Los Angeles California
The City of Los Angeles is a large coastal metropolis in Southern California in the western United States. The city is the county seat of Los Angeles County. Los Angeles is the largest city in California, and the second most populous city in the United States, with a population of 3,694,820 as of the 2000 census. A July 1, 2002, Census estimate shows the city's population at 3,798,981.
Initially founded on September 4, 1781, as part of New Spain, the settlement was named by its Franciscan founders as El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula ("the town of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels at the Little Portion). The "little portion" referred to the tiny property (or porziuncola in Italian) on which St. Francis of Assisi lived in the 13th century in a ruined chapel. After St. Francis' death, the chapel became a place of pilgrimage with a fresco being painted on the wall behind the altar depicting the Virgin Mary surrounded by angels. Hence the chapel became known as "Saint Mary of the Angels at the Little Portion" , and the Californian settlement took its name from that original Franciscan chapel.
The Los Angeles metropolitan area (frequently termed the "Southland") consists of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties, and is home to more than sixteen million people of diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds. The Greater Los Angeles area is sometimes inaccurately referred to as Southern California, but geographically that term more properly includes both the Los Angeles metroplex and Imperial, Kern, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
Main Article: History of Los Angeles, California
Main article: Arts and Culture of Los Angeles
The greater Los Angeles area is the most important site in the United States for movie and television production. It is also one of the most important sites in the world for the recorded music industry. It faces increasing competition, however, from other parts of the United States and from the Canadian cities of Vancouver and Toronto. The phenomenon of entertainment companies running away to other locales in search of lower labor and production costs is known as "runaway production."
Los Angeles's literary side includes Raymond Chandler, whose hard-boiled detective stories were set in pre-war L.A. Walter Mosley is among the local succesors to Chandler. Nathaniel West's book, The Day of the Locust, depicted a raw side to the Hollywood dream. Ray Bradbury wrote science fiction after moving to the city in 1934. Actress Carrie Fisher has found success as a novelist. The best known local poet was Charles Bukowski, who lived in the then-seedy Venice district. Tens of thousands of screenplays have been written by L.A. city residents, and the movie business has attracted many authors, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tennessee Williams, Evelyn Waugh, and William Faulkner.
While the cuisines of many cultures have taken root in Los Angeles, it is the home of the Cobb Salad, invented in the Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood, the French-Dip sandwich, originated by either Cole's or Phillippe's restaurant in downtown, the ice blended coffee drink by Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and the Tommy's Hamburger.
The greater Los Angeles metro area has several notable art museums including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the J. Paul Getty Center on the Santa Monica mountains overlooking the Pacific, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), the Hammer Museum and the Norton Simon Museum. In the 1920s and 1930s Will Durant and Ariel Durant, Arnold Schoenberg and other intellectuals were the representatives of culture, in contrast to the movie writers and directors. But, until the 1960s the region was something of a "cultural wasteland" compared to San Francisco and New York--if culture is defined as the "high arts" of ballet, opera, classical music and legitimate theater. However, as the city flourished financially in the middle of the 20th century, the culture followed. Boosters such as Dorothy Buffum Chandler and other philanthropists raised funds for the establishment of art museums, music centers and theaters. Today, the Southland cultural scene is as complex, sophisticated and varied as any in the world.
The plein air movement of impressionistic landscape painting found early adherents in the Los Angeles area, and became a signature style of California art. In the 1960s, Corita Kent, then known as Sister Mary Corita of Immaculate Heart College, created bright, bold serigraphs carrying the messages of love and peace.
Los Angeles is known for its mural art, and its thousands of examples of wall art are believe to outnumber those in every other city in the world. Mexican muralists such as Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siquieros and Jose Clemente Orozco all created murals in the area. The city also has a famous "public art" program which requires developers to contribute one percent of the cost of construction of new buildings to a public art fund. Much of this money has been spent in downtown Los Angeles.
In downtown Los Angeles, there are several buildings constructed in the Art Deco style. In recognition of this heritage, the recently built Metropolitan Transit Authority building incorporates subtle Art Deco characteristics.
Modern architecture in the city ranges from the works of pioneering black architect Paul Willams (architect), to the iconoclastic forms of Frank Gehry. Charles Eames and his wife Ray Eames designed famous chairs and other domestic goods.
Los Angeles had a vibrant African-American musical community even when it was relatively small: a number of musical artists congregated around Central Avenue, and the community produced a number of great talents, including Charles Mingus, Buddy Collette, Gerald Wilson, and others in the 1930s and 1940s. While that scene disappeared in the 1950s, Los Angeles continues as an important center for music, including rock and rap, both performed live and recorded. In the 1960s the Sunset Strip became a breeding ground for bands like The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and the Doors. The Beach Boys were founded in nearby Hawthorne. Much hard rock has come out of Los Angeles, including "hair bands" like Mötley Crüe, thrash metal acts like Slayer, and also 90s rock bands such as Korn. Metallica got their start in L.A., but made their fame in the Bay Area. The hardcore punk movement also had an offshoot here, featuring bands like X, Black Flag and Wasted Youth.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra now performs at Walt Disney Concert Hall after having spent many years in residence at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and performs summer concerts at the Hollywood Bowl.
Los Angeles is the home of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers men's basketball teams, the Los Angeles Sparks women's basketball team, the Los Angeles Kings hockey team, the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer team, and the Los Angeles Avengers arena football team.
The city is credited with being the birthplace of skateboarding.
Los Angeles is perhaps the most mountainous metropolis in the world, with four mountain ranges partly inside city boundaries. Thousands of miles of trails crisscross the city and neighboring areas, providing exercise and wilderness access on foot, bike, or horse. Across the county a great variety of outdoor activities are available, such as skiing, rock climbing, gold panning, hang gliding, and windsurfing. Numerous outdoor clubs serve these sports, including the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club, which annually leads over 4,000 outings in the area.
Los Angeles is remarkably rich in native plant species. With its beaches, dunes, wetlands, hills, mountains, and rivers, the area contains a number of important biological communities. The largest area is coastal sage scrub, which covers the hillsides in combustible chaparral. Native plants include: California poppy, matilija poppy, toyon, coast live oak, giant wild rye grass, and hundreds of others. Unfortunately, many native species are so rare as to be endangered, such as the Los Angeles sunflower.
The city is served by several local television stations including:
Los Angeles is served by the Los Angeles Times and La Opinión (the city's major Spanish-language paper.), as well as smaller regional newspapers, alternative weeklies and magazine, including the Daily News (which focuses coverage on the Valley), L.A. Weekly, L.A. City Beat, Los Angeles magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal, Los Angeles Daily Journal (legal industry paper), Daily Variety, (show-biz industry paper), and Los Angeles Downtown News.
Los Angeles is home to adherents of many religions. The cathedral of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (at the north end of downtown) was completed in 2002. A major temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is situated in West Los Angeles.
Los Angeles' large multi-ethnic population has fostered some of the less common religions of North America . Immigrants from Asia, for example, have formed a number of significant Buddhist congregations.
Los Angeles is also home to a number of Neopagans and other mystical religions.
The city has also been home to some very colorful religious leaders and icons. In the 1920s, Aimee Semple McPherson established a thriving evangelic ministry, open to both black and white congregants. The Church of Scientology today has a major presence in the city.
Los Angeles has been derided by many in the rest of the United States for most of the last century; to quote one dyspeptic observer, the city "oozed up through the unstable earth like some noxious tropical plant growing and spreading over the plain and sending forth strange fruit to contaminate the rest of the country". H.L. Mencken complained about the stink of oranges, Douglas Adams noted that the city is "like several thousand square miles of American Express junk mail, but without the same sense of moral depth," while Bertolt Brecht compared Los Angeles to hell with "endless processions of cars/Lighter than their own shadows, faster than/Mad thoughts, gleaming vehicles in which/Jolly-looking people come from nowhere and are nowhere bound". The current stereotype appears to be Los Angeles as dystopia, as portrayed in movies such as Blade Runner and novels like Snow Crash, and also promulgated in part by socialist urban critic Mike Davis, author of the influential nonfiction works City of Quartz and Ecology of Fear.
Other perceptions of Los Angeles suggest a town full of surfers, gang members and show biz types.
The primary school district that serves Los Angeles is Los Angeles Unified School District.
Colleges and universities
Note: for more colleges and universities in the L.A. area, such as Caltech, see Los Angeles County, California#Colleges and Universities
Sites of interest
Law and government
Main article: Law and Government of Los Angeles
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) polices the city of Los Angeles. (The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department polices all areas of L.A. county that do not have independent city police departments.)
The city has a mayor-council system. The current mayor is James Hahn. There are 15 city council districts. Other elected city officials are the city attorney and the city controller. The city attorney prosecutes misdemeanors within the city limits. The district attorney, elected by the county voters, prosecutes misdemeanors in unincorporated areas and in 78 of the 88 cities in the county, as well as felonies everywhere in the county.
The city government has had a reputation at times for corruption and incompetence in the delivery of services, which ultimately led to an unsuccessful secession movement in 2002. The main problem seems to be that the city administration in Downtown gives more priority to high-density neighborhoods like Mid-City and Downtown at the expense of its far-flung suburban neighborhoods.
To make the government more responsive and to help encourage the cohesiveness of neighborhood communities, the city council has started defining official neigbhorhoods (with signs at boundaries) and has approved the creation of dozens of advisory neighborhood councils.
Main article: Geography of Los Angeles
The city is situated in a semitropical Mediterranean climate zone.
L.A. has a total area of 472.08 square miles. The extreme north-south distance is 44 miles, the extreme east-west distance is 29 miles, and the length of the city boundary is 342 miles.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1,290.6 km² (498.3 mi²). 1,214.9 km² (469.1 mi²) of it is land and 75.7 km² (29.2 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 5.86% water.
The highest point in Los Angeles is Sister Elsie Peak, 5,080 feet at the far reaches of the northeastern San Fernando Valley, part of Mt. Lukens. The city is mostly at sea level elevation or a few feet above.
The major waterway of Los Angeles is the Los Angeles River, and water rights and battles have been a major part of the city's history.
Like most areas of California, Los Angeles' history is punctuated with major earthquakes, most recently the 1994 Northridge earthquake, centered in the northern San Fernando Valley. Coming less than two years after the civil unrest, the Northridge earthquake resulted in an additional shock to Southern Californians, in addition to billions of dollars in damage. Other major earthquakes include the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake and the 1971 Sylmar earthquake.
Greater Los Angeles (also referred to locally as "Southern California" or "The Southland") is such a sprawling area that residents refer to broad general sub-regions. It is not always meaningful to refer to Los Angeles as a distinct city, but people outside of Southern California commonly refer to the entire region as "L.A.," even though there are five counties, more than 100 distinct municipalities, hundreds of neighborhoods and districts, and more people than any individual state except for Texas, New York, Florida, and, of course, California.
Some areas are defined by natural features such as mountains or the ocean; others are marked by city boundaries, freeways, or other constructed landmarks. For example, Downtown Los Angeles is the area of Los Angeles roughly enclosed by three freeways and one river: The Harbor Freeway to the west, the Hollywood Freeway to the north, the Los Angeles River to the east, and the Santa Monica Freeway to the south. Or, consider the San Fernando Valley: Lying north-northwest of Downtown L.A., "The Valley" is a 15 mile-wide basin ringed by mountains.
Some other areas of Los Angeles include the Westside; South L.A. (formerly known as South Central L.A.); and the San Pedro/Harbor City area. Adjoining areas that are outside the actual city boundaries of the incorporated city of Los Angeles include the South Bay, the San Gabriel Valley and the Foothills.
The city boundaries are quite complicated. Some areas such as Beverly Hills and San Fernando are separate cities and are independent of Los Angeles, yet are entirely surrounded by L.A. territory. There are also unincorporated enclaves which are under County jurisdiction.
Communties, Neighborhoods and Districts
The city is divided into many neighborhoods, but their boundaries were generally informal until relatively recently, when the city government started appointing advisory neighborhood councils and posting signs to mark neighborhood boundaries. Most of the neighborhood names come either from farm towns that were annexed by the growing city, physical terrain features, major streets, or subdivision names coined by enterprising developers.
Depending on the context, West Los Angeles can refer to either a specific neighborhood or the entire Westside.
For more communities and cities local to the L.A. area, see Los Angeles County, California.
These are districts and neighborhoods within the city proper: Arleta, Arroyo Seco, Atwater Village, Baldwin Hills, Bel-Air, Beverlywood, Boyle Heights, Brentwood, Byzantine-Latino Quarter, Canoga Park, Century City, Chatsworth, Cheviot Hills, Chinatown, Downtown Los Angeles, Eagle Rock, Echo Park, El Sereno, Elysian Valley, Encino, Fairfax District, Glassell Park, Granada Hills, Hancock Park, Highland Park, Hollywood, Holmby Hills, Koreatown, Leimert Park, Lincoln Heights, Little Tokyo, Los Feliz, Mar Vista, Mission Hills, Montecito Heights, Mt. Washington, North Hills, North Hollywood, Northridge, Olive View, Pacific Palisades, Pacoima, Palms, Panorama City, Pico-Union, Playa del Rey, Porter Ranch, Rancho Park, Reseda, San Pedro, Sawtelle, Sepulveda, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, South Central Los Angeles (now formally South Los Angeles), Studio City, Sunland, Sunset Junction, Sun Valley, Sylmar, Tarzana, Toluca Lake, Tujunga, Universal City, Van Nuys, Venice, Watts, West Adams, West Alameda, Westchester, West Hills, Westlake/MacArthur Park, West Los Angeles, Westwood, Wilmington, Winnetka, Woodland Hills
Area code 213 - Downtown L.A.
Main article: Economy of Los Angeles
The most important industries in Los Angeles are entertainment and media production, aerospace, telecommunications, law, tourism, health and medicine, manufacturing and transportation. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are vital to North American trade with the Pacific Rim countries.
Major companies headquartered in Los Angeles
Entertainment companies headquartered near Los Angeles
None of the major film companies are headquartered within the boundaries of the City of Los Angeles for a variety of reasons, such as the city's high taxes. For example, Los Angeles charges a gross receipts tax on business revenue, while practically all neighboring cities do not.
Most visitors to the the City of Los Angeles arrive by air at Los Angeles International Airport. Visitors from within California, nearby states, or Mexico often choose to drive instead.
When approaching Los Angeles International Airport from the east, nighttime airline travelers will glimpse the lights of the greater Los Angeles area for over 30 minutes before landing. The greater Los Angeles area sprawls over 120 miles from Ventura to San Bernardino.
L.A.'s Union Station (a terminus) is the train station for Amtrak and Metrolink. Amtrak operates a somewhat less than hourly service to San Diego and less frequent services to the north, including the Coast Starlight to Seattle, once a day, a 34 hours ride. There is also daily service once a day to Chicago and three times a week to Orlando, Florida.
As for visitors arriving by car or bus, the major routes are Interstate 5, Interstate 15, U.S. Highway 101, and Interstate 10. Interstates 5 and 15 connect to all cities to the north and south. Highway 101 runs west towards Santa Barbara before veering north towards San Francisco. Interstate 10 connects to all cities to the east.
There are at least a dozen major freeways. The original freeway, known as the Arroyo Seco Parkway, running between downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena, opened January 1, 1940, when the first California freeway "traffic jam" occurred. Major freeways of Los Angeles include the San Diego (405) freeway, Ventura (101) freeway, Santa Monica (10) freeway, Harbor (110) freeway, Century (105) freeway, Simi Valley (118) freeway, the Foothill (210) freeway, Long Beach (710) freeway and the Golden State (5) freeway.
The city's streets are often as congested as its freeways; besides the lack of capacity, the city is also notorious for poor street maintenance. Streets were a major issue during an unsuccessful campaign in 2002 by some Hollywood and San Fernando Valley residents to secede from Los Angeles. The city is often contrasted unfavorably by the news media against neighboring communities, in terms of filling potholes, adding dedicated left-turn traffic signals, and resurfacing older concrete roads with asphalt.
The primary regional public transportation agency is the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, commonly referred to as MTA or Metro. MTA has developed a sophisticated and modern subway, as well as an extensive bus system. Additionally, a light rail system has been built connecting downtown L.A. to outlying suburbs like Long Beach and Pasadena. Expansion of the subway system was halted by voter referendum after several accidents during the construction of the Red Line subway, but MTA is continuing with expansion of the light rail network to the Westside and East Los Angeles, and with expansion of the bus network along dedicated busways.
The City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) also runs several short bus lines to fill gaps in the huge MTA countywide bus network, and many bordering cities operate their own bus companies with service into the City of Los Angeles. To make its buses stand out from the chaos on L.A. streets, the City of Santa Monica pioneered the practice of painting its "Big Blue Buses" all blue. City of Culver City buses are painted in a predominantly green pattern, and MTA local buses are now painted in an orange design. MTA also has special Metro Rapid buses which are painted red. LADOT buses are white.
The people of Los Angeles are known as "Angelenos". L.A. can truly be described as a "world city"--it has one of the largest and most diverse populations of any municipality anywhere. The Hispanic and Asian-American populations are growing particularly quickly--the Asian-American population is the largest of any city in the U.S. Los Angeles hosts the largest populations of Armenians, Cambodians, Filipinos, Guatemalans, Koreans, Thais, Mexicans, and Salvadorans outside of their respective countries. Los Angeles is also home to the largest populations of Japanese, Iranians, and Cambodians living in the U.S. L.A. also has one of the largest Native American populations in the country.
L.A. is home to people from more than 140 countries, who speak at least 92 different languages. Ethnic enclaves like Chinatown, Koreatown, Little Persia, Thai Town and Little Ethiopia give testimony to the polyglot character of Los Angeles.
As of the census of 2000, there are 3,694,820 people, 1,275,412 households, and 798,407 families residing in the city. The population density is 3,041.3/km² (7,876.8/mi²). There are 1,337,706 housing units at an average density of 1,101.1/km² (2,851.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 46.93% White, 29.75% non-Latino white, 11.24% African American, 0.80% Native American, 9.99% Asian, 0.16% Pacific Islander, 25.70% from other races, and 5.18% from two or more races. 46.53% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 1,275,412 households out of which 33.5% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.9% are married couples living together, 14.5% have a female householder with no husband present, and 37.4% are non-families. 28.5% of all households are made up of individuals and 7.4% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.83 and the average family size is 3.56.
In the city the population is spread out with 26.6% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 34.1% from 25 to 44, 18.6% from 45 to 64, and 9.7% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 32 years. For every 100 females there are 99.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 97.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $36,687, and the median income for a family is $39,942. Males have a median income of $31,880 versus $30,197 for females. The per capita income for the city is $20,671. 22.1% of the population and 18.3% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 30.3% are under the age of 18 and 12.6% are 65 or older.
Famous political figures born within the city of Los Angeles include
Not surprisingly, the list includes many film and television stars (including second generation stars)
The list also includes several musicians
Other notables include
Numerous other figures (too many to mention) were born elsewhere in Southern California or spent their childhood in the Los Angeles region.