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California Fool's Gold -- A Northwest Los Angeles County Primer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 4, 2011 03:30pm | Post a Comment
NORTHWEST PASSAGE -- NORTHWEST COUNTY

Map of Northwest Los Angeles County
Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of Northwest Los Angeles County
 
 

Mountainous Northwest Los Angeles County is dominated by the Angeles National Forest and boasts numerous reservoirs, wilderness, and winding, scenic roads. In the northern portion there's a series of small towns located around a series of sag ponds. The southern, San Fernando Valley-adjacent towns tend to be booming suburbs by contrast. For centuries, the dramatic landscape supported the Chumash, Kitanemuk and Tataviam nations. Today, most of it is still sparsely populated in comparison to other parts of Los Angeles County. The region is surrounded by affluent Ventura County to the west, the sprawling Central Valley to the north, the somewhat post-apocalyptic desertscape of the Antelope Valley to the northeast, the fairly pristine Angeles Forest to the southeast, and the famed San Fernando Valley to the south. The overall population is approximately 67% white, 21% Latino, 6% Asian and 3% black.

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California Fool's Gold -- An Eastside Primer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 30, 2011 04:11pm | Post a Comment

ACROSS THE RIVER -- THE EASTSIDE

The Eastside

People are weird about Los Angeles' Eastside/Westside thing. The same wannabes from Midtown, HollywoodSilver Lake and Echo Park that throw up "W" hand signs and exaggeratedly say, "West-side" when they're ironically enjoying rap music are the same jerks that claim, despite the fact that they live in Central Los Angeles, that they live on The Eastside. If you call them on it, they usually claim that the real Eastside (the communities east of the Los Angeles River) are all East Los Angeles -- which is incorrect but more likely a sign that they've never been to the region that they claim -- and not some willful act of subterfuge. 


THE OTHER EASTSIDE 


To be fair to these noobs, ill-informed Westsiders, transplants, and weirdos who insist on dividing the entire city or county into just two regions (I count 20) -- there is more than one Eastside... sort of. The other Eastside is sometimes referred to as the Black Eastside (even though it's currently mostly Latino) and has a long claim to the Eastside name. To many black Angelenos and South Los Angeles residents,  the traditional division between the Eastside and Westside is the 110 freeway (and before that freeway's existence, Main Street).  However, when "The Eastside" is used in this respect, it's implied (and usually understood) that one is talking about the Eastside of South Los Angeles.

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California Fool's Gold -- An Angeles Forest Primer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 29, 2011 02:31pm | Post a Comment
NECK OF THE WOODS -- ANGELES FOREST

Angeles National Forest

Angeles National Forest is a vast 650,000 acre wood that serves as a residence for few humans and mountain playground for a population already spoiled for choice with ocean, desert and urban options… all available to be enjoyed in a single day. The National Forest was established by Executive Order in December 1892. It stretches from the Pacific Ocean to the Mojave Desert along the San Gabriel Mountains, spreading across five counties. 



LOCATION OF ANGELES FOREST


Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of Angeles Forest

In the LA County portion, the Angeles Forest is divided into two halves; one in Northwest Los Angeles County and the other, larger section, to the east, separated by the Antelope Valley Freeway and a series of small canyons formed along the seasonal Santa Clara River. This larger area of Los Angeles County's portion of the forest is known as the Angeles Forest District, which includes three sparsely populated neighborhoods, Angeles Crest, Lopez & Kagel Canyons, and the Tujunga Canyons. Angeles Forest is surround by San Bernadino County/The Inland Empire to the east, Pomona Valle to the southeast, Antelope Valley to the north, Northwest Los Angeles County to the west, San Fernando Valley to the southwest, and the Verdugos and San Gabriel Valley to the south. 


LIFE OF THE FOREST

California Fool's Gold -- A Harbor Primer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 23, 2011 03:30pm | Post a Comment
AMERICA'S PORT

Map of the Harbor
Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of The Harbor

The Harbor
is the region of Los Angeles County centered around San Pedro Bay. It is the site of both the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach, which together form the fifth-busiest port facility in the world (behind the ports of Shanghai ( 上海), Singapore, Hong Kong (香港), and Shenzhen (深圳) -- all in Asia). It was originally a shallow mudflat known to the indigenous Tongva as the Bay of Smokes. It was dredged in modern times to an average depth of ten to twenty meters. Natural islands in the Harbor included Terminal Island, Mormon Island and Dead Man's Island. The latter was removed, the second was connected to the mainland and the first is a highly augmented mudflat. There are four artificial islands built around oil rigs; Freeman, Grissom, White and Chaffee Islands. If one figure can be credited with the Harbor's transformation, it's Delaware-born Phineas Banning.

 

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California Fool's Gold -- A Mideast Side Primer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, March 16, 2011 05:00pm | Post a Comment
As regular (and probably irregular) readers of Eric's Blog know, a big part of my focus is writing about the culture, character and history of the many diverse communities of Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Although so far there have been around 800 votes from readers, I thought it would be fun (and hopefully entertaining) to focus on the regions and provide a brief summary of them with the hope of encouraging informed voting for the neighborhoods within. In this entry I'd like to focus on what I refer to as the Mideast Side.
 
Los Angeles' Mideast Side


IDENTITY CRISIS

The Mideast Side is a name that I made up. Like most of my clever ideas, I was probably beaten to it by someone else because it's natural to want a label for one's region and the Mideast Side doesn't have one besides being part of the larger Central Los Angeles area. The Los Angeles Times covers the Mideast asi part of Central Los Angles -- which it is -- but the other regions of Central Los Angeles (Downtown, Hollywood, and Midtown) having their own recognized identities, the Mideast's has long been (in the words of Phil colli a land of confusion.

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