View Full Version : Re:The Story of the City of Vernon

06-18-2006, 09:52 PM
Within the last few months, there have been a number
of articles in the Los Angeles Times about the small
industrial city of Vernon, California, which has a
population of less than 100. In today's edition,
there is an article about the history of Vernon,
which has been under the rule of the Leonis family
since it was incorporated in 1905. As many people
who have read the posts on this board, there were
boxing shows staged in Vernon for close to two
decades starting in 1908. Take a look at today's
article on the website of Los Angeles Times.

- Chuck Johnston

06-19-2006, 02:59 PM
John Baptiste Leonis, a Basque immigrant, and two ranchers
incorporated Vernon, an "exclusively industrial city" and was
often called the first town west of the Mississippi devoted
to manufacturing. Under Leonis' leadership on the Board
of Trustees in Vernon, the town initially became a place that
allowed activities that were illegal in many other surrounding
locales, including drinking, boxing, and gambling. In the
1920s, new factories were built in the town. Today,
44,000 people work in Vernon.

- Chuck Johnston

06-19-2006, 03:38 PM

Back when I was living in E.L.A. I was working in the city of Vernon,
that was in 1959-63, I was working at Oscar Meyers Meat Packing Co.
Fabela Chavez was also working at Oscar Meyers as a truck driver


06-20-2006, 01:42 AM
Frank- Thanks for the info. Hope that things are going
well for you.

John Baptiste Leonis died in 1953, leaving an estate
reportedly worth eight million dollars to his grandson,
Leonis Malburg, who served on the Vernon City
Council for the last fifty years, often as the mayor.
Mike Davis, a professor of history at U.C. Irvine, said,
"Vernon is arguably the oldest continouous political
machine in the country."

Generous perks are offered to the residents of Vernon,
most of whom work for the city or are family members
of city employees. Most also live in city-owned homes.

Bruce Malkenhorst, Sr. was the city's top manager for
nearly thirty years before retiring in 2004. In the 1980s,
he was the highest-paid city official in California with
a salary of $162,804. Just before retiring, he collected
more than $600,000. in salary, bonuses, and payment
for unused vacation time. His son, Bruce Malkenhorst
Jr., took over the top manager position.

There have been only two elections in Vernon since
1980, the most recent one taking place on April 11,
2006. About 9 p.m. on the day of the latest election,
Malkenhorst announced that he was going to lock up
the ballots instead of counting them until legal challenges
to the election were sorted out.

Pierre Erro, who says that he is a nephew of Malburg,
claims that his uncle will fight to the end to protect his family's
legacy. The Los Angeles County district attorney's office
is continuing "its broad investigation of public corruption
in the city."

- Chuck Johnston

06-26-2006, 09:06 AM

06-29-2006, 07:05 PM
The story of Vernon, California is one reason that the
unvarnished history of boxing is so interesting.
Sugarcoating history makes the subject so
uninteresting and somewhat inaccurate.

- Chuck Johnston

06-30-2006, 01:47 PM