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Vernon Doesn't Have $60 Mill It Promised It'd Pay to Stay a City

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We can't tell you how much it costs to become a city these days, or to unbecome a city, but if you want to stay a city, the going rate is $60 million. That's what little scandal-plagued Vernon agreed to pay in the last days of a state legislative effort to disincorporate the town this past summer. The LA Times reports that state senator and disincorporation supporter Kevin De Leon told Vernon's lobbyists that "he would help defeat the legislation if the city set aside $60 million to fund community projects in the small, working-class cities that surround Vernon and agreed to a series of government reforms." Vernon agreed, De Leon changed his mind on disincorporation, and the effort failed the next week. At the time it was reported that De Leon might be changing course because the LA Times and LA County both turned up evidence that Vernon was in dire financial straits, and guess what: now Vernon doesn't have the $60 mill. A member of the new city advisory committee tells the paper "I don't know where we're going to get the money because we don't have it." The city already has about $500 million in bond debt and has sold off real estate to raise cash.

The money, to be doled out over 10 years, is supposed to go to "help mitigate years of pollution, traffic and other problems caused by Vernon's factories and the 'predatory' policies of its top officials." The money would be handed out by a committee appointed by state legislators and nearby local officials, with one member from Vernon. De Leon has already picked the first two projects--$5 million each for improvements to Salt Lake Park in Huntington Park and renovations for the Hazard Park Federal Armory in Boyle Heights. (He "initially pressed for a 'world-class' recreational facility with pools and soccer fields to be built within Vernon," but Vernon officials weren't into the idea.)

The $60 million figure came from an analysis of what other cities spend on parks and rec. De Leon "would be willing to rework the plan if Vernon can't pay the full sum."
· Vernon agreed to pay $60 million to avoid disincorporation [LAT]