other two Representatives involved). Undeterred, he ran for reelection the same year and won 70% of the vote.
Roybal retired in 1993 after thirty years in office.
That year, following redistricting, his daughter Lucille Roybal-Allard became the Representative for the 33rd District, which contained part of Roybal's district, while Xavier Becerra, with Roybal's endorsement, won election in 30th District, which included much of the remaining territory of Roybal's former 25th District.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucille_Roybal-AllardLucille Roybal-Allard
She became the 33rd Congressional District's representative in November 1992
Before being elected to Congress Roybal-Allard was a member of the California State Assembly  from 1986 to 1992.In 1992, she won the Democratic nomination for the newly created 33rd District
. She won handily in November, and has been reelected seven times with no substantive opposition. Her district was renumbered as the 34th after the 2000 Census.
She is the first Mexican-American woman to serve in Congress.
She currently sits on the House Appropriations and Standards of Official Conduct committeeshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KoreagateKoreagate" was an American political scandal in 1976 involving South Korean political figures seeking influence from 10 Democratic members of Congress
n immediate goal of the scandal seems to have been reversing President Richard Nixon's decision to withdraw troops from South Korea. It involved the Korea Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA) allegedly funneling bribes and favors through Korean businessman Tongsun Park in an attempt to gain favor and influence for South Korean objectives. Some 115 members of Congress were supposedly involved. Speculation also focused on the role of Unification Church founder Sun Myung Moon, former KCIA Director Kim Hyung Wook, and former South Korean Prime Minister Chung Il Kwon.http://dbacon.igc.org/Imgrants/2009overhillfarms.html
VERNON, CA (6/18/09) -- The production lines at Overhill Farms move very quickly
...On May 31 254 people, including Agustiano, were fired. Their crime? According to Overhill Farms, they had bad Social Security numbers.
Behind this accusation is the unspoken assumption that the workers' numbers are no good because they have no legal immigration status.
This mass termination is the largest in many years, the first of its scale under the Obama administration. Workplace enforcement is a keystone of the administration's immigration policy, as it was under George Bush. The Overhill Farms firings are a window into a future in which this kind of immigration enforcement becomes widespread in workplaces across the country.
Overhill Farms, with over 800 employees, was audited by the Internal Revenue Service earlier this year. According to John Grant, packinghouse division director for Local 770 of the United Food and Commercial Workers, the IRS was looking at the company's books for 2006-7. “They found discrepancies in the Social Security numbers of many workers,” he says. “Overhill then sent a letter on April 6 to 254 people, giving them 30 days to reconcile their numbers with Social Security. They are all members of our union.”
Although Overhill lawyers have threatened Lopez, the organization has discussed plans to conduct a consumer education program, because Overhill sells its products to fast food chains like Jack-in-the-Box, Panda Express and Pollo Loco. “We're their customers,” Agustiano says, “and we're going to tell the media what happened to us.” http://www.ktla.com/news/landing/ktla-meat-grinder-leg-severed,0,479882.storyMan's Legs Amputated after Fall into Meat GrinderVERNON -- A man working at a meat packing plant in Vernon lost his legs when he fell into a meat grinder,
according to police. The accident happened around 3 a.m. Saturday at Jobbers Meat Packing Inc., located in the 3300 block of Fruitland Avenuehttp://www.cityofvernon.org/assets/docs/News%20Docs/Vernon%20News_Vernon%20Workers%20Ad%20Blitz_70911.pdf
July 11, 2011 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Fred MacFarlane – (213) 369-8425Vernon workers deliver simple message in TV ad blitz to State Capitol politicians: Protect Our Jobs Vernon, CA
– Vernon workers will blanket the TV market in Sacramento this week to deliver their ‘Protect Our Jobs’ message to California lawmakers.
State Capitol politicians will get a steady stream of ‘Vernon Works’ advertising spots this week before they adjourn for summer recess on Friday, July 15. The Vernon Works 30- second advertisements feature a collection of union and nonunion workers that live in cities throughout L.A. County but spend their workdays producing products at Vernonbased