Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Los Angeles

Los Angeles
—  City  —
City of Los Angeles
Downtown Los Angeles, Venice, Griffith Observatory,Hollywood Sign


Nickname(s): L.A., the City of Angels, Angeltown, the Entertainment Capital of the World, La-La Land
Location within Los Angeles County in the state of California
Los Angeles is located in USA
Los Angeles
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 34°03′N 118°15′W
CountryUnited States
StateCalifornia California
CountyLos Angeles County
SettledSeptember 4, 1781
IncorporatedApril 4, 1850
 - TypeMayor-Council
 - BodyLos Angeles City Council
 - MayorAntonio Villaraigosa
 - City AttorneyCarmen Trutanich
 - City ControllerWendy Greuel
 - City498.3 sq mi (1,290.6 km2)
 - Land469.1 sq mi (1,214.9 km2)
 - Water29.2 sq mi (75.7 km2)  5.8%
 - Urban645 sq mi (1,671 km2)
Elevation233 (city hall) ft (71 m)
Population (July 1, 2009)
 - City3,833,995
 - Density8,205/sq mi (3,168/km2)
 - Urban14,940,000
 - Metro15,250,000
 - CSA17,786,419
 - DemonymAngeleno
 (2nd US, 45th World)
Time zonePST (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST)PDT (UTC−7)
ZIP code90001–90068, 90070–90084, 90086–90089, 90091, 90093–90097, 90099, 90101–90103, 90174, 90185, 90189, 90291-90293, 91040–91043, 91303–91308, 91342–91349, 91352–91353, 91356–91357, 91364–91367, 91401–91499, 91601–91609
Area code(s)213, 310/424, 323, 661,747/818
Los Angeles  is the most populous city in California and the second most populous in the United States, after New York City, with a population of 3.8 million, on a land area of 498.3 square miles (1,290.6 km2). It is the focal point of the larger Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside combined statistical area, which contains nearly 17.8 million people and which is one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world and the second largest in the United States. Los Angeles is also the seat of Los Angeles County, the most populated and one of the most multicultural counties in the United States. The city's inhabitants are referred to as "Angelenos".
Often known by its initials, LA, and nicknamed the City of Angels, Los Angeles is a world center of business, international trade, entertainment, culture, media, fashion, science, technology, and education. It is home to renowned institutions covering a broad range of professional and cultural fields, and is one of the most substantial economic engines within the United States. Los Angeles has been ranked the third richest city and fifth most powerful and influential city in the world, behind only New York City in the United States. The Los Angeles combined statistical area (CSA) has a gross metropolitan product (GMP) of $831 billion (as of 2008), making it the third largest economic center in the world, after the Greater Tokyo Area and the New York metropolitan area. As the home base of Hollywood, it is known as the "Entertainment Capital of the World", leading the world in the creation of motion pictures, television production, video games, and recorded music. The importance of the entertainment business to the city has led many celebrities to call Los Angeles and its surrounding suburbs home. Los Angeles hosted the 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics. Los Angeles is also home to renowned universities such as the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles.
Los Angeles was founded on September 4, 1781 by Spanish governor Felipe de Neve. It became a part of Mexico in 1821 following the Mexican War of Independence. In 1848, at the end of the Mexican–American War, Los Angeles and the rest of California were purchased as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, thereby becoming part of the United States. Los Angeles was incorporated as a municipality on April 4, 1850, five months before California achieved statehood.
Los Angeles enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with an average of 35 days with measurable precipitation annually.


The old city plaza, 1869
Los Angeles City Hall, shown here in 1931, was built in 1928 and was the tallest structure in the city until 1964, when height restrictions were removed.
Downtown Los Angeles saw heavy development from the 1980s to 1990s, including the construction of some of the city's tallest skyscrapers.
The Los Angeles coastal area was first settled by the Tongva (or Gabrieleños) and Chumash Native American tribes thousands of years ago. The first Europeans arrived in 1542 in an expedition organized by the viceroy of New Spain and commanded by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese-born explorer who claimed the area of southern California for the Spanish Empire. However, he continued with his voyage up the coast and did not establish a settlement. The next contact would not come until 227 years later, when Gaspar de Portolà, along with Franciscan missionary Juan Crespí, reached the present site of Los Angeles on August 2, 1769. Crespí noted that the site had the potential to be developed into a large settlement.
In 1771, Franciscan friar Junípero Serra built the Mission San Gabriel Arcangel near Whittier Narrows, in what is now called San Gabriel Valley. In 1777, the new governor of California, Felipe de Neve, recommended to Antonio María de Bucareli y Ursúa, viceroy of New Spain, that the site noted by Juan Crespí be developed into a pueblo. The town was officially founded on September 4, 1781, by a group of forty-four settlers known as "Los Pobladores". Tradition has it that on this day they were escorted by four Spanish colonial soldiers, two priests from the Mission and Governor de Neve. The town was named El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula (The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels on the Porciúncula River). These pueblo settlers came from the common Hispanic culture that had emerged in northern Mexico among a racially mixed society. Two-thirds of the settlers were mestizo or mulatto, and therefore, had African, Amerindian, and European ancestry. More importantly, they were intermarrying. The settlement remained a small ranch town for decades, but by 1820 the population had increased to about 650 residents. Today, the pueblo is commemorated in the historic district of Los Angeles Pueblo Plaza and Olvera Street, the oldest part of Los Angeles.
New Spain achieved its independence from the Spanish Empire in 1821, and the pueblo continued as a part of Mexico. During Mexican rule, Governor Pío Pico, made Los Angeles Alta California's regional capital. Mexican rule ended during the Mexican–American War: Americans took control from the Californios after a series of battles, culminating with the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga on January 13, 1847.
Railroads arrived with the completion of the Southern Pacific line to Los Angeles in 1876. Oil was discovered in 1892, and by 1923 Los Angeles was producing one-quarter of the world's petroleum.
By 1900, the population had grown to more than 102,000 people, putting pressure on the city's water supply. 1913's completion of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, under the supervision of William Mulholland, assured the continued growth of the city.
In the 1920s, the movie and aviation industries flocked to Los Angeles, with continuing growth ensuring that the city suffered less during the Great Depression. In 1932, with population surpassing one million, the city hosted the Summer Olympics.
The post-war years saw an even greater boom, as urban sprawl expanded the city into the San Fernando Valley. In 1960, non-Hispanic whites made up 82% of the population of Los Angeles County. In 1969, Los Angeles became one of the birthplaces of the Internet, as the first ARPANET transmission was sent from theUniversity of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to SRI in Menlo Park.
In 1984, the city hosted the Summer Olympic Games for the second time. Despite being boycotted by 14 Communist countries, the 1984 Olympics became the most financially successful in history, and only the second Olympics to turn a profit – the other being the 1932 Summer Olympics, also held in Los Angeles.
During the remaining decades of the 20th century, the city was plagued by increasing gang warfare, drug trades, and police corruption. Racial tensions erupted again in 1992 with the Rodney King controversy and the large-scale riots that followed the acquittal of his police attackers. In 1994, the 6.7Northridge earthquake shook the city, causing $12.5 billion in damage and 72 deaths.
Voters defeated efforts by the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood to secede from the city in 2002.
Gentrification and urban redevelopment have occurred in many parts of the city, most notably Hollywood, Koreatown, Silver Lake, Echo Park and Downtown.


Panorama of Los Angeles as viewed from Mulholland Drive. Left to right: Santa Ana Mountains, downtown, Hollywood (foreground), Wilshire Boulevard, Port of Los Angeles, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Santa Catalina Island, and Los Angeles International Airport.

Hollywood, a well-known district of Los Angeles, is often mistaken as an independent city (as West Hollywood is).
The city is divided into over 80 districts and neighborhoods, many of which were incorporated places or communities that were annexed by the city. There are also several independent cities around Los Angeles, but they are popularly grouped with the city of Los Angeles, either due to being completely engulfed as enclaves by Los Angeles, or lying within its immediate vicinity. Generally, the city is divided into the following areas: Downtown Los Angeles, The Eastside and Northeast Los Angeles,South Los Angeles (still often colloquially referred to as South Central by locals), the Harbor Area, Greater Hollywood, Wilshire, the Westside and the San Fernando and Crescenta Valleys.
Some well-known communities within Los Angeles include West Adams, Watts, Leimert Park, Baldwin Hills, Venice Beach, the Downtown Financial District, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Hollywood, Koreatown, Westwood and the more affluent areas of Bel Air, Benedict Canyon, Hollywood Hills, Hancock Park, Pacific Palisades,Century City, and Brentwood.


Important landmarks in Los Angeles include Walt Disney Concert Hall, Kodak Theatre, Griffith Observatory, Getty Center, Getty Villa, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum,Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood Sign, Hollywood Boulevard, Capitol Records Tower, Los Angeles City Hall, Hollywood Bowl, Theme Building, Watts Towers, Randy's Donuts, Staples Center, Dodger Stadium, and La Placita Olvera/Olvera Street. Downtown Los Angeles is quickly becoming a landmark of itself, with development of billion dollar projects such as Wilshire Grand Tower I, rivaling the prominence of places such as Times Square.


The Los Angeles Basin
Los Angeles is irregularly shaped and covers a total area of 498.3 square miles (1,291 km2), comprising 469.1 square miles (1,215 km2) of land and 29.2 square miles (76 km2) of water. The city extends for 44 miles (71 km) longitudinally and for 29 miles (47 km) latitudinally. The perimeter of the city is 342 miles (550 km). It is the only major city in the United States bisected by a mountain range.
Los Angeles is both flat and hilly. The highest point in the city is 5,080 ft (1,550 m) Mount Lukens, located at the northeastern end of the San Fernando Valley. The hilly parts of Los Angeles include the entire Santa Monica Mountains which stretch from Downtown to the Pacific Ocean, the Mt. Washington area north of Downtown, eastern parts such as Boyle Heights, the Crenshaw district around the Baldwin Hills, and the San Pedro district.
Mallards on the Los Angeles River
The Los Angeles River, a major river which is largely seasonal, is the primary drainage channel. It was straightened and lined in concrete by the Army Corps of Engineers for almost its entire length to act as a flood control channel. The river begins in the Canoga Park district of the city and flows east from the San Fernando Valley along the north edge of the Santa Monica Mountains as they diminish, then south through the city center, then through nearby Vernon on its way to its mouth in the Port of Long Beach at the Pacific Ocean.


Los Angeles is subject to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire. The geologic instability has produced numerous faults, which cause approximately 10,000 earthquakes annually. One of the major faults is the San Andreas Fault. Located at the boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate, it is predicted to be the source of Southern California's next big earthquake. Major earthquakes to have hit the Los Angeles area include the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake, the 1971 San Fernando earthquake near Sylmar, and the 1933 Long Beach earthquake. Nevertheless, all but a few quakes are of low intensity and are not felt. The most recent earthquake felt was the 4.4 2010 Pico Rivera earthquake on March 16, 2010. Parts of the city are also vulnerable to Pacific Ocean tsunamis; harbor areas were damaged by waves from the Valdivia earthquake in 1960. The Los Angeles basin and metropolitan area are also at risk from blind thrust earthquakes.


Echo Park as seen with palm trees
Los Angeles has a Subtropical-Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csb on the coast, Csa inland), and receives just enough annual precipitation to avoid Köppen's BSh (semi-arid climate) classification. Los Angeles enjoys plenty of sunshine throughout the year, with an average of only 35 days with measurable precipitation annually.
The average annual temperature in downtown is 66 °F (19 °C)75 °F (24 °C) during the day and 57 °F (14 °C) at night. In the coldest month, January, the temperature typically ranges from 59 to 73 °F (15 to 23 °C) during the day and 45 to 55 °F (7 to 13 °C) at night. In the warmest month – August – the temperature typically ranges from 79 to 90 °F (26 to 32 °C) during the day and around 64 °F (18 °C) at night. Temperatures exceed 90 °F (32 °C) on a dozen or so days in the year, from one day a month in April, May, June and November to three days a month in July, August, October and to five days in September. Temperatures are subject to substantial daily swings; in inland areas the difference between the average daily low and the average daily high is over 30 °F (17 °C). Average annual temperature of sea is63 °F (17 °C), from 58 °F (14 °C) in January to 68 °F (20 °C) in August. Sunshine hours is above 3,000 per year, from average 7 hours of sunshine / day in December to average 12 hours of sunshine / day in July.
The Los Angeles area is also subject to phenomena typical of a microclimate. As such, the temperatures can vary as much as 36 °F (20 °C) between inland areas and the coast. California also has a weather phenomenon called "June Gloom or May Grey", which sometimes gives overcast or foggy skies in the morning at the coast, but usually gives sunny skies by noon, during late spring and early summer.
Downtown Los Angeles averages 15.14 inches (384.6 mm) of precipitation annually, which mainly occurs during the winter and spring (November through April) with generally moderate rain showers, but usually as heavy rainfall and thunderstorms during Winter storms. The coast gets slightly less rainfall, while the mountains get slightly more. However the San Fernando Valley Region of Los Angeles can get between 16 and 20 inches of rain per year. Years of average rainfall are rare; the usual pattern is bimodal, with a short string of dry years (perhaps 7–8 inches/180–200 millimetres) followed by one or two wet years that make up the average. Snowfall is extremely rare in the city basin, but the mountains within city limits typically receive snowfall every winter. The greatest snowfall recorded in downtown Los Angeles was 2 inches (5 cm) in 1932. The highest recorded temperature in downtown Los Angeles is 113 °F (45 °C) on September 27, 2010 and the lowest recorded temperature is 24 °F(−4 °C) on December 22, 1944.

MacArthur Park


The Los Angeles area is rich in native plant species due in part to a diversity in habitats, including beaches, wetlands, and mountains. The most prevalent botanical environment is coastal sage scrub, which covers the hillsides in combustible chaparral. Native plants include: California poppy, matilija poppy, toyon, Coast Live Oak, and Giant Wildrye. Many of these native species, such as the Los Angeles sunflower, have become so rare as to be considered endangered. Though they are not native to the area, the official tree of Los Angeles is the Coral Tree (Erythrina caffra) and the official flower of Los Angeles is the Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae).Mexican Fan Palms, California Fan Palms, and Canary Island Palms can be seen throughout the Los Angeles area, despite the latter being non-indeginous to Southern California.

Environmental issues

A view of Los Angeles covered in smog
The name given by the Chumash tribe of Native Americans for the area now known as Los Angeles translates to "the valley of smoke" because of the smog from native campfires. Owing to geography, heavy reliance on automobiles, and the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex, Los Angeles suffers from air pollution in the form of smog. The Los Angeles Basin and the San Fernando Valley are susceptible to atmospheric inversion, which holds in the exhausts from road vehicles, airplanes, locomotives, shipping, manufacturing, and other sources. The smog season lasts from May to October.Unlike other large cities that rely on rain to clear smog, Los Angeles gets only 15 inches (380 mm) of rain each year: pollution accumulates over many consecutive days. Issues of air quality in Los Angeles and other major cities led to the passage of early national environmental legislation, including the Clean Air Act. More recently, the state of California has led the nation in working to limit pollution by mandating low-emission vehicles. Smog should continue to drop in the coming years due to aggressive steps to reduce it, electric and hybrid cars, improvements in mass transit, and other pollution reducing measures.
As a result, pollution levels have dropped in recent decades. The number of Stage 1 smog alerts has declined from over 100 per year in the 1970s to almost zero in the new millennium. Despite improvement, the 2006 and 2007 annual reports of the American Lung Association ranked the city as the most polluted in the country with short-term particle pollution and year-round particle pollution. In 2008, the city was ranked the second most polluted and again had the highest year-round particulate pollution. In addition, the groundwater is increasingly threatened by MTBE from gas stations and perchlorate from rocket fuel. With pollution still a significant problem, the city continues to take aggressive steps to improve air and water conditions. The city has met its goal of providing 20 percent of the city's power from renewable sources in 2010.


Companies such as US Bancorp, Ernst & Young, Aon, Manulife Financial, City National Bank, Wells Fargo, Bank of America,Deloitte, KPMG and the Union Bank of California have offices in the Downtown Financial District
The Financial District of Downtown Los Angeles
The economy of Los Angeles is driven by international trade, entertainment (television, motion pictures, video games, recorded music), aerospace, technology, petroleum, fashion, apparel, and tourism. Los Angeles is also the largest manufacturing center in the western United States. The contiguous ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach together comprise the fifth-busiest port in the world and the most significant port in the Western Hemisphere and is vital to trade within the Pacific Rim. Other significant industries include media production, finance, telecommunications, law, healthcare, and transportation. The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside combined statistical area (CSA) has a gross metropolitan product (GMP) of $831 billion (as of 2008), making it the third largest economic center in the world, after the Greater Tokyo Area and the New York-Newark-Bridgeport CSA. If counted as a country, the surrounding CSA has the 15th largest economy in the world in terms of nominal GDP. Los Angeles has been classified an "Alpha(-) world city" according to a 2008 study by a research group at Loughborough University in England.
Until the mid-1990s, Los Angeles was home to many major financial institutions in the western United States. Mergers meant reporting to headquarters in other cities. For instance, First Interstate Bancorp merged with Wells Fargo in 1996, Great Western Bank merged with Washington Mutual in 1998, and Security Pacific Bank merged with Bank of America in 1992. Los Angeles was also home to the Pacific Exchange, until it closed in 2001.
The city is home to seven Fortune 500 companies. They are aerospace contractor Northrop Grumman, energy company Occidental Petroleum, healthcare provider Health Net, metals distributor Reliance Steel & Aluminum, engineering firm AECOM, real estate group CB Richard Ellis and builder Tutor Perini.
Other companies headquartered in Los Angeles include California Pizza Kitchen, Capital Group, Capstone Turbine, Cathay Bank, City National Bank, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, DeviantArt, Far East National Bank, Farmers Insurance Group, Fox Entertainment Group, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Guess?, Hanmi Bank, Herbalife, J2 Global Communications, The Jim Henson Company, KB Home, Korn/Ferry, Latham & Watkins, Mercury Insurance Group, Oaktree Capital Management, O’Melveny & Myers;Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, Premier America, Premiere Radio Networks, Rentech, Roll International, Sunkist, The TCW Group, Tokyopop, Triton Media Group,United Online, and VCA Antech.
The metropolitan area contains the headquarters of companies who moved outside of the city to escape its taxes but keep the benefits of proximity. For example, Los Angeles charges a gross receipts tax based on a percentage of business revenue, while many neighboring cities charge only small flat fees.
Walt Disney Concert Hall
The University of Southern California (USC) is the city's largest private sector employer and contributes $4 billion annually to the local economy.
In January 2010 many of the aerospace firms with operations in Los Angeles County are relatively small compared to the larger corporations. The United States Postal Service operates post offices in Los Angeles, the main one of which is located at 7001 South Central Avenue.
According to the city's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top ten employers in the city are the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles,University of California, Los Angeles, University of Southern California, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, Fox Entertainment Group, Farmers Insurance Group, TeamOne and Northrop Grumman.