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 and enter promo code calcity at checkout. Try SimpliSafe today at You get free shipping and a 60-day risk free trial. There’s nothing to lose.  
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Chava Sanchez/KPCCGreen Tea Garden, the only bar in townThe Green Tea Garden is a Chinese restaurant that also contains the only bar in California City that is not part of a veteran’s hall.
Chava Sanchez/KPCCWelcome to California City!This sign, on the outskirts of downtown, welcomes visitors to California City.
Emily Guerin“Building for the future… today!”The California City Airport is more like an airstrip: it is unmanned and unlocked. At night, anyone can walk around on the empty runway, where a fuel tank is painted with an optimistic slogan about the city’s future.
Chava Sanchez/KPCCCity life in California CityA bus stop stands in front of an empty lot in California City. Around 14,000 people live here, but much of the land in the city is undeveloped.
Emily GuerinCross atop the butteMarine Corps pilots used to drop bombs on what is now California City, using the buttes as targets. Today, a metal cross stands atop one of them, overlooking the largely empty Mojave Desert.
Kern County Tax Assessor's Office The Silver Saddle land shuffleDocuments from the Kern County Assessor’s office show how Silver Saddle was able to sell the same pieces of land over and over.
  1. The first document shows Dom and Lilia Velasco purchased a plot of land from M.C.Q. Corporation, another one of Tom Maney’s companies, for $17,000.
  2. The second document shows that after the Velasco’s failed to pay property taxes, Kern County sold their land at a public auction to Maria Rosales -- the executive vice president of Silver Saddle -- for $500.
  3. The final document is for the transfer of the property from Rosales back to Silver Saddle as a “bonafide gift,” allowing Silver Saddle to sell it again.
The DBO steps inOn October 1, 2019, the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) issued this press release announcing the agency shut down Silver Saddle.
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