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Not Hip to Annexation, Vernon Employs Top Lawyers to Fight Takeover

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Yesterday's Planning & Land Use Committee meeting was one of the first big public hearings for the city's consideration of annexing or dis-incorporating Vernon, a move which brought out dozens and dozens of Vernon business owners to City Hall. The City of Vernon has less than 100 residents, but at least 10,000 businesses, according to George Mihlsten, attorney for Vernon. Milhsten, who works for powerful law firm Latham & Wathkins, was blunt when talking to the subcommittee: "The City has absolutely no interest in being annexed to the City of Los Angeles." Milhsten also promised that the city would "vigorously oppose any attempts to annex it."

Marisa Olguin, President of the Vernon Chamber of Commerce, also spoke out against annexation, and stated that utility rates, like Department of Water & Power rates, would significantly rise in the area if Vernon is annexed (basic service rates are far lower than in Los Angeles). Following yesterday's hearing, the motion (which just considers the report on annexation, and not annexation itself), moves to the City Council. The Daily News has more on yesterday's hearing.

And more on the legal front: This morning, Vernon City Administrator Mark Whitworth announced the Vernon has hired attorney John Van de Kamp to serve as an Independent Ethics Advisor to the City of Vernon for the next year. Mr. Van de Kamp is a former California Attorney General, L.A. County District Attorney and California State Bar president. Vernon is viewed by some Los Angeles officials as scandal-plagued, while a 2008 profile by The Economist portrayed the Vernon as working out just fine.
· L.A. officials weigh Vernon annexation [Daily News]