Vernon is a city five miles (8.0 km) south of downtown Los Angeles, California. The population was 112 at the 2010 United States Census, the smallest of any incorporated city in the state (and the nearest one to downtown Los Angeles).
The city is primarily composed of industrial areas and touts itself as "Exclusively Industrial." Meatpacking plants and warehouses are common. As of 2006, there were no parks.
Vernon has a history of political problems, and was fighting disincorporation after city-government corruption was discovered. California Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez has proposed legislation, AB46 to disincorporate cities with fewer than 150 residents. Vernon is the only city that would be affected by the bill.
According to an editorial in the April 26, 2011, edition of the Long Beach Press-Telegram, support to maintain Vernon's city status came from two powerful groups that were rarely allied: the business community (including the California, Los Angeles, and Vernon Chambers of Commerce) and the labor community (including the Los Angeles Federation of Labor and the Teamsters), joined together in the battle against Sacramento. Both groups acknowledged that Vernon needed a comprehensive political house cleaning, but both maintained its right to cityhood. The bill had passed in the Assembly on a bipartisan vote of 58-7.
In the last few weeks of the legislative session of summer, 2011, a team of attorneys and lobbyists from Vernon were desperately trying to kill the bill that would disincorporate the scandal-tainted city when state Senator Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) came to them with a creative and unconventional offer. De Leon, who had earlier supported disbanding Vernon, said he would help to defeat the legislation if Vernon would set aside $60 million in order to fund community projects in the small, working-class cities that surround Vernon and to also agree to a proposed list of government reforms.
Vernon agreed to the offer, and de Leon then proceeded to support the groups fighting disincorporation. City officials in nearby Huntington Park, which stood to receive some of Vernon's grant money, also reversed their support to the City of Vernon. On August 29, the state Senate rejected the bill to disband Vernon.