By Joe Boyles
I recently spent 12 days in Los Angeles caring for my two grandchildren while my son’s work took him out of town. To be more specific, I was in El Segundo, an older community on the coast sandwiched between LAX (the airport) to the north and the Chevron refinery to the south. El Segundo is one of many communities in the area locals call South Bay.
El Segundo is truly a pedestrian town. Walking from my son’s apartment to the children’s school takes 15 minutes; to the beach is 15 minutes; to downtown is 5 minutes; and a leisurely stroll to church takes 10 minutes. And of course, the weather is ideal year round. South Bay is usually covered with a marine layer of wispy clouds that makes the temperature in the morning about 50 and in the afternoon, 70. Of course, the humidity is quite low. Just about perfect.
Housing is pretty expensive in this community, about $350-400 per square foot, even in the current economy. The lots are small — about 50×100 is standard. Yards are quite small but usually very well cared for. Some residents opt for no grass at all, just covering their small open space with patios and gardens.
There is a lot of community pride in this small suburb of America’s largest city. Parks and recreation facilities are everywhere and the schools, although old, are immaculate. In the town square is a nice sign that advertises the location of the city’s many churches. The baseball park is named for George Brett, the Hall-Of-Fame third baseman who grew up in El Segundo.
So how do people earn a living in a place like El Segundo? I’m certain that the airport and refinery are big employers. There is also an Air Force station in the city limits where space development is the primary mission. What kinds of companies make satellites? Logos on high rises indicate that Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed-Martin and Mattel all have a presence. The education level in the community is quite high.
Having a refinery next door may sound like a mess, but it isn’t. The refinery has been there for a hundred years. It takes up more than 600 acres of land space but seems quite clean. The oil tankers offload in offshore artificial piers where their cargo is pumped underground into the refinery for processing. This is a huge economic engine not only for the community, but all Southern California. Energy powers the economy.
In reading the local news, there are a lot of liberal ideas bounding around, especially on topics like green energy and high-speed rail. But these ideas may be mostly theory rather than practice. Out of hundreds of homes I saw, only one sported solar collectors on the roof.
I think El Segundo is far enough on the periphery of Los Angeles to have a small town rather than a big city feel. And the people are very friendly, a trait often missing in the city. While there’s no place like home, I like El Segundo.
Footnote: When I wrote last week about the Republican primaries, was I too quick to write off Rick Santorum following his three state caucus sweep last week? Is he the solid conservative alternative to Mitt Romney? Does he have the organization and fundraising to stay with the front runner? We’ll see.
Another Footnote: When you read this, Linda and I will be in Israel following the footsteps of Jesus. I hope to report on our trip when I return. Please pray for our leader, Bob Laidlaw, and the other pilgrims for an inspiring trip and safe return. God Bless.