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  • Article

    Dana Point - We killed Killer Dana

    Photo by Keith MayThis seaside community is most famously known for its namesake, Richard Henry Dana Jr. In his 1840 nautical novel, Two Years Before the Mast, the seaman described the area, then known as San Juan Cove, as "the only romantic spot in...

    on September 27, 2001
  • Article

    Fullerton - We have a real-life barrio

    It could have had the Norton Simon Museum. It still might get the Leo Fender Museum. Fullerton may be smack-dab in the center of conservative North Orange County, but it has a progressive independent newspaper (Fullerton Observer), a real-life barri...

    on September 27, 2001
  • Article

    Fountain Valley - Few fountains, no valley

    Photo by Jack GouldLet's just get this out of the way: there are few fountains in Fountain Valley. City lore says the word "fountain" in Fountain Valley is derived from the many artesian wells and abundant local water supply. Abundant B.S., more lik...

    on September 27, 2001
  • Article

    Garden Grove - Those were the days

    It hasn't always been easy living in Garden Grove. Heavy flooding gutted the city in 1916, and an earthquake did severe damage to buildings in 1933. But after World War II, hordes of veterans and their families moved here, making it the fastest-grow...

    on September 27, 2001
  • Article

    Huntington Beach - Look hard

    Photo by Keith MayThere's nothing quaint about Huntington Beach, which has a mostly working-class population of 190,000. In fact, it's a pretty ugly city. Except for the old residential neighborhoods surrounding Lake Park in the downtown area, the c...

    on September 27, 2001
  • Article

    Irvine - You can plan cities, but you cant plan people

    Irvine proves you can plan cities, you can't plan people. Consider the Irvinian who worked for more than a decade to transform his bland tract home into a mighty gothic castle and was subdued only by the combined power of City Hall, a homeowners ass...

    on September 27, 2001
  • Article

    Laguna Beach - Mayberry with art on the walls

    You know you've reached paradise when the most contentious debate in town is whether one man's palm tree blocks a fraction of another man's view of the vast Pacific. Such is the case in Laguna Beach, a small mountainous seaside resort located three ...

    on September 27, 2001
  • Article

    Laguna Hills - Nice offramps

    Photo by Keith MayAhhh, Laguna Hills: where sapphire-blue waves gently massage miles of rocky coastline. Wait--that's Laguna Beach. Laguna Hills: where tens of thousands of wizened retirees relax during their golden years . . . that's actually Lag...

    on September 27, 2001
  • Article

    Laguna Niguel - Cul-de-sacs and soccer fields

    Photo by Keith MayMuch has changed during the past 20 years in Laguna Niguel. In 1981, new residents were so new that Angie's Pizza treated them to a bottle of celebratory champagne. A Carl's Jr. played country music and had a place to tie up horses...

    on September 27, 2001
  • Article

    Laguna Woods - The city no one really knows

    Photo by Keith MayMyth: Laguna Woods consists solely of the Leisure World retirement community formerly contained in Laguna Hills. Fact: While Leisure World makes up the huge majority of Laguna Woods proper--and Leisure World residents make up 100...

    on September 27, 2001
  • Article

    La Habra - Discount capital of OC

    Photo by Jack GouldLa Habra has been evolving into the discount capital of OC. A Wal-Mart will open soon on Beach Boulevard, joining the Target and the 24-hour Super Kmart to form the Holy Trinity of massive discount shopping (or Holy Quartet, if yo...

    on September 27, 2001
  • Article

    Lake Forest - We used to be El Toro!

    Photo by Keith MayIf Lake Forest feels sprawling and lacking in any central downtown area, that's because it is and does. Incorporated in 1991, the city called Lake Forest--once known as El Toro--now includes the annexed Foothill Ranch and Portola H...

    on September 27, 2001
  • Article

    La Palma - Cypress writ small

    Photo by Jack GouldBuilt in the heart of Moo Valley on the site of dairies that once stretched clear to Santa Fe Springs, La Palma today is another of the county's numerous bedroom communities. While virtually all of La Palma's residents live in tra...

    on September 27, 2001
  • Article

    Long Beach - Much more than tourist traps

    When they say, "Long Beach is a great place to live, but you wouldn't want to visit there" (well, actually, they don't say it--we do), it's not meant as a clever insult so much as a startlingly vicious backhanded compliment born from years of pent-u...

    on September 27, 2001
  • Article

    Los Alamitos - Home of the meat pie

    Photo by Jack GouldYou know Los Alamitos for its racetracks and fine schools. You know it as the town proud to be wedged between the 405, 22 and 605 freeways, proud to be so easy to leave. In short, you know the Los Alamitos that the people who run ...

    on September 27, 2001
  • Article

    Mission Viejo - The Paris of South Orange County

    Photo by Jack GouldOh, benighted land! Offspring of the Philip Morris Companies Inc.'s interest in portfolio diversification! Created at a time when capitalist imperatives for profit maximization overrode all other considerations--like the need for ...

    on September 27, 2001
  • Article

    Newport Beach - The town that whines

    Photo by Jack GouldConsidering that Newport is one of the most beautiful cities in the U.S., its residents can be incredible complainers. They complain about the legions of tourists who flock to Newport's beaches and harbor during the summer. They c...

    on September 27, 2001
  • Article

    Orange - Rockwellian virtue made solid

    Photo by Keith MayVery Middle America--or at least what Hollywood believes is Middle America: the studios frequently use Old Town when they need Rockwellian virtue made solid (see That Thing You Do! and Big Mama's House). But there's more to Orange ...

    on September 27, 2001
  • Article

    Placentia - Once on the cutting edge

    Photo by Jack GouldOnce, Placentia was on the cutting edge. That would have been about 100 years ago, when a group of vegans living in town practiced an unusual type of composting, a kind of organic farming that would have given the neighbors a case...

    on September 27, 2001
  • Article

    Rancho Santa Margarita - City of the Big Boxes

    Photo by Keith MayRancho Santa Margarita is nothing if not a town that embraces diversity. Well, that and a town that really embraces the name Rancho Santa Margarita. This is nowhere more apparent than in the shopping centers along the city's main d...

    on September 27, 2001
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