Newcomer's guide to Los Angeles?

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What do newcomers need to know to settle in and enjoy Los Angeles? Car registration, pet laws, city services, more...

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Helen in Los Angeles, California

71 months ago

Auto registration is based on the year and make of your car. It can seem higher than in other states but that is because all our highways are free (hence the word freeway.)

In CA it is now illegal to hold your cell phone while talking - it is hands-free only which means you need a Bluetooth device. The police do give tickets.

Pets must be licensed - in the city of LA it is $10/year if the animal is neutered or $100 (it may have gone up) if the animal is not neutered. Most dogs and cats are also microchipped in case they are lost and smart owneds always have tags with their name and phone number in case their animal gets loose.

In the City of LA, we have the LAPD and LAFD; other cities like Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Culver City have their own services. In unincorporated areas, the Sheriff's Department handles crime.

We also have the California Highway Patrol which primarily police the freeways

Rents are very high, and I won't even discuss owning a home. The LA Unified School District (which is the school system for the City of LA) is not very good and there are a lot of problems, unfortunately. The schools in Culver City, Santa Monica, and especially Beverly Hills are much better and people ofte move there (even if it means living in a small apartment) so their children can attend these schools. There are also private shools but they are expensive.

Our colleges and universities are very good to excellent. UCLA, which is a State unifersity under the University if CA system, is excellent - in my opinnion, almost as good as the Ivies. The Cal State system is also good, as are the private universities like USC, Loyola, Pepperdine but they are expensive.

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