Los Angeles Business Journal

A Vote of No-Confidence in Vernon’s ‘Elected Officials’

OP-ED By RON SHINKMAN Monday, May 23, 2011

Judge’s order

A Superior Court judge eventually had to order an election. Even then, the ballots were kept locked up in the City Clerk’s Office for six months after they were cast – until another court ordered them counted. The challengers were heckled when the ballots were finally tabulated at City Hall.

Vernon’s leaders appear undeterred by being just a Senate vote and Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature away from having their city dissolved. They recently insisted on a $200,000 “deposit” from Perez’s office in order to produce some documents he had requested. In a municipality that no doubt owns plenty of shredders but not one copier, this makes perfect sense.

Meanwhile, Toebben suggested that Perez, his colleagues and these imaginary elected officials work with the Vernon Chamber of Commerce to craft a reform of the city charter. However, that body has been in lockstep with Vernon’s shadowy leadership for too many decades to suddenly embrace transparency.

While it is understandable that businesses within Vernon should be concerned by the sudden change of having their city dissolved, by advocating essentially the status quo, Toebben and the L.A.-area chamber are supporting a complete disconnection of business interests from that of their customers, competitors, employees, regulators or anyone else.

Should Vernon be dissolved, its governance would be handed over to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. I can assure Toebben he shouldn’t get too exercised over that change, as the only new face to grace that body in the past decade is pol’s pol Mark Ridley-Thomas (in that way, Vernon’s populace would feel right at home). Moreover, not a single supervisor is politically dumb enough to touch even a hair on one of Vernon’s jobs.

The only difference is that supervisors are up for election every four years. We may not like what they do, but at least we get a say as to whether they do it.

Should my two cents cost me my $500-a-year chamber membership, so be it. I’m entrepreneurial, but I’d rather the chamber spend my dues serving fruit and pastries than preserving a defiantly corrupt city whose governance must be demolished before it can be reformed.

Ron Shinkman is a health care publisher and communications consultant in Burbank.

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