CALIFORNIA: The King of Cabazon

The pulsating glow of Los Angeles fills the night sky 75 miles to the west, and the velvety oasis of Palm Springs is only 16 miles away. But Cabazon, Calif, (pop. 855) is a seamy, sun-seared desert slum. A drab procession of beatnik churches, hamburger stands, service stations and motels, Cabazon straddles the confluence of three major highways. The blast-furnace winds of the Colorado Desert roll in through San Gorgonio Pass, and on winter nights the temperature drops to subfreezing levels.

In its sordid development, Cabazon got more than its share of human...

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