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Buy Land Now, You’ll Be Rich One Day: New LAist Studios Podcast “California City” Explores The Dark Side Of The American Dream




Reporter Emily Guerin covers California City’s unusual history in light of recent land sale schemes in a multi-part podcast called “California City,” premiering July 13.
Reporter Emily Guerin covers California City’s unusual history in light of recent land sale schemes in a multi-part podcast called “California City,” premiering July 13.
Photo courtesy of LAist Studios and James Kim

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One hundred miles north of Los Angeles, in the Mojave Desert, there is a sprawling, half-built town called California City.

For over 60 years, real estate developers have sold a dream here: If you buy land now, you will get rich one day. Thousands of people believed this dream, but much of the land they bought was nearly worthless.

The newest podcast from LAist Studios chronicles the history of California City, the people who were drawn to buy real estate there, and what ultimately happened to them, the land they bought and the city that drew them in. Host Emily Guerin discovered the story not long after she joined the reporting team at KPCC while reporting on the drought at the time, and how cities across Southern California were complying with state water usage mandates. California City, she discovered was not doing a particularly good job of conservation, and In the first episode of the podcast, Emily tells the story of Ben Perez, a former chef at the Google headquarters in Mountain View who was invited to spend a free weekend at a resort in California City called Silver Saddle Ranch and Club in July 2017. By the end of the weekend, Ben would be convinced to spend over $31,000 on a real estate investment he barely understood.

Today on AirTalk, “California City” host Emily Guerin joins Larry to talk more about the story of California City and how one news story turned into a multi-part podcast.

With files from LAist

Guest:

Emily Guerin, senior reporter at KPCC and host of the new KPCC/LAist Studios podcast “California City”; she tweets @guerinemily