13 episodes

Deep in the Mojave Desert, there is a little town with a big name and a bizarre history: California City. For decades, real estate developers have sold a dream here: if you buy land now, you’ll be rich one day. Thousands of people bought this dream. Many were young couples and hard-working immigrants looking to build a better future. But much of the land they bought is nearly worthless.  In this new podcast from LAist Studios, host Emily Guerin tells a story of money, power and deception. 

California City LAist Studios

    • News
    • 4.5 • 1.2K Ratings

Deep in the Mojave Desert, there is a little town with a big name and a bizarre history: California City. For decades, real estate developers have sold a dream here: if you buy land now, you’ll be rich one day. Thousands of people bought this dream. Many were young couples and hard-working immigrants looking to build a better future. But much of the land they bought is nearly worthless.  In this new podcast from LAist Studios, host Emily Guerin tells a story of money, power and deception. 

    Human/Nature with The Tree That Won't Die

    Human/Nature with The Tree That Won't Die

    When it comes to invasive plants, tree of heaven is public enemy number one. This week on the show, we get to the bottom of its bad reputation. We’ll discover which parts are science, and which parts are straight up racism. 

    Human Nature is sponsored by BetterHelp and our listeners get 10% off their first month of online therapy at BetterHelp.com/nature

    Support for this podcast is made possible by Gordon and Dona Crawford, who believe that quality journalism makes Los Angeles a better place to live. This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

    • 21 min
    Introducing Season 2: Imperfect Paradise - The Forgotten Revolutionary

    Introducing Season 2: Imperfect Paradise - The Forgotten Revolutionary

    In the early 1990’s, hateful anti-immigrant political rhetoric roused California’s Chicano student rights movement, and college student and radio host Oscar Gomez was one of its most prominent voices. Some thought he was going to be the next Cesar Chavez. But on November 17, 1994, Oscar was mysteriously found dead on the Santa Barbara shore. 

    Imperfect Paradise: The Forgotten Revolutionary follows host and reporter Adolfo Guzman-Lopez as he investigates Oscar’s death and revisits his own past and ties to the Chicano movement.

    The Forgotten Revolutionary is sponsored by BetterHelp and our listeners get 10% off their first month of online therapy at BetterHelp.com/imperfect

    Support for this podcast is made possible by Gordon and Dona Crawford, who believe that quality journalism makes Los Angeles a better place to live. This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

    • 31 min
    Introducing Human/Nature, from LAist Studios

    Introducing Human/Nature, from LAist Studios

    Introducing Human/Nature, from LAist Studios, a podcast with a wild yet inspiring thesis: if you step outside and reconnect with nature in your own city, you’ll feel better, reconnect with yourself, and find your place in the world. This podcast will empower you to reclaim your attention. 

    In Episode 1, host and nature activist Marcos Trinidad talks with Jenny Odell, an artist and author of the book, “How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy.” O’Dell talks about birdwatching, the repose of Oakland’s bustling Morcom Rose Garden and why seeing a Wilson’s Warbler always puts her in a good mood.

    Human Nature is sponsored by BetterHelp and our listeners get 10% off their first month of online therapy at BetterHelp.com/nature

    Support for this podcast is made possible by Gordon and Dona Crawford, who believe that quality journalism makes Los Angeles a better place to live.

    This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

    • 23 min
    Where Dreams Go To Die

    Where Dreams Go To Die

    Silver Saddle Ranch gets sold, and the people who still believe it’s worth something stage a protest. Plus, a former employee comes forward with a disturbing story.

    This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

    • 24 min
    Bonus Episode: Cashing In On The Desert

    Bonus Episode: Cashing In On The Desert

    For decades, Californians have been obsessed with trying to profit off desert land. In this bonus episode of California City, host Emily Guerin, the Desert Oracle’s Ken Layne, and artist and curator Kim Stringfellow explore the myths of the Mojave Desert as "wasteland," failed schemes and utopias, Instagram-driven tourism and coronavirus refugees. The audio was recorded during a live virtual event on September 3, 2020 and presented by LAist Studios and KPCC in partnership with The Autry Museum of the American West.

     

    California City sponsors include:

    Sun Basket is offering $35 off your order when you go right now to SUNBASKET.com/calcity and enter promo code calcity at checkout.

    Simplisafe: Try SimpliSafe today at SimpliSafe.com/CALCITY. You get free shipping and a 60-day risk free trial. There’s nothing to lose.

    Korea Tourism Organization: Visit Korea and experience delicious food, vibrant cities, and natural beauty. Please visit https://www.visitkorea.com.my/

    Caltech: Cal Tech Science Exchange provides trustworthy answers, clear explanations, and fact-driven conversation on critical topics in science and technology. Please visit scienceexchange.caltech.edu

    • 51 min
    The Reckoning

    The Reckoning

    Silver Saddle gets shut down and accused of fraud. Will the company - and the dream Ben Perez believed - survive?

    California City is a limited series with 8 episodes. Show support by subscribing wherever you get your podcasts.

    California City sponsors include:

    Sun Basket is offering $35 off your order when you go right now to SUNBASKET.com/calcity and enter promo code calcity at checkout.

    Try SimpliSafe today at SimpliSafe.com/CALCITY. You get free shipping and a 60-day risk free trial. There’s nothing to lose.

    • 35 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
1.2K Ratings

1.2K Ratings

ellemac ,

So interesting

Excellent reporting on a crazy story. I hope the water wastage is no longer happening

johnnyswmi ,

Terrible

This show perpetuates racism and hate and it’s gross. Sad they feel they have to do this to get listeners.

Dunerider88 ,

Gripping story that goes deeper than you expect

I loved this podcast. I grew up in the antelope valley, not far from California city. To me, “ Cal City” was a crappy town to go ride dirt bikes and nothing else. Incredible to hear this well-told tale about its history and the people swept up in the scams of a “desert paradise”. Incredible narration. Ads are a little annoying, but I’m not paying for this program so no big deal. Give it 3 episodes, I guarantee you’ll be hooked.

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