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.
California City

California City

From KPCC

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.

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Bonus Episode: Cashing In On The Desert

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

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

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.

The Hunted Becomes The Hunter

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. See omnystudio.com/policies/listener for privacy information.

The Tragedy That Occurred

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

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

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.

Turning Desert Dust Into Gold

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.