Speaker John Pérez is taking a strong stand against nepotism.
Yes, you read that right. The cousin of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has decided that it's a bad thing for people in power to get jobs for their relatives. Can't have that. Well, at least not in Vernon.
This is part of the speaker's battle to the death with the small industrial city, which has a long history of corruption and self-dealing. This morning, Pérez's office forwarded around this L.A. Times article, which details nepotistic hiring practices at Vernon City Hall.
The hiring of relatives is indeed a problem. But it's not limited to Vernon.
As we detailed last year, Villaraigosa played a key role in helping his cousin win election to the Assembly. Pérez was facing two opponents — Ricardo Lara and Arturo Chavez. Both dropped out of the race after meeting with Villaraigosa:
According to a friend of Lara's who asked not to be identified by the Weekly, the three candidates were invited to sit down for a secret meeting at Getty House…
At the meeting, Villaraigosa offered a deal. They would all support Pérez. In exchange, Lara would run two years later in the 50th Assembly District, with the Fed's backing… Pérez launched his campaign the following month with a clear field.
Previously, Villaraigosa had appointed Pérez to the L.A. Civil Service Commission and the board of the Community Redevelopment Agency. But now Pérez has decided that nepotism is very bad and should be denounced.
None of this says very much about who should prevail in the fight over Vernon's disincorporation. As we noted in last week's article, shutting the city down poses a threat to industrial jobs. But leaving Vernon to its own devices isn't an attractive option either.
Because we strive to be constructive, here are some ideas for a middle path.