Listening to and responding to residents is one of the hallmarks of good government and creating connections that make that happen has the been the focus for the City of Vernon over the past five years. That’s why we wanted to follow-up to last week’s article, “Vernon Outreach: Work In Progress,” and provide a more complete picture of how the City of Vernon touches the lives of its residents every day.
First, ensuring that Vernon residents are heard at the ballot box is one of the City Council’s top priorities. Over the last two years, the City has held voter registration events at Vernon Village Apartments and the Sabor de Mexico Lindo celebration. The City has gone door-to-door to drop off mailers, speak with residents and has added new ballot drop-off locations to make voting more convenient. We’ve held community meetings and public meetings in the evening to ensure the public has a chance to be heard. While few residents attend the meetings, the hard work is paying off. Just two years ago, residents elected write-in candidate Leticia Lopez over a 42-year incumbent.
Second, the City has answered a regional need and made affordable housing more accessible. From Vernon Village Apartments to the City-owned single family residences sprinkled throughout the City, nearly all of Vernon’s housing is subsidized – giving residents the opportunity to rent high-quality homes in communities that boast one of the lowest crime rates in Southeast Los Angeles. Our housing lottery system ensures that everyone has equal opportunity and since the City is built out, we donate a million dollars a year to build libraries, parks and community centers in neighboring communities to serve our residents as well as our neighbors.
Third, the City of Vernon is also reaching out to our residents on a personal level. City staff volunteer at Vernon City Elementary School providing presentations on everything from engineering to groundwater supplies to Earth Day. Police officers walk through the school and communities multiple times a day to connect with residents and business owners. They deliver turkey dinners to nearly a quarter of the residents who have been identified as low income while firefighters hold fundraisers and blood drives. It’s our hope that through these everyday, casual encounters we can connect with the community, proactively address concerns as well as encourage the City’s people to get involved.
Finally, we continue to impact our residents and the region through jobs. The City has a growing economy with nationally and internationally recognized brands including Amazon, Whole Foods, Seven-Up/RC Bottling Company as well as up-and-coming green companies like Romeo Power. Thanks to Vernon’s business friendly atmosphere, these companies contribute more than 50,000 jobs and $4.4 Billion in wages annually to Los Angeles County.
Our goal is to grow jobs and grow our community.
The City of Vernon is changing and we invite our businesses and residents to get involved. We’ve expanded our communication efforts and invite you to join us on Tuesday, June 20th at the first of three community events planned at Vernon Village. The event will include presentations on City services and, more importantly, provide an opportunity for neighbors to get to know each other. Join us at Vernon Village or follow us on social media. Give us your feedback, ideas and, along with your elected representatives, help guide the change.
And don’t worry, we won’t forget the food and coffee!
Carlos Fandino is the City of Vernon’s city administrator. In that capacity, he oversees the city’s daily operations, public relations, legislative process and finances.
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