Oct 31 discussion - City of Vernon, CA


#1

Hello aspiring Sovereigns!

This Wednesday 6pm at Sovereignty Lounge we’ll be discussing Vernon, CA, a city with about 200 people at the heart of LA with a rich, tainted history which “has long been dogged by accusations that it is a fiefdom run by a family that has held sway over the town for generations.” In recent years that includes essentially buying out those that attempted to disband the city.

If that wet your appetite, you should check out this 2010 longer article on Vernon’s history, analyzing various takeover attempts and some of the reasoning behind them. If you only read one article, I highly recommend it. This paragraph is particularly interesting:

From the outset Vernon was chartered under the motto “Exclusively Industrial.” That meant exactly what it said: It was going to be a city with essentially no residential district, exclusively devoted to serving industrial properties. That meant from the outset that Vernon was an unusual hybrid, part city but in large part a corporation that leased or sold land to factories and warehouses to which it provided many services. And like any corporation, its owners, who initially also personally owned the land on which the city was built, would remain in office indefinitely. It is not true, as the Times has it, that Vernon was born in controversy over this organizational form, which is self-evidently at the heart of the essential charges against it today: that the leadership is self-perpetuating and pays itself corporate-style salaries, that the few residents are essentially employees rather than citizens, and that a number of the city officials live in actual residential parts of town rather than among the slaughterhouses and factories that make up almost all of Vernon. It was only in the twenty-first century that the forms required of a city came to be seen as incompatible with what was in essence the private ownership of the town.

A lesson for us is the 2006 election, when a group apparently tried to run for office - only to be immediately evicted:

“We the residents have sparked a democracy revolution in the city of Vernon,” Huff read, “by doing something which has not been done in over a quarter of a century – establishing residency.”

Council members ignored his statement, then proceeded with their vote to cancel the election.

However, if you think Vernon’s government is corrupt, just check out this video where they try to convince you to move your business to Vernon. Clearly it’s just run like a business as usual.

And if all else fails, fear not. There are other cities in California. And in fact the appropriately named City of Industry boasts only 209 residents and is not too far from Caltech.

See you Wednesday,

Eduardo

PS: If you missed it, this is our very own Sovereignty middle eastern cookie, tea (and pickle?) stash: