Vernon vs. Perez
Gene Maddaus' story about State Assembly Speaker John Perez's dogged quest to wipe the City of Vernon off the map was a tale without heroes ("Nasty vs. Ornery," June 3). Vernon is indeed the most peculiar city in California, a place where city officials managed to pay themselves enormous salaries in part because most constituents in the city of just 112 residents have some ties to city government. Perez believes the only way to resolve the issue is to abolish the city and turn over control to the county, opening the door for neighboring communities to annex Vernon's enormous industrial tax base.
Perez, however, could have other motives, including allowing money-starved Los Angeles to annex Vernon. Perez is Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's cousin.
Rick writes: "The city of Vernon is like a factory town in China. No free elections. Rule for life by a corrupt handful of leaders. Banishment of dissidents. Absence of environment regulations. Worker exploitation. The ugliness and stench of a place so toxic and soul-withering that its leaders would rather die than live there. It's what the future looks like in the global race to the bottom."
Mvoedzoe writes: "When we are talking pollution, 'What happens in Vernon doesn't stay in Vernon.' The toxic substances that Vernon produces do not stay in Vernon. In one way or the other, we all pay the bill for the illnesses that irresponsible industries in Vernon produce, and it's really criminal that many of the victims of this pollution are children.
"Vernon is a feudal fief. It needs to be shut down."
But Martin Perez asks, why not wipe out other corrupt governments? "Get corruption out of Vernon, I agree, but hell, why stop there — let's really take a look at the big fish in the pond, Los Angeles, and all the bullshit that goes on there. I'm a labor leader who represents Teamster members in Vernon for the last 23 years. You greedy bastards who never worked in this environment want things on a silver platter. Well, I'm so tired of your bullshit. Leave Vernon as the city where a man can work and raise a family and not depend on the state of California."
The unfortunately named Luzbowel adds this: "Vernon is an industrial city. It needs to stay that way. Not all cities fit into the same mold. When will people get it through their heads? The Speaker has a not-so-secret plan that will enrich himself and his henchmen. Whether you love Vernon or hate Vernon, you cannot dispute the fact that Vernon has held onto jobs that have left the rest of the state. Disincorporation won't/can't work, but Vernon does."
And finally, this from someone identified as opensecrets: "Vernon the most corrupt city? Isn't L.A. City Building Dept. currently under federal investigation for bribery and corruption? L.A. City mayor and council were recently fined 100K for ethics violations."
We set readers off with our story about Assembly Majority Leader Charles Calderon ("Calderon Boys: The Worse Legislators in California, II," June 3). Writer David Futch detailed how Calderon allows big campaign contributors to write their own legislation, which he then carries for them, and also consistently votes on behalf of big donors, almost all of whom are from outside his district.
As Megan B. writes: "His own constituents give him almost nothing, except their votes. Stop voting for this clown."
Krystal writes: "It's crazy that voters allow such legislative nonsense to continue. It's pathetic that the public is at the mercy of the pay-to-play system. It's shameful we the people are looking the other way. Thanks for this great story."
Truly writes: "This story is so depressing to me. I want to believe that the people we elect actually care about us. I'd expect this from scumbag Republicans, but I guess the Dems are just as bad."
Then came this from Weekly basher Bill: "Hell must have frozen over. The L.A. Weekly wrote a negative story about a Democrat? All I can say is that they could fill the Weekly for a year if they wrote about what the Democrats are really like."
Which drew this response from RobE: "You're an idiot. You obviously haven't been paying attention to the numerous L.A. Weekly articles lambasting the Hollywood and L.A. City Council members, L.A. Mayor Tony Showbiz, the teachers union and the Democrat Westside political machine that is recklessly in thrall to developers.
"You got to stop living in Fox News World, where their 'facts' have only been cooked up, apparently, only after frequent chowdowns on peyote."
Why, thank you, RobE. Check's in the mail.
SPEAKING OF THE MAIL ...
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