Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A new chapter of the American Dream in Orange County, California …

   For people like me who grew up in 1960s & 70s, Orange County, Cal., and its city of Anaheim seemed like the quintessential white-bread America: Disneyland, outdoor sports, and a sunny sea of suburban houses inhabited by conservative whites, many of whom lived in Orange County because it wasn’t Los Angeles – just as millions of American white people across the nation moved to suburbs during this era to get out central cities.   
Anaheim    Things have changed.  Anaheim, home to Mickey Mouse and the biggest city in Orange County (more than 340,000), now holds a majority Latino population.  And the city’s Latinos have brought their preferred land uses – soccer in the park instead of baseball, flea markets, outdoor wrestling matches (quiz for lawyers and students: Do you remember the 1936 Orange County case of Swartzbaugh v. Sampson?), and small Mexican food outlets.  But what is most interesting to me about this story from the Los Angeles Times is the happy lack of the word “foreclosure.”  Unlike the construction-and-foreclosure-boom exurbs of Riverside County, for example, Anaheim has always held many small and sensible houses – places that attracted ex-GIs with middling incomes in the 1950s and, today, many Latino families with moderate wealth.  This is not a primarily a destination for immigrants, but rather for American families, who happen to be Latino (most of Anaheim’s Latino residents are American-born), pursuing their own chapter of the dream …

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