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La Cañada Flintridge is a small and affluent city in Los Angeles County, California, United States whose population at the 2010 census was 20,246, down from 20,318 at the 2000 census. According to Forbes, as of 2010, La Cañada Flintridge ranks as the 43rd most expensive U.S. city to live in, with a median home price of $1,321,367.
The La Cañada Unified School District serves most of the city and is often regarded as one of the top school districts in the state. On September 13, 2010, the California Department of Education announced that 2010 California Standards Tests (CSTs) results indicate that the La Cañada Unified School District earned the second highest Academic Performance Index (API) score in the state. The API reflects a district's performance level, based on the results of statewide testing. The district has three public elementary schools that serve grades K-6: La Cañada Elementary, Palm Crest Elementary, and Paradise Canyon Elementary School. The public high school, La Cañada High School, which also serves as a middle school (grades 7–8), is a 1993 and 2004 Blue Ribbon School. La Cañada High School is currently ranked by the U.S. News & World Report as the 80th best high school in the country, 23rd best public high school in the country, 15th best high school in California, 5th best public high school in California, and best public high school in Southern California.
A small portion of the city is served by the Glendale Unified School District, with La Cañada Flintridge students attending Mountain Avenue Elementary School (a 2005 Blue Ribbon School), Rosemont Middle School, Clark Magnet High School (a 2005 California Distinguished School), and Crescenta Valley High School (a 2005 California Distinguished School).
Delphi Academy of Los Angeles, a Delphi Academy school, opened in La Cañada Flintridge in 1984. The school left the city when its current campus in Lake View Terrace, Los Angeles opened in 2003. Elementary schools: The Learning Castle (Kindergarten-3rd Grade), La Canada Preparatory (4th–8th), St. Bede (K-8) and Crestview Preparatory (K-6)
According to a 2008 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $140,474, and the median income for a family was $157,511. This makes La Cañada Flintridge the 17th most affluent city in the United States, according to CNN Money. Males had a median income of $92,760 versus $57,321 for females. The per capita income for the city was $52,838. About 3.6% of families and 4.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.8% of those under age 18 and 5.1% of those age 65 or over.
La Cañada Flintridge has been home to many celebrities over the years, including Vince Vaughn; Angela Bassett; Mark Geragos; Ron Howard; Chris D'Elia; Diane Farr; Haley Joel Osment and Emily Osment; Kevin Costner; Bill Plaschke, Miley Cyrus and Billy Ray Cyrus. Three of Walt Disney's top animators, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston and Eric Larson settled here as well as Academy Award winner Chris Buck. Currently several prominent animators and TV news personalities make La Cañada Flintridge their home. It is also a popular filming location, where parts of movies such as "American Pie", "Date Movie", "Old School" and the 1946 Frank Capra / James Stewart holiday classic "It's a Wonderful Life" have been shot. La Cañada Flintridge is also the home of many current professional baseball players, notably MLB infielder Rafael Furcal and outfielder Manny Ramirez, as well as former MLB players Mike Marshall (outfielder) ( Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets) and pitcher Jae Seo, and golfer David Lipsky.
During the Spanish and Mexican eras, the area was known as Rancho La Cañada. Prior to the city's incorporation in 1976, it consisted of two distinct communities, La Cañada and Flintridge. The La Cañada half comes from the Spanish word cañada (pronounced "canyada"), meaning canyon, gorge, or ravine; the latter half was named after its developer, United States Senator Frank P. Flint).
Flintridge comprises the southern part of the city, covering the northern flank of the San Rafael Hills, but more generally including most areas south of Foothill Blvd. The eastern part, even north of Foothill Blvd., was also originally considered Flintridge and is still home to the Flintridge Riding Club and Flintridge Preparatory School.
Reference to the entire city is often shortened to just 'La Cañada' or seldomly to just 'Flintridge'. The full city name specifically does not have a hyphen in it, to illustrate unity between the two communities that became one.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.6 square miles, over 99% of it land. The city is situated in the Crescenta Valley and far western end of the San Gabriel Valley. It is nestled between the San Gabriel Mountains and Angeles National Forest on the north, and in the San Rafael Hills on the south. Most of the city drains southeastward toward Pasadena to Arroyo Seco, but the western part of the city (generally west of Alta Canyada Road) drains southward toward Glendale via Verdugo Canyon. Both drainages join the Los Angeles River north of downtown Los Angeles.
La Cañada Flintridge varies in elevation from about 970 feet just below Devil's Gate Dam in the Arroyo Seco to about 2400 feet at the highest neighborhood, along the mountain front east of Pickens Canyon, at the upper end of Ocean View Blvd. The city limits extend into the San Gabriel Mountains and reach 3440 feet along Mount Lukens Road, which follows the crest line well above the developed city. The city is home to Descanso Gardens and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The climate of La Cañada Flintridge is typical of a Southern California inland valley, with mild winters and hot summers. Spring often has hazy days, in contrast to the more persistently clear weather of fall. On average, the warmest month is August with high temperatures (F) in the low to mid 90s and lows in the low 70s. December and January are the coolest months with typical highs in the low 70s (F) and lows in the upper-40s. Rainfall occurs mostly during winter, averaging about 22 inches annually. Rainfall is rare in summer. The moderating influence of the ocean (22 miles, 35 km, away) is limited due to the city's location inland from the intervening Santa Monica Mountains, the Verdugo Mountains and the San Rafael Hills. Consequently, summers are generally hotter and winters often cooler than in coastal parts of metropolitan Los Angeles if winds are calm or blowing gently offshore. Occasional strong offshore winds, known as the Santa Ana winds, can bring particularly hot air in summer and fall as air from the desert plateaus crosses the mountains and descends, thus warming further by adiabatic heating. Summer and early fall temperatures are substantially cooler if the prevailing wind is persistently onshore. Occasionally during a winter storm, the upper elevations of the city may see trace amounts of snow. The small ski resorts Mountain High, Mount Baldy, and Mount Waterman are located about 30 miles (48 km) to the northeast. In August 2009, the city came under threat by the Station Fire.
2010: The 2010 United States Census reported that La Cañada Flintridge had a population of 20,246. The population density was 2,341.8 people per square mile. The racial makeup of La Cañada Flintridge was 13,959 (68.9%) White (64.7% Non-Hispanic White), 109 (0.5%) African American, 24 (0.1%) Native American, 5,214 (25.8%) Asian, 5 (0.0%) Pacific Islander, 245 (1.2%) from other races, and 690 (3.4%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1,267 persons (6.3%).
The Census reported that 20,219 people (99.9% of the population) lived in households, 21 (0.1%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 6 (0%) were institutionalized. There were 6,849 households, out of which 2,873 (41.9%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 5,029 (73.4%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 525 (7.7%) had a female householder with no husband present, 214 (3.1%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 103 (1.5%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 36 (0.5%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 924 households (13.5%) were made up of individuals and 559 (8.2%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.95. There were 5,768 families (84.2% of all households); the average family size was 3.24.
The population was spread out with 5,315 people (26.3%) under the age of 18, 1,363 people (6.7%) aged 18 to 24, 3,157 people (15.6%) aged 25 to 44, 7,224 people (35.7%) aged 45 to 64, and 3,187 people (15.7%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45.9 years. For every 100 females there were 94.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.1 males.
There were 7,089 housing units at an average density of 820.0 per square mile, of which 6,120 (89.4%) were owner-occupied, and 729 (10.6%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 0.8%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.4%. 18,052 people (89.2% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 2,167 people (10.7%) lived in rental housing units.
According to the 2010 United States Census, La Cañada Flintridge had a median household income of $154,947, with 2.1% of the population living below the federal poverty line.
2000: As of the census of 2000, there were 20,318 people, 6,823 households, and 5,690 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,348.9 inhabitants per square mile. There were 6,989 housing units at an average density of 808.0 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 65.53% White, 0.36% Black or African American, 0.18% Native American, 31.57% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.01% from other races, and 3.31% from two or more races. 4.80% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 6,823 households out of which 44.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 73.7% were married couples living together, 7.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 16.6% were non-families. 14.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.95 and the average family size was 3.27.
In the city the population was spread out with 29.8% under the age of 18, 5.1% from 18 to 24, 20.9% from 25 to 44, 30.2% from 45 to 64, and 14.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 93.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.5 males.
La Cañada is served by two distinct weekly newspapers: La Cañada Valley Sun, owned by Times Community News, a division of the Los Angeles Times; and La Cañada Outlook, owned by La Cañada News, Inc. Both newspapers publish on Thursdays.
La Cañada Flintridge is governed by the City Council, which has five council members, each elected to overlapping four-year terms. Each year, the City Council selects one of its members to serve as Mayor and one to serve as Mayor Pro-Tem for terms of one year. The City Council is aided by five commissions and two committees, each with its own area of responsibility. In addition, the City Council appoints the City Manager, City Attorney, City Treasurer, and all members of its advisory bodies. It also serves as the governing board for the Public Improvement Corporation, the Redevelopment Agency, the LCF Local Financing Authority, and Sanitation Districts No. 28 and No. 34.
The current members of the City Council are:
The City Council meets on the first and third Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers of La Cañada Flintridge City Hall.
Points of Interest
Angeles Crest Highway
La Cañada Flintridge is the southern terminus of the Angeles Crest Highway. It begins at the intersection with Foothill Boulevard and follows a two-mile, 5% grade before entering the San Gabriel Mountains, and terminates.
On September 5, 2008, a big rig carrying 78,000 pounds of onions lost its brakes on the Angeles Crest Highway. To avoid a collision with the Hill Street Café at the intersection with Foothill Boulevard, the rig turned towards a small driveway, sideswiped the Café, crashed into a wall, a garbage bin, a tree and six vehicles before coming to rest in the parking lot. James Bines, 43, of Florida, and his passenger Willy Robinson had been hauling a full load of onions through the high desert area in the 18-wheeler. They traveled over the Angeles Crest Highway because, Bines said, he had received directions from his global positioning system that the highway, State Route 2, was the most direct route from there to Los Angeles.
On April 1, 2009, a similar incident occurred at roughly the same location. A car carrier transporting six cars southbound on the Angeles Crest Highway lost its brakes and, despite three runaway vehicle escape medians in the center islands, caused multiple vehicle accidents that resulted in two fatalities and 12 injuries, three of them critical. Angel Jorge Posca, 58, and his 12-year-old daughter Angelina, both of Palmdale, had just exited the eastbound Foothill Freeway at the Angeles Crest Highway in their red Ford Escort and were starting to turn north on the highway to return to Palmdale when the semi-truck struck their vehicle.
A bill that bans heavy trucks with three or more axles from driving on the Angeles Crest Highway was signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on August 6, 2009.
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