Retirees split as seniors community considers cityhood
Leisure World has 18,000 residents whose average
age is 77
March 2, 1999
Web posted at: 2:51 p.m. EST (1951 GMT)
ORANGE COUNTY, California (CNN) -- There's something pitting neighbor against neighbor in a little piece of heaven known as Leisure World, a private community in Southern California where the mandatory minimum age is 55 and the average age is 77. That something is an election.
At issue in Tuesday's balloting: Should Leisure World, a retirement enclave of 18,000 residents, incorporate as a California city or remain as it is?
Victory for cityhood would make Leisure World -- adjacent to Laguna Hills and Aliso Viejo -- the first gated municipality in the United States strictly for senior citizens, according to activists here.
"We will be eaten up probably by another city if we don't get our own," says Helen Mills-Lindsay, a pro-city resident.
If opponents win, Leisure World will remain just that: a private, 1,200-acre world some 50 miles south of Los Angeles, with 14 guard-controlled gates and 24-hour security patrols.
Berkowitz opposes incorporation of Leisure World
"I'm well satisfied with the way Leisure World is run at the present time," says Julius Berkowitz, a resident opposed to change.
Leisure World advertises itself as the biggest retirement center on the West Coast. Completed in the early 1960s, the Orange County community is a sister city to slightly
older Leisure World in Seal Beach to the northwest.
If Tuesday's ballot measure is approved, residents of Leisure World would have to rename their incorporated community. The choices are Laguna Woods or Laguna Verde.
|Welcome to Leisure World
Watch this report from Correspondent Charles Feldman to see what life is like at Leisure World and decide for yourself how you would vote.
Correspondent Charles Feldman contributed to this report.
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