|Southern California citrus, as shown in Sunset Magazine, March 1911|
We seceded for the usual reasons: It was too hard to get to the county seat to do business, all our tax money was spent in the “big city,” we had a strong enough economy to survive on our own, and we wanted the right of self-determination. L.A. wanted to hang onto us, not out of love and affection, but out of financial and political expediency. We’ve been wary of L.A. ever since.
Asked if he got to Los Angeles very often, Orange County’s “last rustic,” historian Jim Sleeper, once told a reporter, “Hell! I wouldn’t drive up there to watch Jesus Christ wrestle a grizzly bear!” (An L.A. newspaper printed the comment on their front page.)
For their part, Angelenos have invented an imaginary “Orange Curtain” dividing our counties, which I suppose explains why so many of them think they can’t venture south of Coyote Creek. Many also cling to the claim that there’s “no culture” down here, and therefore no reason to visit.
|The old plaza in Los Angeles, circa 1869 -- our previous county seat.|
Unlike Los Angeles, with its delusions adequacy, we're not accustomed to gloating and bragging. But since this month marks our 125th birthday, perhaps a bit of comparison is in order,...
Let me start by pointing out that the "HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH" is in Orange County! Really!
Also, Orange County is friendlier, cleaner, and less cramped than Los Angeles. We have better governance, air quality, public safety, school districts, parking, and water conservation. We enjoy cheaper gas, better drivers, a more user-friendly airport, and even a more interesting Spanish Mission. We have lower taxes and less violent crime. We call it a riot when kids get unruly and knock over trashcans in Huntington Beach.
|Early 1920s Southern California postcard. (Images courtesy O. C. Archives)|
And if that wasn’t enough, Sacramento clearly hates us – Which is perhaps the ultimate proof that we’re doing things right!
Feliz cumpleaños, Orange County. ¡Viva la independencia!