"Our big things are the strawberry festival and the Elks rodeo," Machelle Hammond said.
The city of 80,000 sees little crime, with an average of two homicides yearly.
It draws many new residents from Los Angeles, real estate refugees seeking lower home prices and a peaceful place to raise their kids.
Steve Chawkins and David Pierson, "All Agree, Jackson Case Has Santa Maria Talking," Los Angeles Times, January 18, 2004
Bob Keefe, "Despite a 'horrible' economy, California home prices soar, making Austin alluring to real estate refugees," Austin American-Statesman, June 22, 2002
Paul Nussbaum, "Affordable Palmdale: L.A.'s last outpost," Chicago Tribune, August 19, 1989
new white flight