Montebello lies on the western bank of the Rio Hondo Channel, though at one location the city has some territory on the other side. The channel where it passes alongside Montebello is a concrete banked flood control channel, though just beyond the northeastern border of the city, in the Whittier Narrows Recreational Area, which is part of Rosemead, the channel has been returned to something closer to a natural state, as are parts of the Los Angeles River, of which the Rio Hondo is a tributary. Across from the Channel to the east of Montebello are Whittier and Pico Rivera. Apart from Whittier Narrows and Rosemead, the cities along the northern border of Montebello are South San Gabriel and Monterey Park. Beyond the southern tip of Montebello, which is shaped much like an inverted triangle, are Downey and Bell Gardens. Montebello shares its western border with the City of Commerce. Also to the east of Montebello are Vernon and East Los Angeles.
Montebello used to be named Newmark, but the name was changed around the beginning of the twentieth century at the suggestion of William Mulholland, who was involved in the development of the city’s water infrastructure. Montebello started out as an agricultural area until oil was discovered under the ground in 1917, resulting in a rush to build wells where the farms once stood, wells that by 1920 were producing more than twelve percent of California’s domestic oil. Rapid urban development followed the oil production development, and now the city has more than sixty-three thousand residents, largely Mexican-American and Armenian-American. To this date producing oil drilling operations are in place in Montebello, though the companies that operate them periodically run into conflicts with the residential developers, environmentalists, and homeowners in the area, who are working to transform old drilling zones into open spaces, nature preserves, and recreational facilities designed to enrich the lives of the community. These operations do not rank among the largest employers in the city, who are the local hospitals, the school district, a large shopping and entertainment complex, and a nationwide bakery. The largest green area in Montebello is the Montebello Municipal Golf Course, which was established in 1928. During the 2008 financial crisis and its aftermath, Montebello suffered unemployment levels significantly higher than the national averages, but in the years that followed, the gap narrowed slightly over time, and then in 2015 Montebello’s unemployment rate dropped to within 0.7% of the country’s average.
Our office is just over twenty miles north and west of Montebello, and we serve Montebello and the surrounding communities. Montebello employees have rights to just compensation for their labor and freedom from discrimination and harassment on the job. If you feel your rights as an employee have been violated, contact our office for a free consultation. If you have been sexually harassed on the job or terminated due to a pregnancy or while on leave due to a disability, injury, or medical condition, contact us for a review of the details of your situation.