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Happy Birthday Calabasas! City Celebrates 30 Years

Mayor James Bozajian remembers March 5, 1991, when residents voted 91 to 9% in favor of independence.

In 1991, Calabasas became the 88th city in Los Angeles County to incorporate, after nearly 20 years of trying. No city in the county has incorporated since.

Thirty years ago today, on March 5, 1991, local voters flocked to the polls and approved incorporation of the City of Calabasas by an overwhelming margin of 91% to 9%.

The investment of many years of hard work by cityhood proponents had finally been rewarded. From among 13 candidates, voters chose five citizens --- Dennis Washburn, Bob Hill, Marvin Lopata, Karyn Foley, and Lesley Devine --- to serve on the first Calabasas City Council. The new City Council was sworn into office, and one month later Calabasas was formally incorporated.

It would not be possible to describe in one short passage the tremendous work it took to achieve independence. City incorporation has become exceedingly difficult in modern California history. Calabasas became the State's 466th city in 1991, and since that time only 16 other municipalities have followed suit. Here in Los Angeles County, we were the 88th city to incorporate, and not a single additional one has been formed since.

The first serious incorporation drive began in the 1970s as a broader effort to create one sprawling, regional city. The city's borders were to stretch east to west from the Los Angeles City line to the Ventura County border, and from north to south from Ventura County to what would later become the City of Malibu. Weighing in at roughly 44 square miles, the would-be "City of Rancho Las Virgenes" was contemplated to include what is now Calabasas, Agoura Hills, Westlake Village, and a large swath of unincorporated territory surrounding those cities. Los Angeles County quashed this proposal in 1981.


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