Orange County

Orange County is a county in California. Its county seat is Santa Ana. As of the 2000 census, its population was 2,846,293, while a July 2008 estimate placed the population at 3,010,759, making it the second most populous county in California, behind Los Angeles County and ahead of San Diego County. It is the sixth most populous county in the United States as of 2009 while at the same time is also the smallest area-wise county in Southern California, being roughly half the size of the next smallest county, Ventura. The county is famous for its tourism, as the home of such attractions as Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm, as well as several beaches along its more than 40 miles (64 km) of coastline. It is also known for its affluence and political conservatism. In fact, a 2005 academic study listed three Orange County cities as being among America’s 25 “most conservative,” making it the only county in the country containing more than one such city.

Orange County also became well known for being the largest US county ever to have gone bankrupt, when in 1994, longtime Democratic treasurer Robert Citron’s investment strategies left the county with inadequate capital to allow for any raise in interest rates for its trading positions. Citron’s effort apparently aimed to earn high incomes for the county to pay for increased demand for county services in the face of strong opposition to raising taxes. As usual in finance, high incomes went along with high risk—and thus the default. Citron later pleaded guilty to six white-collar felonies regarding the matter.

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