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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Toward a Greater East Side: California Political Boundary Law and Southeast Los Angeles County


My paper discusses the ineffectiveness of California state law to address socially inefficient municipal boundaries. By focusing on the recent struggles of a group of industrial suburbs in Southeast Los Angeles County that includes the City of Vernon, the paper demonstrates how a fragmented municipal topography worsens socioeconomic decline, hazardous land uses, and a lack of political accountability.  Next, I analyze California statutory and constitutional law on the subject, demonstrating its ineffectiveness in encouraging boundary modifications to address the inequities facing the communities of Southeast Los Angeles County. Finally, I suggest legislative and constitutional modifications to encourage greater political accountability and socioeconomic equity in California’s municipal topography.

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