The industrial city of Vernon in southeast Los Angeles County has long been known for its small number of residents and voters — just 42 turned out for a municipal election last year, for example.
So on Friday, when city leaders and state and national elected officials announced the groundbreaking of a new apartment complex in the city, it was hailed as a good governance reform that will bring more voters to the city.
The 45-unit Vernon Village Park is hailed as an environmentally conscious, energy-efficient facility that, as city officials put it, "will make the concept of a live/work community a reality in Vernon."
Vernon Village Park is expected to more than double the number of voters in the city when it is completed in 2015, and officials said it would be affordable for low- to moderate-income families.
The facility will feature one-, two- and three-bedroom units with balconies and patios, a play area for children and an edible garden.
Vernon was the focus of scrutiny after a series of scandals at City Hall. The city came under criticism from state legislators who argued that its government was controlled by a small group of individuals rather than a legitimate voting population. Legislators attempted to disincorporate the city in 2011, but that effort failed.
Vernon officials agreed to a series of reforms, including building more housing to add to the voter rolls.