Cities and Communities of Los Angeles County
History Course, Dr. Olga Lazin,, UCLA
1. Roll
2. Assignment:
Los Angeles city history, the evolution of city government and how it works:
- What a Chartered city is (Charter city reform)
- The city’s finances.
- Neighborhood Councils (started in 1999).
WATER in Northern CA was the magnet for the creation of L.A. Santa Monica had wells (this is why it did not join L.A., nor did Wilmington)
One purpose of A City (or a city’s role) is to turn/move worker class people to middle-class.
The booming communities of Riverside and San Bernardino are good examples.
A. Society:
Initially it was Conservative and reactionary, built up by individuals, mostly white Protestants. A business elite dominated city, conservative, antilabor big city “a white, big small town”, kept the left out. Dr. Heinz was a socialist.
Post WWII becomes more working, middle-class, and more diversified (Blacks and Jews moving in from the East coast and South).
- The rise of the Bradley Coalition, now Villareigosa’s LABOR Latino coalition. Now hugely democratic and minority participation.
B. Now it is made up of people from well to do to poor mostly, less middle class.
- Housing has been and still is a terrible issue.
Is the working class becoming the middle class? How to create a middle class? (ownership of a house, so people have a stake.)
L.A. had water stolen from the North (fair and square); started grabbing/absorbing cities by lips and bounds. An independent borough system. The Valley joined to get irrigated, borrowed money to build the aqueduct. The Harbor joined.
Private businessman ran the city.
Turn of the century reform era, history; dr. Randolph Haynes, an early reformer 1829 Charter and Dora Haynes (foundation)1 . Reforms to have clean government.
In the 1990s, the system of Neighborhood Councils2 was set up for democratizing the system, enlarging the circle of participatory government, bringing grassroots into governing the cities.
Reforming took place through many progressive movements.
The business class responded to the reforms.
Heinz’s 1925 City Charter.
- The bombing of “Los Angeles Times”, labor class, hurt the rise of the socialist mayor. Lately the great depression changed the city; the war, the returning G.I.s;
- should the city council be larger?
- Should we reform ethics more, campaign reform, to enlarge the participation into city council.
Public Transportation system;
- initially it was developed by the private sector; street –cars, then the rail lines are extremely expensive, and the car was paramount.
Public transportation is a product of working class. Mayor Bradly reformed it.
- the train station helped move people around.
HOUSING assistance to couples – GI. Bill:
The Inland Empire is fueling the dynamic of the city. Comparative absence of the middle class.
- it helps voting, if people have a home.
How the city finances itself:
Who are the players? How it evolved into a non-partisan city gvt.?
F. WHAT THE CITY LOOKS LIKE.; (see maps in the book)
IT IS ONE SUPER CITY, biggest non-partisan city, surrounded by small and big cities.
- Colossal public work success; they dug a harbor, dams, etc.
Hard to neat together the coalitions to make things work. But fragmented political communities. (not linked by political parties).
- the water lines, sewer lines could be improved in L.A.
- Equity, redistribution of resources are
-It serves a large constituency. Developers control and management.
- The Neighborhood Counsel SYSTEM (made up of 29 Commissioners)
- does not feel the need of accountability (counsel districts permit that one can get a hearing at city Hall, to make things move, and move resources around)
For book, send e-mail:
WE ARE TIED TOGETHER UNDERNEATH IN L.A. makes it possible to serve a more diverse constituency.
Mcmansionizing is negative; there is no parity btw. Developers and business communities contentios.
There were 88 cities (small little, nimble cities) in Los Angeles registered (See handout Road Map for cab drivers)
. Two of these were added in the year 2004 (Put in google cities in LA). Link:;
Look up mayor and City Council and Statistics (for Population)
• There are 205 communities, that is 303 administrative units (cities and communities require/ are comprised of libraries, police and fire departments, hospitals and schools.)
Population (year 2000): 3,694,820, Estimate population in July 2004: 3,845,541 (+4.1% change)

Males: 1,841,805 (49.8%), Females: 1,853,015 (50.2%)
Elevation: 330 feet
County: Los Angeles
Land area: 469.1 square miles
MAP of Greater L.A.
• The first inhabitants of this area were indigenous and Hispanic people.
• The Los Pobladores were the founders of the city of Los Angeles. They arrived in the summer of 1781.
• 44 Pobladores were recorded from the official Spanish census and included the names, race, sex and age of all persons. Their ages ranged from one to 67, and were Mulattos (a racial mix of black and indigenous or white), Mestizo (mix of Indian and Spanish), Spanish, Indians and Blacks. These families included Camero, Lara, Mesa, Moreno, Navarro, Quintero, Rodriguez, Rosas, Vanegas and Vellavicencio.
• Felipe de Neve was the first governor of California.
• The cultural heritage and racial diversity of Los Angeles links its history from the past to the present.
The Community Papers:
Hand in the title of your paper and discuss title with Dr. Lazin. Peer editing.
• Find a partner and decide which community you will research.
• The paper must be 4-5 pages long, and each person must submit their own paper.
• Your paper must discuss the social, political, and economic factors; discuss who the representatives are, as well as a discussion about why you chose this community.3
Final Exam Questions
Each question counts as 10 points for a maximum of 50 points.
1. What might students learn about communities from studying an example of an economic failure that would not be revealed from studying an economic success?
2. What kinds of evidence would indicate changes either in a community’s standard of living OR in social mobility through history?
3. What kinds of historical sources would you use to study the history of an ethnic group in our community?
4. How can national political issues be studied through a local history focus? Is there any advantage to this approach over a standard textbook approach to U.S. history?
5. Describe how you would develop a local history unit appropriate for fourth to sixth grade children? What would you study, how would you do it, what end product would the children produce, and how would you assess it?
Special Notes:
• Look up the names of the two newest cities in the Thomas Guide.
South Pasadena was named California’s second Bone-Dry City
Alphabetical Listing of Incorporated Areas in Los Angeles County
Find your city, click on the city to go to the city's home page or click on the district to go to your Supervisorial District's home page. Call the City Council members office.

(a) Incorporated March 23, 1960 as City of Mirada Hills. Name changed to La Mirada on December 15, 1960 (approved by voters November 8, 1960, filed with Secretary of State on December 15, 1960).
(b) Incorporated September 11, 1906 as City of Lordsburg. Name changed to La Verne on August 24, 1917.
(c) First incorporated on February 10, 1888, disincorporated July 24, 1896. Second incorporation effective December 13, 1897 -Long Beach.
(d) Name changed from Dairy Valley to Cerritos, March 1, 1966.
Incorporated Cities Now Consolidated
                                   (a)  Incorporated as the City of Ocean Park on February 17, 1904. Name changed to Venice June 2, 1911.
                                   (b)  Westwood Nighborhood Council was approved on January 19th, 2010.

Olga Magdalena Lazín