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Costa Mesa, California

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Costa Mesa, California


City of Costa Mesa

An aerial view of Costa Mesa in March 2011.

Flag Seal

Motto: "City of the Arts!"

Location of Costa Mesa within Orange County, California

Costa Mesa, CaliforniaLocation in the United States


33°39′54″N 117°54′44″WCoordinates: 33°39′54″N 117°54′44″W


United States of America





Incorporated June 29, 1953[1]


• Type Council-CEO

• City Council[3] Mayor Stephen Mensinger

Sandra Genis

Gary Monahan

Katrina Foley

Jim Righeimer

• Chief Executive Officer Tom Hatch[2]


• Total 15.700 sq mi (40.662 km2)

• Land 15.654 sq mi (40.543 km2)

• Water 0.046 sq mi (0.119 km2) 0.29%

Elevation[5] 98 ft (30 m)

Population (2010)

• Total 109,960

• Rank 8th in Orange County

54th in California

• Density 7,000/sq mi (2,700/km2)

Demonym(s) Costa Mesan

Time zone PST (UTC-8)

• Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)

ZIP codes 92626–92628

Area code(s) 714/657/949

FIPS code 06-16532

GNIS feature IDs 1652692, 2410239


Costa Mesa is a city in Orange County, California. The population was 109,960 at the 2010 United States Census. Since its incorporation in 1953, the city has grown from a semi-rural farming community of 16,840 to a primarily suburban and edge citywith an economy based on retail, commerce, and light manufacturing.

Contents [hide]


2Commerce and culture

2.1Top employers



3.1.1Civic Center

3.2Emergency services

3.3State and federal representation








8Sister city

9Notable people

10See also


12External links


Members of the Gabrieleño/Tongva and Juaneño/Luiseño nations long inhabited the area. After the 1769 expedition of Gaspar de Portolà, a Spanish expedition led by Father Junípero Serra named the area Vallejo de Santa Ana (Valley of Saint Anne). On November 1, 1776, Mission San Juan Capistrano became the area's first permanent European settlement in Alta California,New Spain.

In 1801, the Spanish Empire granted 62,500 acres (253 km2) to Jose Antonio Yorba, which he named Rancho San Antonio. Yorba's great rancho included the lands where the communities of Olive, Orange, Villa Park, Santa Ana, Tustin, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach stand today.

After the Mexican-American war, California became part of the United States and American settlers arrived in this area and formed the town of Fairview in the 1880s near the modern intersection of Harbor Boulevard and Adams Avenue. An 1889 flood wiped out the railroad serving the community, however, and it shriveled.

To the south, meanwhile, the community of Harper had arisen on a siding of the Santa Ana and Newport Railroad, named after a local rancher. This town prospered on its agricultural goods. On May 11, 1920, Harper changed its name to Costa Mesa, which literally means "coast table(land)" in Spanish. This is a reference to the city's geography as being a plateau by the coast.

Costa Mesa surged in population during and after World War II, as many thousands trained at Santa Ana Army Air Base and returned after the war with their families. Within three decades of incorporation, the city's population had nearly quintupled.

Commerce and culture[edit]

Costa Mesa's local economy relies heavily on retail and services. The single largest center of commercial activity is South Coast Plaza, a shopping center noted for its architecture and size. The volume of sales generated by South Coast Plaza, on the strength of 322 stores, places it among the highest volume regional shopping centers in the nation. It generates more than one billion dollars per year. Some manufacturing activity also takes place in the city, mostly in the industrial, southwestern quarter, which is home to a number of electronics, pharmaceuticals and plastics firms. Business services company Experian is the largest employer in the city and has their North American Headquarters in Costa Mesa.

The commercial district surrounding South Coast Plaza, which contains parts of northern Costa Mesa and southern Santa Ana, is sometimes called South Coast Metro.

The Segerstrom Center for the Arts and South Coast Repertory Theater are based in the city. A local newspaper, the Daily Pilot, is owned, operated, and printed by the Los Angeles Times. Ceradyne, El Pollo Loco, Emulex, Hurley, RVCA, Toyota Racing Development, the Trinity Broadcasting Network, and Volcom are among the businesses headquartered in Costa Mesa.

Newport Boulevard, 1950s

Costa Mesa offers 26 parks, a municipal golf course, 26 public schools and 2 libraries. It is also home to the Orange County Fairgrounds, which hosts one of the largest fairs in California, the Orange County Fair, each July. The Fair receives more than one million visitors each year. Adjacent to the Fairgrounds is the Pacific Amphitheatre, which has hosted acts such as Madonna,Bill Cosby, Jessica Simpson, Steppenwolf, Kelly Clarkson and many more.

Top employers[edit]

According to the City's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[6] the top employers in the city are:

#Employer# of employees

1 Experian 3,700

2 Coast Community College District Foundation 2,900

3 Orange Coast College 2,500

4 Coast Community College District 2,500

5 Fairview Developmental Center 1,500

6 Automobile Club of Southern California 1,200

7 First Team Real Estate 1,025

8 Pacific Building Care 850

9 IBM 750

10 FileNet 600

11 Hyundai Motor America 20,000



A general law city, Costa Mesa has a council-manager form of government. Voters elect a five-member City Council, all at-large seats, who in turn select a mayor who acts as its chairperson and head of the government. Day to day, the city is run by a professional city manager and staff of approximately 600 full-time employees.

Management of the city and coordination of city services are provided by:[7]


City CEO Thomas R. Hatch

City Assistant CEO Richard Francis

City Attorney Thomas Duarte

Director of Administrative Services

Director of Development Services Gary Armstrong

Director of Finance Vacant

Director of Public Works Ernesto Munoz

Fire Chief Dan Stefano

Police Chief Rob Sharpnack[8]

Civic Center[edit]

The 9.5 acre (38,000 m²) Costa Mesa Civic Center is located at 77 Fair Drive. City Hall is a five-story building where the primary administrative functions of the City are conducted. Also contained in the Civic Center complex are Council Chambers, the Police facility, Communications building and Fire Station No. 5.

Emergency services[edit]

Fire protection is provided by the Costa Mesa Fire Department. Law enforcement is the responsibility of the Costa Mesa Police Department. Emergency Medical Services are provided by the Costa Mesa Fire Department and Care Ambulance Service.

State and federal representation[edit]

In the California State Legislature, Costa Mesa is in the 37th Senate District, represented by Republican John Moorlach, and in the 74th Assembly District, represented byRepublican Matthew Harper.[9]

In the United States House of Representatives, Costa Mesa is in California's 48th congressional district, represented by Republican Dana Rohrabacher.[10]


Costa Mesa is served by several bus lines of the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), but most transportation is by automobile. Two freeways terminate here, State Route 73 and State Route 55 (also known as the Costa Mesa Freeway). The San Diego Freeway, Interstate 405, also runs through the city.


Costa Mesa is located 37 miles (60 km) southeast of Los Angeles, 88 miles (142 km) north of San Diego and 425 miles (684 km) south of San Francisco, Costa Mesa encompasses a total of 16 square miles (41 km2) with its southernmost border only 1-mile (1.6 km) from the Pacific Ocean. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.7 square miles (41 km2). 15.7 square miles (41 km2) of it is land and 0.05 square miles (0.13 km2) of it (0.29%) is water.


Costa Mesa has a Mediterranean climate with mild temperatures year round. Rain falls primarily in the winter months, and is close to nonexistent during the summer. Morning low clouds and fog are common due to its coastal location. (Köppen climate classification Csa).

[hide]Climate data for Costa Mesa, California


Average high °F (°C) 70

(21) 70

(21) 72

(22) 74

(23) 76

(24) 78

(26) 83

(28) 85

(29) 84

(29) 80

(27) 74

(23) 69

(21) 76.3


Average low °F (°C) 47

(8) 48

(9) 50

(10) 53

(12) 57

(14) 60

(16) 63

(17) 64

(18) 62

(17) 58

(14) 51

(11) 47

(8) 55


Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.07

(52.6) 2.68

(68.1) 1.67

(42.4) .72

(18.3) .13

(3.3) .07

(1.8) .02

(0.5) .02

(0.5) .17

(4.3) .38

(9.7) .96

(24.4) 1.82

(46.2) 10.71


Source: Weather Channel [11]


Historical population


1960 37,550 —

1970 72,660 93.5%

1980 82,562 13.6%

1990 96,357 16.7%

2000 108,724 12.8%

2010 109,960 1.1%

Est. 2014 112,784 [12] 2.6%

U.S. Decennial Census[13]


The 2010 United States Census[14] reported that Costa Mesa had a population of 109,960. The population density was 7,004.0 people per square mile (2,704.3/km²). The racial makeup of Costa Mesa was 75,335 (68.5%) White (51.8% Non-Hispanic White),[15] 1,640 (1.5%) African American, 686 (0.6%) Native American, 8,654 (7.9%) Asian, 527 (0.5%) Pacific Islander, 17,992 (16.4%) from other races, and 5,126 (4.7%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 39,403 persons (35.8%).

The Census reported that 106,990 people (97.3% of the population) lived in households, 2,232 (2.0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 738 (0.7%) were institutionalized.

There were 39,946 households, out of which 12,298 (30.8%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 16,478 (41.3%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 4,369 (10.9%) had a female householder with no husband present, 2,392 (6.0%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 3,013 (7.5%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 281 (0.7%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 10,963 households (27.4%) were made up of individuals and 2,775 (6.9%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68. There were 23,239 families (58.2% of all households); the average family size was 3.30.

The population was spread out with 23,682 people (21.5%) under the age of 18, 12,847 people (11.7%) aged 18 to 24, 38,211 people (34.7%) aged 25 to 44, 25,106 people (22.8%) aged 45 to 64, and 10,114 people (9.2%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33.6 years. For every 100 females there were 103.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.7 males.

There were 42,120 housing units at an average density of 2,682.9 per square mile (1,035.9/km²), of which 15,799 (39.6%) were owner-occupied, and 24,147 (60.4%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.2%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.9%. 42,517 people (38.7% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 64,473 people (58.6%) lived in rental housing units.

During 2009–2013, Costa Mesa had a median household income of $65,830, with 15.1% of the population living below the poverty line.[15]


As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 108,724 people, 39,206 households, and 22,778 families residing in the city. The population density was 6,956.3 inhabitants per square mile (2,685.8/km²). There were 40,406 housing units at an average density of 2,585.2 per square mile (998.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 69.48% White, 1.40% Blackor African American, 0.78% Native American, 6.90% Asian, 0.60% Pacific Islander, 16.57% from other races, and 4.27% from two or more races. 31.75% of the population wereHispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 39,206 households out of which 29.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.8% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.9% were non-families. 28.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.34.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.2% under the age of 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 39.0% from 25 to 44, 18.1% from 45 to 64, and 8.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 105.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $50,732, and the median income for a family was $55,456. Males had a median income of $38,670 versus $32,365 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,342. About 8.2% of families and 12.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.0% of those under age 18 and 6.2% of those age 65 or over.


Institutions of higher learning located in Costa Mesa include Orange Coast College, Vanguard University (affiliated with the Assemblies of God), Whittier Law School (a satellite ofWhittier College) and National University (a private university based in La Jolla, California).

Costa Mesa has two high schools, Costa Mesa High School and Estancia High School. Costa Mesa has two public middle schools; Tewinkle Middle School, which was named after Costa Mesa's first mayor, and Costa Mesa Middle School which shares the same campus as Costa Mesa High School. Costa Mesa also has two alternative high schools that share the same campus, Back Bay High School and Monte Vista High School and another, Coastline Early College High School which is on its own facility. Olympic high jumper, Sharon Day, graduated from Costa Mesa High School in 2003.[17]

Sister city[edit]

Wyndham, Australia[18]

Notable people[edit]

Mike Barrowman, Olympic swimmer

Jay Bentley, bassist with Bad Religion[19]

Kathryn Card, actress, died in Costa Mesa[citation needed]

Cris Crotz, actress; former Miss Nevada[20]

Sharon Day, Olympic high jumper

Jake Gibb, beach volleyball Olympian[21]

Dave Hester, star of A&E TV's Storage Wars and operator of Dave Hester Auctions

Mitchell Hurwitz, creator of the television sitcom Arrested Development as well as the co-creator of The Ellen Show, and a contributor to The John Larroquette Show and The Golden Girls

Bill Madden, singer-songwriter and musician (former resident)

Xeno Muller, Olympic gold and silver medalist in rowing (single sculls)

Misty May-Treanor, three-time Olympic gold-medalist in beach volleyball

Mike Ness, singer and guitarist of the punk band Social Distortion (former resident)

Kyla Ross, USA Gymnastics Junior National Team member, 2009 U.S. Junior National Champion, and 2009 Junior Pan American Games Champion; trains at Gym-Max

The Growlers, rock band

Jesse Sapolu, former NFL player

Jason Thornberry, author (former resident)

Alex Varkatzas, metalcore band Atreyu's former front man and current half of the project I Am War; also owner of the gym Hellenic Fitness

Of Mice & Men, metalcore band

Lon Milo Duquette, occultist, writer and musician

See also[edit]

Greater Los Angeles portal

Los Angeles Times suburban sections