Vernon ‘Reform’ Councilman Passes Away


Vernon Councilman Michael A. Ybarra passed away Friday, Sept. 26 in Sacramento.

He was 61.


(EGP photo archive)

(EGP photo archive)


The city was informed of Ybarra’s passing by family members, according to a Vernon press release.

The circumstances of his passing were not immediately available.

Ybarra, a life long resident of Vernon, was elected to the City Council in April 2012, unseating incumbent Daniel Newmire during the first contested race in the city in many years.

It was one of the most turbulent times in city history and Ybarra ran as a reform candidate in the city plagued by allegations of corruption and lack of transparency. He was following in the footsteps of his father, Thomas Ybarra, a 43-year Vernon councilman who resigned in 2009, just six months before his death.

“Our city mourns the loss of Councilmember Michael Ybarra, a dedicated public servant with deep roots in this community. Councilmember Ybarra worked diligently to keep Vernon on its good governance path,” Vernon City Administrator Mark Whitworth said in a statement.

Since taking office, Ybarra was one of the more vocal members of the council, at times questioning city staff on items before the council. The city faced a $16 million budget deficit at the time of his election, but it’s budget is now balanced, with help from a combination of rate and fee hikes and new taxes.

Ybarra was “a strong supporter of Vernon’s businesses and kept a close eye on city fiscal issues,” said Whitworth.

“Councilmember Ybarra will be deeply missed by our city’s mayor, mayor pro tem and his city council colleagues; our city’s residents, business owners, labor representatives; and our city administrators and staff.”

Ybarra was born and raised in Vernon and he often noted that his family’s roots in Vernon date back to the 1860s. Ybarra’s great uncle, Esteban Peralta, served on the Vernon City Council for 15-years during the 1930s and ‘40s. Peralta ran the city’s first store in 1905, the year Vernon was incorporated.

During his swearing-in ceremony, the then new councilman called it “a proud day for the Ybarra family.”

Ybarra was a U.S. Army veteran and formerly worked as an aerospace quality engineer in Vernon for more than 23-years.

Ybarra is survived by his wife, Susana Rodriguez-Ybarra, and three daughters.

Funeral service have not yet been announced.

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  1. Victoria Drapeau on

    You spelled my grandfathers last name wrong in one of te paragraphs, it’s Ybarra not Ibarra. If you please would fix that, thank you.

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