The CA desert city so awful you have to love it. Palmdale is one of the extreme LA bedroom communities. It's the home of Lockheed-Martin Skunk Works, and SR Technics. It also is the location of Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center, LA Center to you pilots out there. It has a lot of wonderful qualities, clean air and not having to deal with big city traffic and problems. But it's police force is barely adequate and sometimes it takes forever for them to respond to a call. To top it off no matter how wonderful it is, it's still in the middle of a desert. People die there in the summer because of the temperatures. It's so dry that you wake up in the morning and your lips are split because they're trying to turn into leather. You are never less than 3 miles from anything which makes walking places in the summer nearly impossible.

I couldn't have said it better myself...

Glad to have lived there, glad to have left when I did.

A dying aerospace town north of Los Angeles. Birthplace of the space shuttle, the stealth bomber and a generation of disaffected youth. Near Edwards AFB (site of the first supersonic flight), Palmdale has been struggling for new industry since the outbreak of peace. Apparently congress thinks a trillion dollars is a lot to spend to develop aircraft that will be obsolete by the time they are needed.

Palmdale is a city in the Antelope Valley. It neighbors Lancaster and Quartz Hill. The population is in the upper 200,000's. It's city of weather extremes... you wake up in the morning in autumn and it's 40 degrees out, but by 1:00 PM it could be 90.

I've lived in the Palmdale-area for about 7 years. The people who live here fall into two groups: Those who have money, and those who don't. There is an enormous income-level gap. Most of the people who have money live here, but work in Los Angeles or at Edwards Airforce Base; those that don't have money live and work here.

Palmdale is mostly a commuter city, and this fact affects the people who live here in some very surprising ways. The city has experienced a huge growth-explosion in the past 20 years, and the children of the people who moved here during that explosion are reaching adulthood, and it's causing major problems. All of those commuters have kids, who want jobs, but can't commute, so the local job market is very competitive. Last year a new Barnes and Noble opened, and it was said that they received over 10,000 applications, several of which I submitted myself. People here have to fight to get jobs at places like Burger King. Since the labor pool is so large, employers know they can pay their employees less. They give them marginal raises because it's more cost-effective to fire an experienced worker and hire a new one than to keep them on long-term and increase their pay. Couple this with a horrible public education system and you've got what I like to call a "fly-paper city." It's really very difficult to get out of Palmdale without outside help. If you don't have the opportunity to go away for college, or if you have to pay your own way through college, leaving is a very hard thing indeed.

The people who live here because they can't leave are not happy. You can see the hopelessness in their eyes. Palmdale has soaring teen pregnancy, drug abuse, and crime rates, and the general level of intelligence is pretty low.

Despite all these facts, Palmdale is surrounded by rugged desert wilderness and gently-curving mountains that give it a sort of wild beauty. One can drive 20 minutes and be in complete wilderness, where one can walk for hours and never come across another person. At night, you can see an amazing amount of stars in the sky, despite the city lights. In the morning, you can see roadrunner tracks in the sand, catch glimpses of coyotes running through the desert fields among the Joshua trees, and see mirages glinting brightly in the heat.

Some days, when you can't find anything to do, you hate living here; other days when you go outside and see the blue sky and breathe the fresh air you think you couldn't live anywhere else.

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