When it came to incorporating Los Alamitos had bad luck, but it may have been inevitable.  The members of the Los Alamitos Chamber of Commerce wanted to incorporate for the traditional reasons — local control of finances and services, and to prevent prime industrial tax-producing properties from being picked away piecemeal.  The Dairy farmers just to the north in Cypress — had other reasons.  They wanted control of their land so it couldn’t be subdivided and then when they were outnumbered by the new residents, be zoned out of business.  When push came to shove, it inevitably made more financial sense for Frank Vessels, the owner of the Los Alamitos Race Course, to side with the dairymen than subject himself to the potentially restrictive (for him, at least) land and zoning regulations that always followed subdivision and incorporation.  {Vessels told Enterprise editor Dale Krosen as much in mid 1955:  “In an earlier discussion of incorporation in regard to the track, Vessels told the Enterprise it was not to the track’s advantage to be in a city, and he would prefer to be left out of any incorporation plans.”  Vessels was also no doubt affected by a bureaucratic run in with the Los Al leaders over his proposed sale of the western part of his land to a company that would build a cemetery there.  This did not sit well with the residents who got county officials to stop the sale. But Vessels ultimate decision probably was based on the refusal of Los Alamitos leaders to agree to forward fund the hookup of new sewage and water lines to the track.  In the late 1980s, former mayors James Bell and Chuck Long (appearing on a segment of the Video History of Los Alamitos) stated that all the Los Alamitos leaders agreed to have a “Pay as you go” policy and that would not permit them to go in debt to pay for a sewer and water hookups to the track (which had just expanded and built its new grandstand).   This same policy would stop them from going in debt in the early-1960s to pay for hookups to the Rossmoor Shopping Center and College Parks East and West.  Seal Beach w0uld, and ultimately, this is why Alfred Gittelson and the Bixby Ranch Company committed those  properties to that town.

 

14 OCT 1955 — (Enterprise, p1) — Dairymen Tie Up More Land South of Cypress; New “Dairy City” Overlaps Los Alamitos Boundary Lines.

A surprise move by dairymen located between Cypress and Los Alamitos resulted in two boundary maps of potential new cities in the Cypress-Los Alamitos area are being filed with the county boundary commission.

Los Alamitos which has been working on the incorporation move for several weeks, filed its boundary maps Monday, through incorporation chairman Jack L. Weaver. At the same time, attorneys M.S. Bernard and H. Rodger Howell filed maps of showing the proposed “Dairy City” for local dairymen.

A decision by the boundary commission will be held up pending a ruling by county counsel on two problems.  One is how to handle the question of overlapping areas, and since both areas are in the original Tri-Cities area [another cityhood petition that would consolidate Cypress, Los Alamitos and Stanton into one community), a question of whether the 50-day waiting period for that move is over yet. It depends on whether the 50-day period starting with the filing of intention with the clerk, or with the ruling by the Board of Supervisors which occured a week apart.

Backers of the Los Alamitos petition expressed surprise when they were informed the dairymen had included much of the original Los Alamitos proposal in their new city.

Los Alamitos pointed out that they had publicly announced their proposed boundaries while Martin Olsthoorn was still chairman of the Tri-Cities group, so the Dairy City backers must have been aware that they were grabbing land which was already planned for Los Alamitos. Part of the overlapping land includes the Los Alamitos Race Course. Dairy City planners have also included the Texaco Tank Farm.

A map showing the Dairy City boundaries, and the area which overlaps the Los Alamitos proposal, appears elsewhere in this issue.

A week later, the following article appeared

21 OCT 1955 — (Enterprise, p1) — In a race to file notices of intention to circulate petitions for incorporation of two new cities whose boundaries overlap, backers of Dairy City won by one hour and two minutes Monday morning.

Attorneys H. Rodger Howell and M.S. Bernard, representing the dairymen from the South Cypress area, appeared with their notice at 9am, and Jack L. Weaver, chairman of the Los Alamitos committee, filed at 10:02 am.

Since the north boundary of Los Alamitos and the south boundary of Dairy City overlap, county officials have not given a ruling yet as to which has legal claim on the disputed territory.

Proponents of both groups have told the Enterprise that a compromise could possibly worked out if the two should get together.

The move to incorporate Los Alamitos is backed by the community’s Chamber of Commerce.

The notice of intention filed by by Dairy City was signed by Huubert J. Stigers, 10831 Miller (Valley View) Rd; Harold Struikmans. 5151 Ball Rd; Jake Van Dyke 5252 Orange; and Jake Van Leeuven, 5731 Orange.

Vessels Is Opposed

The Los Alamitos Race Course is included within both boundaries. It is operated by Frank Vessels Sr, and is on the south side of the dairymen’s proposal and the north side of Los Alamitos.

In an earlier discussion of incorporation in regard to the track, Vessels told the Enterprise it was not to the track’s advantage to be in a city, and he would prefer to be left out of any incorporation plans.

Besides Vessels, there are other large holdings in the area which are expected to protest the move when hearings are held by the County Board of Supervisors later in the incorporation proceedings.

The Texas Company’s tank farm is also located in Dairy City, although no official word has been receive from company spokesmen regarding the attitude it has toward incorporation. They requested withdrawal from the Cypress County Water District, earlier, on the basis they would not benefit from sewers, and did not want to pay the taxes in the district.

The LA Times carried this article on Oct. 16, 1955

More Dairy Area May Incorporate

Final Results of Dairyland’s City Council Race Due Tomorrow

SANTA ANA— A dramatic chapter in then history of the Southland’s dairy industry is being written today as three farming areas on the Los Angeles-Orange Countiesn border moved toward incorporation into three distinct cities.

First step in the remolding of the great dairy empire was accomplished last Tuesday when citizens of Dairyland, a 2½ square mile northwest Orange County sector, voted 50 to 19 to incorporate as the county’s 16th city.

New Move

Only last Monday the boundaries for another 4-square mile city, designated by the sponsors as Dairy City, just south of Dairyland, were filed with the County Boundaries Commission.

While voters were approving creation of Dairyland, citizens across the county line in the heart of the Los Angeles milkshed moved to establish the biggest dairy city of them all.  This city which would be named Dairy Valley would contain 9.6 square miles and border Dairyland.

Leaders of all three rural areas assert they are seeking city status as a measure of self-preservation against encroachment of land speculators and subdividers and annexation by nearby existing cities.

Dairyland voters, besides approving incorporation, elected councilmen from a slate of six candidates.  Three definitely elected are Jack DeVries, with 59 votes; William de Jager, 50 votes; Paul C. Furman, 51.  Names of theother two elected Councilmen will be determined by count of absentee ballots scheduled for tomorrow.

County Clerk B.J. Smith said five absentee votes must be counted to determine the identity of the two councilmen.  These will be either Peter G. Bouma 43 votes; Peter D. Bouma, cusin of the other Bouma, 39 votes or Peter deGroot, 41.  Peter G. Bouma and his wife Alice could conceivably determine by their votes who wins.  Their votes are among the five absentee votes.  Other absentee votes were cast by Jack De Vries and his wife Gertrude and Howard Van Boven.

After certification of votes by County Supervisors tomorrow, results will be sent to the Secretary of State.  Papers withn his signature authorizing creation of Dairyland are expected to be returned from Sacramento  by the first week in November when the city will be formally constituted and the Council recognized.

People seeking to establish Dairy City face a possible race with Los Alamitos in filing notice of intention to circulate petitions for an election.  Both factions are expected to file with the County Clerk tomorrow.

Dairy City and Los Alamitos boundaries overlap with both wanting a three-quarter mile wide strip south of Ball Road.

Dairy City’s outermost boundaries would be the county lines and Bloomfield Ave. on the west, Lincoln Avenue on the north, Holder Street and Knott Ave., east and Southern Pacific Railroad Tracks, south.

If these boundaries are accepted by the county, the southwest tip of Dairlyland will jut into the northwest corner of Dairy City as their only points of contact.

Dairy City, whose hearing before the Boundary Commission is scheduled tomorrow would have an exceptionally high property valuation.  besides 45 dairies, the territory includes an oil tank farm assessed at $2,500,000 and the Los Alamitos horse racing plant.

Jasck Van Dyke is chairman of Dairy City’s incorporation committee.  Other leaders are Martin Oltshorn, Jake Van Leeuwen, Harold Struikmans, Peter Bouma, and Hubert Slegers.

The Dairy Valley petition for incorporation will move ahead in Los Angeles County with hearings and setting of an election date by County Supervisors.  Dairy Valley, if incorporated, will almost completely surround the community of Artesia.  It will be bounded partly on the south by Hawaiian Gardens which also is seeking city status.

 

After the Race Track exclusion, the lesson was apparently lost on the Los Alamitos City founders — or at least one of them — who would make known their feelings of what would happen and what should happen in their city.  And when this happened, the men who controlled the big developments — Ross Cortese of Rossmoor and Alfred Gittleson/Ross Cortese/Bixby Ranch Company (Rossmoor Center) and S&S Homes/Nathan Shappell/Bixby Ranch Company (College Park East) — all chose to do business elsewhere.  All these entities could have been part of Los Alamitos but Los Al couldn’t close to the deal.

 

From an article in the OC Register of Wednesday, Dec. 3, 1980, discussing yet another possible Rossmoor-Los Alamitos annexation:

The question of the consolidation of the two communities, has a long history of ill will.

The 1,150 acre community was actually part of Los Alamitos incorporation paperts in late 1959, when the city aplied for municipal status.

But [City Manager Mike] Graziano said Rossmoor developer Ross Cortese pulled out of the deal at the last minute — reportedly at a champagne party held to celebrate the planned incorporation — because of a disagreement over building variances with the city’s founding fathers.

“It was a matter of Cortese saying ‘of course you’ll let me do it this way’ and them saying ‘of course we won’t’,”  Graziano says.  “The party was over.  From a love to hate relationship.”

The community was irked a decade later when after Rossmoor attempts at both annexation and self-incorporation failed, Seal Beach annexed the $10 million a year Rossmoor Shopping Center by promising the center’s owner permission to develop high-density apartments on surrounding property.

The annexation once and for all removed the Rossmoor community’s ability to go it alone as a city.

And it spawned a lasting dislike of Seal Beach among Rossmoor residents that LAFCO officials say makes any question of a Rossmoor-Seal Beach consolidation “out of the question.”

“I don’t want to go to Seal Beach.  That’s why I promote Los Alamitos,” says Roy Erickson, a former Rossmoor Homeowners Association President and longtime Los Alamitos proponent.

“Seal Beach is having terrible problems.  The town is old.  They have a lot of obsolete services.  They’re trying to give the pier away,” he said.  “Besides, we’d be the tail of the dog in Seal Beach.  They’d outvote us all the way.”

Seal Beach has a population of about 26,450.

On the other hand, many Rossmoor residents were disappointed in Los Alamitos’ showing in the last decade, when the city not only gave up the Rossmoor Shopping Center to Seal Beach, but also lost the Los Alamitos Race Track to Cypress.

“They lost the race track by being a day late and a few dollars short.  That’s perceived over here as [article was cut off].

6 thoughts on “14 OCT 1955 — Dairymen Tie Up More Land South of Cypress; New “Dairy City” Overlaps Los Alamitos Boundary Lines”
  1. The _______ Olsthoorn in the 1955 Enterprise article is Martin Olsthoorn. He is also mentioned in the 1955 LA Times as Martin Oltshorn – this,too,is incorrect. His correct name is Martin Olsthoorn. He was an old family friend, being a hay purchasing customer of my father, Ted Miller. We (the Millers) lived in Rossmoor at 11932 Weatherby Rd. from 1957 until 1972.

  2. The _______ Olsthoorn in the 1955 Enterprise article is Martin Olsthoorn. He is also mentioned in the 1955 LA Times as Martin Oltshorn – this,too,is incorrect. His correct name is Martin Olsthoorn. He was an old family friend, being a hay purchasing customer of my father, Ted Miller. We (the Millers) lived in Rossmoor at 11932 Weatherby Rd. from 1957 until 1972.

  3. He wanted to sell some of his land for a cemetary and Los Al blocked that seems to be part of why he sided with Cypress. Cypress ended up with Forest lawn, was that the same people that wanted to buy his land ? Does Forest lawn have anything to do with all this back then ?

    1. Vessels did try to sell his land to a cemetery. That is mentioned in newspaper articles from the early 1950s (although they don’t specifically mention Forest Lawn). And longtime Los Al resident and Chamber secretary Lura Labourdette mentions that he was peeved about the opposed sale on the Video History of Los Alamitos series. But whether it was a significant factor in his decision to go with Cypress is still unclear.
      1) After the cemetery sale was blocked, Vessels still ended up selling the land (between Bloomfield and Lexington) to a construction company from Los Angeles. So he didn’t lose out any money.
      2) He still helped out many Los Alamitos activities — youth groups, youth center etc. Part of this had to do with business — for every charity it helped with a race, the Los Alamitos track was granted an extra day of racing — but he did go above and beyond with his help.
      3) Jim Bell and Chuck Long, the first two mayors and longtime Los Alamitos leaders, have said specifically that the reason Vessels went with Cypress is that Los Alamitos wouldn’t agree to forward fund plumbing and sewage hookups to the track. And some former board members of the track have said that Vessels was really stretched for money at this time — having just spent a lot to expand the facilities and build the new grandstand. — so this was very important to him. Vessels signed both incorporation petitions, but he made himself unavailable to sign the Los Alamitos incorporation petition until after the Cypress committee could file their paperwork with the county first.
      I’m not saying the cemetery was not a factor at all, but logic and testimony seems to indicate that it wasn’t as significant as the plumbing and sewage hookup issue.

  4. He wanted to sell some of his land for a cemetary and Los Al blocked that seems to be part of why he sided with Cypress. Cypress ended up with Forest lawn, was that the same people that wanted to buy his land ? Does Forest lawn have anything to do with all this back then ?

    1. Vessels did try to sell his land to a cemetery. That is mentioned in newspaper articles from the early 1950s (although they don’t specifically mention Forest Lawn). And longtime Los Al resident and Chamber secretary Lura Labourdette mentions that he was peeved about the opposed sale on the Video History of Los Alamitos series. But whether it was a significant factor in his decision to go with Cypress is still unclear.
      1) After the cemetery sale was blocked, Vessels still ended up selling the land (between Bloomfield and Lexington) to a construction company from Los Angeles. So he didn’t lose out any money.
      2) He still helped out many Los Alamitos activities — youth groups, youth center etc. Part of this had to do with business — for every charity it helped with a race, the Los Alamitos track was granted an extra day of racing — but he did go above and beyond with his help.
      3) Jim Bell and Chuck Long, the first two mayors and longtime Los Alamitos leaders, have said specifically that the reason Vessels went with Cypress is that Los Alamitos wouldn’t agree to forward fund plumbing and sewage hookups to the track. And some former board members of the track have said that Vessels was really stretched for money at this time — having just spent a lot to expand the facilities and build the new grandstand. — so this was very important to him. Vessels signed both incorporation petitions, but he made himself unavailable to sign the Los Alamitos incorporation petition until after the Cypress committee could file their paperwork with the county first.
      I’m not saying the cemetery was not a factor at all, but logic and testimony seems to indicate that it wasn’t as significant as the plumbing and sewage hookup issue.

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