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Should Southeast LA's Corrupt Little Cities Be Forced to Merge?

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The little cities of Southeast LA are a mess: several of Bell's former officials have been on trial for crazy amounts of corruption, Compton has been in dire financial straits for ages, Vernon (which only has 115 citizens) is attempting desperately to go straight, and there have also been corruption charges in Commerce, Cudahy, and Lynwood (plus an investigation underway in Maywood!). Now, the LA County Local Agency Formation Commission is studying the area along the 710 (including also Gardena and South El Monte), and could recommend that all the corrupt little cities hook up with each other, via consolidation, annexation, or disincorporation. According to the LA Times, "Some urban planning experts have long suggested merging some of the small cities into a larger government entity that could benefit from economies of scale, a stronger tax base and better oversight. Most of the cities have large immigrant populations." Local officials sound completely un-thrilled with the idea; a state assemblymember from Bell Gardens says "Talking about disincorporation is telling the Latino working-class community that they don't have the capacity, talent or leadership to lead their community" (other political opposition is probably a little less noble). Vernon has already fought off a state-level disincorporation effort. Meanwhile, a 2005 LAFCO report found a few problems with the Gateway cities, but ultimately said they were doing alright--which seemed weird when a wave of corruption swept through the area a few years later.
· Agency takes a look at southeast cities' governance [LAT]