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California: City of Vernon loses one case on its election

The Los Angeles Times reports: The city of Vernon's attempt to stop candidates from forcing the town's first contested election in 25 years was shot down Thursday by a judge who described the city as one "run like a fiefdom."

The decision marks a defeat for officials of the small city south of downtown Los Angeles, which has spent months trying to invalidate the April election. City officials have refused to count the ballots from the vote until this and several other lawsuits are settled. ...

Vernon leaders have insisted that the candidates were ringers brought in by opponents trying to take control of the cash-rich industrial town. The challengers deny the claim and say leaders who have controlled the town for decades went to great lengths to prevent them from running for office.

It was up to Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Aurelio Muņoz to sort out the charges and countercharges, and neither side emerged unscathed.

Muņoz said attorneys representing the city did not present the evidence of fraud necessary to strip the eight men and women of their right to vote or run for office.

Still, Muņoz said he thought there was a "scheme" to take political power in the industrial city of only 91 residents, most of whom are city employees living in heavily subsidized city housing. But the judge said moving into a city with the intent of taking over political power is not necessarily illegal. -- Attempt to Nullify Vernon Election Defeated - Los Angeles Times

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