The Moreno Valley: Junkyard of OC Dreams

My sole Moreno Valley experience happened in 1998, when some methed-out gabacho stole my run-down 1983 Camaro from the parking lot of the former Huish Family Fun Center in Anaheim right next to Camelot (it's now an industrial park). When the cops told me that they found my car in Moreno Valley, my first reaction was "What the fuck is the Moreno Valley?" When I found it it was about an hour away and far from Rialto, Norco, Corona, Chino, and the other cities where distant cousins lived, my next reaction was, "Why the fuck would anyone want to live here?"

My vulgar bewilderment was further stoked by the actual drive there--baking hot, horrible 91 Freeway traffic, in an unreliable Ford Explorer driven by an honest-to-goodness Cajun who was our family mechanic. The Moreno Valley reminded me of rural Mexico: underdeveloped, barren, shoddy, filled with weird people, but with a lot of lawns. Sprinklers on all the time. Eerie. I picked up my car, drove away, and never gave the town another thought.

The Moreno Valley is now the poster child for American housing gone wrong, and the New York Times weighed in with one of their stock magisterial pieces, the kinds that read purty but don't say jack shit about reality. The Orange County connection is that two of the homeowners profiled in the piece moved to the MV because they couldn't afford apartments in OC, which should clue the rest of the nation into how stupid they were to buy into Moreno Valley. Reporter Jennifer Steinhauer doesn't note that even people in Colton ridicule Moreno Valley residents for living there. It's not an area "filled with people priced out of Los Angeles and Orange Counties, or looking to escape louder, less-safe cities," as the Times notes; it's a place for fools who weren't smart enough to buy a house in Calimesa. Shit, even Beaumont is better than Moreno Valley, and Beamount is sketchy.

UPDATE: Here's Village Voice editor (and OC boy) Tony Ortega's take on the story.


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