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  • 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
  • Article

    San Clemente - Dick Nixon wept here

    San Clemente was founded in the 1920s by a gent named Ole Hanson, who had aspired to the Republican presidential nomination. Tough-talking Ole had gained renown as the mayor of Seattle, where he broke up the nation's first general strike in 1919, wh...

    on September 27, 2001
  • Article

    Santa Ana - If OC is a melting pot, Santa Ana is the fire

    Photo by Jack GouldDrive the entire length of Broadway in Santa Ana, and you'll see homes every bit as beautiful and well-kept as those in the snootier Floral Park neighborhoods. But next door to some of those bitchen Broadway homes are what appear ...

    on September 27, 2001
  • Article

    Seal Beach - Little Dublin

    As you might expect from a town that's home to not only a Leisure World but also a Christian Science Reading Room and a rare-plants nursery just a couple of blocks from its pier, the pace of Seal Beach is decidedly more measured than most beach town...

    on September 27, 2001
  • Article

    San Juan Capistrano - Before Disneyland, there was the mission

    Photo by Keith MayBefore there was Disneyland, there was Mission San Juan Capistrano. Before there was Mickey Mouse, there were the swallows. Before there was a Junipero Serra, there were happy Indians. Small, tucked away and sometimes forgotten, ...

    on September 27, 2001
  • Article

    Stanton - Almost became a sewage farm

    Photo by Keith MayCalifornia adventure? Forget Anaheim and its new amusement park of spit-shined clichs. Stanton's three square miles of callused suburbia represent what the Golden State is really about. Well, don't forget Anaheim completely becaus...

    on September 27, 2001
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