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Archived: EDITORIAL: Are Vernon Jobs and Businesses at Risk?

We are alarmed by the rapid movements now underway to disincorporate the City of Vernon. We understand the frustration of local governments and the state over not being able to confidently assure the public that Vernon has turned a corner and will not continue down the path of unchecked government fraud.

But we also understand that there are a lot of worried businesses out there, and some are already starting to talk about looking at relocation options if elected officials hastily undertake measures that result in less hospitable circumstances for running their business.

State Assembly Speaker John Perez is of the opinion that Vernon can only be fixed by disincorporation and has proposed legislation to do just that.

Some of the businesses in Vernon feel that Perez, and other elected officials, are making rash decisions without talking to any of the 1,800 or so businesses located there.

These businesses say they are the true constituents in Vernon and will be harmed if disincorporation is achieved. They say they should have a say, if not a vote, in what happens going forward.

We agree.

There are approximately 50,000 workers earning their living in Vernon, and many of them come from some of the region’s most low-income communities. Jeopardizing their jobs worries us greatly, particularly at a time when the economy is doing little to create new jobs to reduce the high local rate of unemployment that still remains above 12 percent.

Local municipalities are also struggling to meet expenses, and careful thought should be given to how greater economic instability in the region could impact their bottom lines and delivery of services.

Unlike in the City of Bell, Vernon still has a working city government, so we believe there is less urgency to rush into a fix for Vernon that is not well thought out, or that fails to include all the impacted parties.

That is not to say that the public good should be held hostage over the prospect or threat that businesses may leave if they do not get their way. We believe that serious steps should be undertaken to increase transparency and reduce the potential for political corruption. We also believe businesses in Vernon should have some tangible say in their future.

We don’t want to see the issue of Vernon sovereignty continue to devolve. We insist that it will be more helpful for Speaker Perez, his committee, Vernon officials, representatives of Vernon’s businesses and county government to come together to discuss ways to insure that Vernon does not persist in its past ways, without endangering the economic engine Vernon is for the county and the state.