It's a racist old joke told by the likes of Adam Carolla and Jay Leno, to name a few. The problem is, it's just not true.
Sure, one out of every two of us in the county is Latino, but that's a far cry from a town turning into Mexico. Here's why:Chiapas. The punchline might be funny, ha-ha -- L.A. is turning into Mexico, look at all the poor, brown people blasting oompa-loompa music -- but it's not supported by the data. If you're saying L.A. is going downhill socioeconomically, you'd be hard pressed to prove your case. Sure, SoCal has been hit hard by the subprime mortgage mess, but that had little to do with immigration. And it was a mess that impacted the nation and even the world.
In fact, even during the economic downturn (in which the rich got richer), Los Angeles maintained a roster of billionaire residents rivaled by few other cities. In 2011 we looked at Forbes' billionaire rankings and figured that if California were its own nation, it would rank fourth, behind the U.S., China and Russia, in billionaire population. SoCal billionaires would dominate the state's wealth, too, in our estimation.
Remember, just because you see brown around you doesn't mean this isn't the home of the The Brentwood Country Mart, Rodeo Drive, $300,000 cars, pet spas, and some of the priciest real estate on earth.
L.A.'s core, urban basin, north of the 10 freeway, south of the Santa Monica mountains, west of downtown, is turning into Manhattan, for better or worse. It's real estate gold.
So, if L.A.'s turning into Mexico, Mexico must be quite a rich place.