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Old 01-01-2007, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles
5 posts, read 34,767 times
Reputation: 11

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My family is from LA and Orange County and the air here is horrible, as you all know very well. My 2 year old daughter has asthma. Not to mention, LA is overrated, overpriced, segregated, has failing schools, and the city is rather vulgar (perpetual grayish-brown skies, trashy streets, homelessness, tweekers, GANG VIOLENCE, prostitution, and **** artists galore).

We want to make a change before my seven year old son (2nd grade) starts middle school (6th grade) in 2010. The middle school options are scary and adolescents from all parts of the city are preyed upon by...you name it! I love California, but I am so sick of LA.

I did a search on clean air in the nation and in the state. Of course Southern California, and most of California for that matter, is so horribly polluted compared to anywhere else. But I did find that Monterey, Mendocino, Lake and Santa Cruz counties have great air quality.

What can anyone tell me about the cities of Monterey Bay? We require a family lifestyle, cultural and intellectual resources, and a significant Multi Ethnic presence (more than White and Latino, but Asian, African American, Native American, Filipino, and Any Other Immigrants.)

How are Marina,CA and Seaside, CA? What about the Cal State at Mont. Bay and UC Santa Cruz? What about Mendocino County?
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Old 01-01-2007, 06:33 PM
 
Location: Shingle Springs, CA
424 posts, read 2,536,966 times
Reputation: 172
Default Some Input

Hi Tellmemore

My work region is Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz Counties and I used to have Lake and Mendocino Counties, so I'll try to answer some of your questions. Maybe someone who has more experience will also answer.

Since you are from a high cost area already, you might not be as shocked by the housing prices in Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties. Santa Cruz is definitely mixed racially. Monterey has a high Hispanic population, but not so much Asian. Santa Cruz is more dense population-wise, so if you like a more crowded area, this area might work for you. It definitely has clean air since it is on the ocean. Monterey has a mix of wealthy families and very poor families. Both Seaside and Marina are beautiful areas. The weather in Monterey and Santa Cruz will be much more cloudy and cool than the LA area. CSU Monterey Bay is a great school. One of my co-workers graduated from there.

Mendocino County is way more rural and isolated than Monterey. It's on the redwood coast so it has lots of rain and fog. There is not alot of industry in this area so work might be hard to find. Housing costs are high. CSU Humboldt is a good school though. Eureka is a nice town. The area is mainly white but there are some minorities.

Lake is much more afordable than the other areas. It is more racially mixed with larger Hispanic and Asian populations. Native Americans also. The meth problem is more of a concern in Lake and Mendocino than in Monterey and Santa Cruz. The weather is also warmer in Lake Co. and the area is pretty rural. I personally like Lake County best of all of your choices, but I like the hills and less crowds.
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Old 01-01-2007, 07:06 PM
 
889 posts, read 2,914,411 times
Reputation: 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by tellmemore View Post
My family is from LA and Orange County and the air here is horrible, as you all know very well. My 2 year old daughter has asthma. Not to mention, LA is overrated, overpriced, segregated, has failing schools, and the city is rather vulgar (perpetual grayish-brown skies, trashy streets, homelessness, tweekers, GANG VIOLENCE, prostitution, and **** artists galore).

We want to make a change before my seven year old son (2nd grade) starts middle school (6th grade) in 2010. The middle school options are scary and adolescents from all parts of the city are preyed upon by...you name it! I love California, but I am so sick of LA.

I did a search on clean air in the nation and in the state. Of course Southern California, and most of California for that matter, is so horribly polluted compared to anywhere else. But I did find that Monterey, Mendocino, Lake and Santa Cruz counties have great air quality.

What can anyone tell me about the cities of Monterey Bay? We require a family lifestyle, cultural and intellectual resources, and a significant Multi Ethnic presence (more than White and Latino, but Asian, African American, Native American, Filipino, and Any Other Immigrants.)

How are Marina,CA and Seaside, CA? What about the Cal State at Mont. Bay and UC Santa Cruz? What about Mendocino County?
Before i relocated to N.C this summer i lived in Marina and it seems to fit the profile of racial diversity (more of Filipino/asians) that you are looking for. The people of that town are still mostly retired military but it quickly is becoming the most afordable place to live for anyone wanting to live on the Monterey Pen.Marina and Seaside are in the proccess of building new homes on the old land from Ft.Ord that also surrounds CSUMB.
Yes, the air is clean there.Do keep in mind, especially Marina that on most summer days its foggy and windy.Personally that drove me crazy.Here i lived a mile from the ocean but was miserable to even eat outside on a summer night much less even walk down to the beach.They dont call Marina the windy city for nothing!
But home prices are about the best in that area.On average you are looking at $6-700K for something somewhat decent.Good luck.
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Old 01-02-2007, 01:40 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles
5 posts, read 34,767 times
Reputation: 11
Thanks Mvn2nc and KidBlue. My husband likes the cooler weather, but those coastal prices of Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay are crazy (just as they are in LA). We own a townhome, but our mortgage is much less than rent and definitely less than these high priced single family homes. We definitely have equity, but it's just like making a lateral move with these prices. Your info will help us. I will look into Clearlake and Lakeport. We are a multi-ethnic family, so I am glad to know that there is diversity, clean air, and affordable housing in Lake County.

Thanks again!
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Old 01-02-2007, 12:19 PM
AJY
 
52 posts, read 222,663 times
Reputation: 25
Santa Cruz County...I was born and raised in Santa Cruz County and lived in many of the towns.
I moved away about 6 years ago and hate to even visit.
The crime is bad, gangs, tons of drugs, and just low life.
Nothing is nice in my opinion.
I would suggest you learn Spanish ASAP or you may not survive.
I hope for your sake you don't move there.
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Old 01-02-2007, 04:00 PM
 
Location: Monterey Bay, California -- watching the sea lions, whales and otters! :D
1,918 posts, read 6,392,509 times
Reputation: 2683
Default Huh? South Santa Cruz County??

Quote:
Santa Cruz County...I was born and raised in Santa Cruz County and lived in many of the towns.
I moved away about 6 years ago and hate to even visit.
The crime is bad, gangs, tons of drugs, and just low life.
Nothing is nice in my opinion.
I would suggest you learn Spanish ASAP or you may not survive.
I hope for your sake you don't move there.
I don't know what part of Santa Cruz County you were in, but Santa Cruz (the city) and the Santa Cruz Mountains (Felton, Ben Lomond, Boulder Creek and Scotts Valley) are not like that. I have raised my daughter in Felton, and there are virtually no Hispanics up here, although my daughter lived in South America and can speak Spanish. The kind of "crime" we have up here is if some kid steals from the mail box or they smoke a little weed in the woods. "Real" crime is not frequent here.

Now, the Watsonville area, yes, I'll agree there. That does have a lot of crime and is 75 percent Hispanic (and Spanish-speaking), and it is technically in Santa Cruz County. And most of the gang activity is centered in the Watsonville area. So, I am not sure what part you are referring to. And Beach Flats (a small area near the Boardwalk) has some crime. But basically speaking, Santa Cruz is very safe. So, South Santa Cruz County is more like what you have described, but North County is not. Hope this helps those reading.
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Old 01-02-2007, 08:33 PM
 
Location: Cary NC
553 posts, read 2,177,228 times
Reputation: 305
Quote:
Originally Posted by tellmemore View Post
My family is from LA and Orange County and the air here is horrible, as you all know very well. My 2 year old daughter has asthma. Not to mention, LA is overrated, overpriced, segregated, has failing schools, and the city is rather vulgar (perpetual grayish-brown skies, trashy streets, homelessness, tweekers, GANG VIOLENCE, prostitution, and **** artists galore).

We want to make a change before my seven year old son (2nd grade) starts middle school (6th grade) in 2010. The middle school options are scary and adolescents from all parts of the city are preyed upon by...you name it! I love California, but I am so sick of LA.

I did a search on clean air in the nation and in the state. Of course Southern California, and most of California for that matter, is so horribly polluted compared to anywhere else. But I did find that Monterey, Mendocino, Lake and Santa Cruz counties have great air quality.

What can anyone tell me about the cities of Monterey Bay? We require a family lifestyle, cultural and intellectual resources, and a significant Multi Ethnic presence (more than White and Latino, but Asian, African American, Native American, Filipino, and Any Other Immigrants.)

How are Marina,CA and Seaside, CA? What about the Cal State at Mont. Bay and UC Santa Cruz? What about Mendocino County?
All of these areas are nice. Depends where you go in these counties. There are gangs and drugs etc.. in all of these counties as well. Most of Mendocino is rural but absolutely beautiful. If you want some city and ammenities I would hang around Monterey, salinas etc...
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Old 01-03-2007, 12:30 PM
 
Location: Monterey Bay, California -- watching the sea lions, whales and otters! :D
1,918 posts, read 6,392,509 times
Reputation: 2683
Default Not Salinas

Sorry, but Salinas is well-known for huge gang activity!! LOTS! Monterey, although close-by, does not have that problem -- only a few miles, but a big difference.

Monterey Bay State -- not so nice. It's not really a college yet and is on an old fort property. It's not walkable, very sparse, just starting -- it's more a commuter college, and there's not any town within walking distance, so no restaurants, cafes, bookstores, etc.

UC Santa Cruz, on the other hand, is quite different. It's an older, established university, easily accessible to town, typical cultural and other ammenities nearby (it's a university area). Liberal, open, accepting. Monterey is a bit more conservative. Carmel is lovely, but you really have to be a millionaire to live there.

Marina and Seaside are pretty much bedroom communities to Monterey -- and accessible to Santa Cruz.

If you have a young child, I would definitely stay away from Salinas or Watsonville because of the strong gang presence. Check the U.S. demographics for each city, income level, etc., and you can get a feel for the population.

San Jose, larger, not polluted like L.A., may be a good compromise. There are jobs there, the housing is similar to Santa Cruz and Monterey, and there are more choices. A friend of mine moved to Campbell last year and loves it -- and she was born and raised in Santa Cruz. Low crime, good weather, lots of Asians (San Jose State is about 50% Asian). Check out the phone list from San Jose and you'll see many, many multi-cultural and multi-lingual people from all over. There's not so much diversity (except Hispanic) in Monterey and Santa Cruz, although Santa Cruz probably has more Asians due to the university and close accessibility to San Jose.

It sounds like you are looking for a more tolerant, accepting, cultural and liberal environment with things to do. You might check out the local papers, like this link to the Santa Cruz Metro -- gives cultural events, music, dining, etc. http://www.metrosantacruz.com/index.html

Out of all the places you mentioned, Santa Cruz would probably be a better fit. Mendocino, while beautiful, is a bit too rural for the things you listed; Monterey is pretty conservative, and Salinas nearby is really gang-ridden (seriously -- do some googling and find out more), Santa Cruz is very liberal, very into ecology, biking, clean beaches, music, tolerance, etc. Watsonville, in Santa Cruz COUNTY, is not what you are looking for -- schools are low scoring, lots of gangs there, too. Santa Cruz is highly desirable, has some great schools (especially San Lorenzo Valley and Scotts Valley schools -- in the mountains 6 miles from Santa Cruz -- check out their websites).

I actually work in Felton at a government agency and quite a number of people at work who lived in Santa Cruz and Watsonville have moved up here to the "San Lorenzo Valley" as they call it, because the schools are better up here than anyplace else in Santa Cruz County. It's also cheaper to live here in the Valley. But it's still pretty much considered Santa Cruz because that is our major city we utilize, and where everyone goes for culture, dining and night life.

Other than that, I'd suggest San Jose as a lower-priced alternative.

Good luck, and hope this helps.
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Old 01-03-2007, 11:03 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles
5 posts, read 34,767 times
Reputation: 11
Default I will steer clear of Watsonville and Salinas!

Great feedback. Varied perspectives. This forum is awesome. We are a mulltiethnic young family who lives at the museums and science venues. Through a city program, we managed to buy some property in LA, but we have a household income of about $75K. Amazing we are still floating in LA, huh?!! We have a townhome so that is likely what we will be moving to anywhere in Cali. Out of state, and we could live like JR on Dallas' Southfort (sp?) (or our version thereof...2-3 acres!!!!).

I will steer clear of Watsonville and Salinas!
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Old 01-24-2007, 12:08 PM
 
2 posts, read 8,577 times
Reputation: 10
Tellmemore,
I was born and raised in Santa Cruz, I now live in Watsonville and have for about 4 years. I love Watsonville, but if I were to have children I would not raise them there primarily because of the dense population of hispanic people. Don't get me wrong, I love the diversity and the people, but the schools in the area are required to teach so much of their class in Spanish, I would love my children to learn the language but I would not want it to interfear with their education. In addition, Watsonville is known to have higher crime and gang activity than anywhere else in the county not to be said that there is none in the rest of the county. You will see gang tagings from Santa Cruz to Monterey, but the problems are far less than that in Watsonville or Salinas. I do visit Salinas regulary, but I would never live there, as other members have said Salinas is known for high gang violence.

In Santa Cruz, and Monterey county for that matter, you should have no problems with a multiethnic family, these communities are diverse and honor the diversity. With the exception of Watsonville that majority of Santa Cruz county is going to be white. I went to school in Santa Cruz and there was little diversity, mainly white and hispanic. In schools like Soquel high and Harobor High you will see mostly white kids, Santa Cruz high has slightly more diversity than the rest to my knowledge. The population of Asian people in the area is very low, if you were looking for a higher population of that culture in particular I would recomend San Jose, there is a much higher population of Asian people there. But as I am sure you know the air quality there is going to be poor.

The other problem with Santa Cruz is the high population of homeless people. The City of Santa Cruz is particularly well known for that problem and there are a lot of programs that aide the homeless so many travel here because they know the city will take care of them and not hassle them.

In the Santa Cruz County I would recomend Scotts Valley,Santa Cruz, Soquel, Aptos, and Capitola with emphasis on Scotts Valley, Soquel and Aptos, they are beautiful areas. In Santa Cruz, stay out of the Beach Flats, the Harvey West Area (though I don't think there is housing there but there is a high homeless population) I would also not want to live too close to downtown also due to the homless population. I don't know much about Monterey, but to my knowledege it tends to be colder and have more foggy days than Santa Cruz. In both areas you will have tourist traffic in the summer, both areas are known for tourism.

For Colleges San Jose State is an excellent school as is UCSC. CSUMB(Monterey) is still a growing school but suppose to be pretty good. I actually plan on attending there in the fall. Cabrillo Community College in Aptos is an excellent Jr. college with great teachers and programs, I have attended there for years and love it.

I do love this area because it is my home, but I don't not plan on living here for the rest of my life due to the high cost of living. You can't beat the scenary in Santa Cruz County and Monterey County, and the weather is great, but you will have to pay for it it with housing pricers that are astronomical, but being in California you are preparred.

On the city-info Watsonville page it says the median price for a home is $224K, let me tell you, that house will be located in the ghetto of Watsonville in a place that I would not visit at night.

Oh, and one more thing to know about this county, corporations are very rare here. The community keeps big businesses out of the area so if you feel like going to Wlamart you will have to drive to San Jose or Salinas to find one. There was a huge debate years ago about Borders coming to downtown Santa Cruz, huge, protests and everything. There is an indoor mall a typical mall in Capitola. But other than a handful of corporate businesses this area has nothing and you have to go "over the hill" (to San Jose) to find anything. There is a Target in Watsonville, but if you live in Santa Cruz, that means a 20 minute drive to go there.

As any place this area has its good and bad parts. I hope this has helped.
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