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California nistory – visiting Santa Monica

Todays Date: November 19, 2018

Route 66 ends at Santa Monica’s Palisades Park. The park is landscaped with wide-leafed palm trees and bird-of-paradise plants that symbolize Southern California beauty. It is located on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, whose constant sea breezes cleanse the air and moderate temperatures to a near perfect seventy degrees throughout the year. Just below the park are miles of broad sandy beaches that provide virtually unlimited recreational possibilities for people of all ages. The horizon affords scenic vistas that include Malibu and the mountains to the north, the Palos Verdes peninsula on the south, and brilliant Pacific sunsets directly west. Most filmgoers and television buffs have unknowingly seen Palisades Park because it is a regular location for shooting movies, programs, and commercials.
The park once served as a starting point for a ten-kilometer race that capsulized Santa Monica life. The more than 2,000 entrants were affluent. They were mostly young people wearing expensive running clothes and shoes from specialty sporting-goods stores as well as healthy tans that came from outdoor living. The race course wound its way through the “north of Montana” neighborhood where half-milliondollar homes (and up) and Mercedes in driveways were common sights. The last two and a half miles gently sloped downhill, encouraging runners to achieve their “personal bests,” which were recorded by high tech timing devices at the finish line. Every finisher was applauded; everyone was a winner. The event, like Santa Monica itself, epitomized middle class success. (Bakken, 2003)
That success can be gleaned from some basic statistics. In 1980, the average Santa Monica home sold for a hefty $203,600 — slightly more than in nearby Beverly Hills. The mean income for Santa Monica families was $28,825, a respectable middle class figure that would be higher if accumulated and invested wealth were added. Nearly 78 percent of the residents were white, 60 percent of the adult women employed, and fully 43.5 percent of all residents engaged in professional and managerial careers. (Bakken, 2003) Relatively unusual for American communities, more than 70 percent of Santa Monicans rented their homes but the renters were almost as affluent as the homeowners. A random survey of tenants revealed that 87 percent were white, over 50 percent had household incomes above $20,000, and 51 percent were in professional, managerial, or business careers. (Bakken, 2003) In addition, 17 percent of the Santa Monica population was black or Hispanic, and less than 14 percent was working in manufacturing. (Bakken, 2003)
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