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California City

Author: LAist Studios

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Deep in the Mojave Desert, there is a little town with a big name and a bizarre history: California City. For decades, real estate developers have sold a dream here: if you buy land now, you’ll be rich one day. Thousands of people bought this dream. Many were young couples and hard-working immigrants looking to build a better future. But much of the land they bought is nearly worthless.  In this new podcast from LAist Studios, host Emily Guerin tells a story of money, power and deception.
10 Episodes
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Now that our limited run series is over, we wanted to share a preview of the new season of Motive, an investigative series from WBEZ Chicago hosted by Odette Yousef and Colin McNulty. To understand today’s white supremacist movement, look at the last time hate pulled in young Americans. Preview the new season of Motive, an investigative series from WBEZ Chicago, where over the span of eight episodes, they explore how Skinheads became front-line warriors of the white supremacy movement, and how their experience created the playbook for the recruitment of young people into the movement today.  California City sponsors include: Korea Tourism Organization: Visit Korea and experience delicious food, vibrant cities, and natural beauty. Please visit https://www.visitkorea.com.my/ Caltech: Cal Tech Science Exchange provides trustworthy answers, clear explanations, and fact-driven conversation on critical topics in science and technology. Please visit scienceexchange.caltech.edu
For decades, Californians have been obsessed with trying to profit off desert land. In this bonus episode of California City, host Emily Guerin, the Desert Oracle’s Ken Layne, and artist and curator Kim Stringfellow explore the myths of the Mojave Desert as "wasteland," failed schemes and utopias, Instagram-driven tourism and coronavirus refugees. The audio was recorded during a live virtual event on September 3, 2020 and presented by LAist Studios and KPCC in partnership with The Autry Museum of the American West.   California City sponsors include: Sun Basket is offering $35 off your order when you go right now to SUNBASKET.com/calcity and enter promo code calcity at checkout. Simplisafe: Try SimpliSafe today at SimpliSafe.com/CALCITY. You get free shipping and a 60-day risk free trial. There’s nothing to lose. Korea Tourism Organization: Visit Korea and experience delicious food, vibrant cities, and natural beauty. Please visit https://www.visitkorea.com.my/ Caltech: Cal Tech Science Exchange provides trustworthy answers, clear explanations, and fact-driven conversation on critical topics in science and technology. Please visit scienceexchange.caltech.edu
The Reckoning

The Reckoning

2020-08-2438:492

Silver Saddle gets shut down and accused of fraud. Will the company - and the dream Ben Perez believed - survive? California City is a limited series with 8 episodes. Show support by subscribing wherever you get your podcasts. California City sponsors include: Sun Basket is offering $35 off your order when you go right now to SUNBASKET.com/calcity and enter promo code calcity at checkout. Try SimpliSafe today at SimpliSafe.com/CALCITY. You get free shipping and a 60-day risk free trial. There’s nothing to lose.
Open Secret

Open Secret

2020-08-1733:264

Fear, rumors, and looking the other way. How salesmen have sold the fantasy of California City for so long. California City is a limited series with 8 episodes. Show support by subscribing wherever you get your podcasts. California City sponsors include: Sun Basket is offering $35 off your order when you go right now to SUNBASKET.com/calcity and enter promo code calcity at checkout. Try SimpliSafe today at SimpliSafe.com/CALCITY. You get free shipping and a 60-day risk free trial. There’s nothing to lose.
Emily confronts the owner of Silver Saddle and walks away doubting herself. Plus, Ben becomes part of Silver Saddle's sales machine. California City is a limited series with 8 episodes. Show support by subscribing wherever you get your podcasts. California City sponsors include: Sun Basket is offering $35 off your order when you go right now to SUNBASKET.com/calcity and enter promo code calcity at checkout. Try SimpliSafe today at SimpliSafe.com/CALCITY. You get free shipping and a 60-day risk free trial. There’s nothing to lose.
Ken Donney is a hero to some, but most people would call him a villain.  California City is a limited series with 8 episodes. Show support by subscribing wherever you get your podcasts. California City sponsors include: Sun Basket is offering $35 off your order when you go right now to SUNBASKET.com/calcity and enter promo code calcity at checkout.
Soldiers of the Sale

Soldiers of the Sale

2020-07-2741:464

Nat builds an army of salespeople to sell his dream. And then, then Ralph Nader intervenes. California City is a limited series with 8 episodes. Show support by subscribing wherever you get your podcasts. California City sponsors include: Sun Basket is offering $35 off your order when you go right now to SUNBASKET.com/calcity and enter promo code calcity at checkout.
A Man with a Dream

A Man with a Dream

2020-07-2041:474

The vision that Ben Perez was sold in 2017 began in 1958, with one man's dream to build a utopian desert city from scratch.
In 2017 Ben Perez goes to a Mojave Desert resort for a free vacation and ends up signing away his life savings. Turns out Ben is one of tens of thousands to believe a version of this dream over the past 60 years.
It was supposed to be a simple story about the California drought. Instead, reporter Emily Guerin became obsessed with the bizarre history of a sprawling, half-built desert city.
Comments (9)

J.

Why would you sneer at the fact that most Nader's people were men back then?! Do you need someone to give you a participation trophy every time?

Aug 16th
Reply

Danielle Luther

Kudos to you, Emily Guerin, for shedding light on this long term and horrendous scam. I am 💯% sure that other, high ranking politicians (that also share the title of Real Estate mogul), got rich this exact same way. Translation = by taking other people's hard earned money and taking advantage of individuals.

Jul 31st
Reply

Tammy Maggard Garcia

Great story Great storyteller!

Jul 28th
Reply

Helen Turner

very poor sound quality except for narration

Jul 27th
Reply

Incredible Similarity

@ 2:05. third largest city in California. Ha. not even close. Where do you get your information from I ask.

Jul 27th
Reply (2)

Shari Lynn

Not surprising that real estate agent Catherine has a bumper sticker for Trump as she is a fan (mark) of another con man, Nat Mendelssohn, the developer behind California City.

Jul 22nd
Reply (1)
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