Vernon, once again

Situations that seem unusual and might be irregular keep happening in Vernon. After the city’s officials voided eight ballots in the April election for local government-in a universe of only 60 voters-now a similar situation has come up.

After a second voting round this month, once again local officials tried to void six of the same ballots thrown out in April plus an additional four from voters who officials claimed don’t live in the city, which the L.A. County registrar refused to do. In addition, Vernon’s Housing Commission ordered eviction proceedings for four city-owned residences where some of these voters supposedly live.

It’s hard to believe that an election in which only 60 people vote can have so many irregularities and such confusion. But there is of course precedent in thinking that chaos and a lack of clarity reign in Vernon, especially taking into account that the few houses that exist belong to the city and those who live there are at the mercy of decisions that could be political.

A year ago, Vernon was on the verge of being disincorporated as a city because of years of corrupt practices. It was only able to survive by committing to reform its government, decrease excessive salaries paid to its public officials and conduct fair elections.

This tiny industrial city has 1,800 businesses and a 40,000-people workforce, but fewer than 100 residents. Unfortunately, what happened in this election seems to strengthen the arguments of California Assembly Speaker John Perez, who last year sought to dissolve the city and only ceased his attempts after the local government apparently implemented reforms.

If this complicated situation isn’t resolved in a satisfactory way, it will be very hard to keep betting on an independent future for Vernon.