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Refresher: CA City Podcast Explores The Dark Side Of The American Dream




Real estate developer Nat Mendelson intended for California City to be a booming city of more than 75,000 people. Today, it's a remote desert city of 15,000.
Real estate developer Nat Mendelson intended for California City to be a booming city of more than 75,000 people. Today, it's a remote desert city of 15,000.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

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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.

Today on AirTalk, we revisit the podcast from LAist Studios, which 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.

With files from LAist  

With guest host John Rabe

Guest: 

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