Chapter

The Orange County Setting

Mark Baldassare

in When Government Fails

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 1998 | ISBN: 9780520214859
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520921368 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520214859.003.0002
The Orange County Setting

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Orange County is a place that is widely known but largely misunderstood. Many see it as vastly different from other U.S. communities. In fact, Orange County has a lot in common with many other regions, though admittedly this was more true in the years leading up to the bankruptcy. By focusing on the facts surrounding Orange County, we can better understand why the fiscal crisis happened in this place and the reasons it can happen in other locales throughout the nation. Orange County, California, has a variety of images in the national media. It is best known as the home of Disneyland, the self-proclaimed “Happiest Place on Earth.” Conservative politics has a large role in the public's image of Orange County. This chapter looks at Orange County's rapid economic growth and social diversity, economic recession in the 1990s, middle class, fiscal conservatism and voter distrust, the weak structure of local government, similarities with other county governments, local governments, and local focus and regional apathy.

Keywords: Orange County; California; bankruptcy; fiscal crisis; Disneyland; politics; economic growth; economic recession; social diversity; fiscal conservatism

Chapter.  9821 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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