North County, as one of our writers comments in this issue, is a lot like Brigadoon. Not in the sense of heather and bagpipes, but in the elusive, almost mystical way.
Indeed, North County rarely appears as a place name on a map. It is, rather, an approximation. It's a direction, for sure. Perhaps a state of mind as well. It lies south of Camp Pendleton and north of, well . . . north of South County.
But it also is a place with some of the world's most beautiful coastline, some of the nation's most opulent enclaves, and an envied life style.
And, as another writer in this section will explain, it is a region that is coming into its own in the 1990s.
It is developing all the earmarks of a self-contained community with its own job base, its own cultural offerings, the newest branch of the California State University system--and now its own weekly section of The Times.
North County Focus, inaugurating today, will examine each week the issues, events, trends and people of the region for the people who live here.
To produce this first section, The Times conducted a special poll on who North County residents are and what they think.
You will find four articles in today's paper--one on Page A1 and three in this section--that explore the demographics, attitudes and life styles of North Countians.
How do coastal North Countians differ, for example, from those living nearer to Interstate 15? In what ways are North County residents distinct from those elsewhere in the county? And how do those who have lived here more than 20 years differ from newcomers? Because North County is so clearly in the process of becoming, you'll find an in-depth article (Page 12) setting out the major developments--housing, businesses, civic, transportation, and park and recreation projects--coming on line in the next few years.
Because North County is a product also of what it has been, you'll find an article (Page 100) charting how it got to this point historically. And because the area is so diverse and diffuse, you'll find what I hope you'll concur is a delightful look at North County's "secret" places--from a small Palomar Mountain trout-fishing pond to down-home diners (Page 50).
You'll also find residents' opinions on some of the most controversial North County issues as well as profiles of some particularly interesting communities.
Rounding out the region's profile are a roundup of the best ethnic restaurants, as well as a review of one of North County's landmark eateries.
North County is an emerging place, poised on the cusp of defining itself. The Times is pleased to take a part in this process with North County Focus.
Expect to see North County Focus each week, starting April 19.