California City

California City

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.

Episodes

December 22, 2020 24 min
Silver Saddle Ranch gets sold, and the people who still believe it’s worth something stage a protest. Plus, a former employee comes forward with a disturbing story. This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.
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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 p...
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August 24, 2020 35 min
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/...
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August 17, 2020 30 min
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/CALCIT...
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August 10, 2020 28 min
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 t...
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August 3, 2020 22 min
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.
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July 27, 2020 38 min
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.
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July 20, 2020 38 min
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.
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July 13, 2020 47 min
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.
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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.
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