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SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA
Santa Clara, founded in 1852, is a city located in Santa Clara County, in the U.S. state of California . The city is the site of the eighth of 21 California missions, Mission Santa Clara de Asis, and was named after the mission. The Mission and Mission Gardens are located on the grounds of Santa Clara University.
Santa Clara is home to Mission College and Santa Clara University, the latter being the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of California.
Santa Clara is also home to Paramount's Great America, an amusement park operated by Paramount Parks.
Santa Clara is located in the center of Silicon Valley, and is home to the headquarters of Intel, Applied Materials, Sun Microsystems, NVIDIA, and many other famous high-tech companies.
As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 102,361.
Santa Clara owns and operates an Electric Utility called Silicon Valley Power. Recently Silicon Valley Power brought online a brand new gas-powered electric plant called DVR. The new plant produces 130 megawatts of electricity for the city and its residents. As a result, the going rate for electricity in Santa Clara is considerably cheaper than that offered by Northern California's dominant utility, Pacific Gas and Electric.
Santa Clara Websites
www.ci.santa-clara.ca.us (City of Santa Clara, California)
www.scu.edu (Santa Clara University)
www.santaclara.org (Commerce, Convention and Visitor's Bureau)
www.santaclarabroncos.com (Santa Clara University Athletics)
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA
San Jose is the third-most populous city in the U.S. state of California , and is the county seat of Santa Clara County. While recently becoming the tenth-most populous city in the USA, San Jose has also held the title of The Safest Big City in America for the past several years.
The city is located at the south end of the San Francisco Bay within the informal boundaries of Silicon Valley, and is the largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area. As of 2005 , it reported an estimated population of 945,000 making it the most populous city in Northern California (it surpassed San Francisco in 1989) and third most populous city in the state, after Los Angeles and San Diego. The Census Bureau update for 2004 indicates San Jose has overtaken Detroit as the United States' tenth most populous city. All of these figures refer to the area within the city limits, which is the sense in which the word "city" is normally used in the U.S. - not to the "greater-", "metropolitan-", or urban area.
San Jose was the first town in the Spanish colony of Nueva California (later Alta California), founded in 1777 as a farming community to provide food for nearby military installations. It served as the first capital of California after statehood was granted in 1850 . After over 150 years as an agricultural center, increased demand for housing from soldiers and other veterans returning from World War II and starting families, as well as aggressive expansion during the 1950s and 1960s led first to San Jose being a bedroom community for Silicon Valley in the 1970s, then attracting businesses to the city; by 1990 the city was calling itself the Capital of Silicon Valley .
On April 3, 1979, the city council adopted San José as the spelling of the city name on the city seal and official stationery; however, the name is still more commonly spelled without the diacritic mark. The official name of the city is The City of San José .
Based on statistics reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, San Jose is the nation's safest city with population of 500,000 or more. The designation is based on crime statistics for 2004 in six categories: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and auto theft. 
San Jose WebsitesSAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
www.sanjose.org (Commerce, Convention and Visitor's Bureau)
www.sjsu.edu (San Jose State University)
www.sjsuspartans.com (San Jose State University Athletics)
www.sanjoseca.gov (The City of San Jose, Calif.)
www.sjc.org (San Jose International Airport)
www.sanjose.com (Visitors Attractions)
A consolidated city-county, mainland San Francisco is located on the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula. Insular San Francisco includes several islands in the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Strait, notably Alcatraz, Treasure Island, and the Farallon Islands 27 miles offshore in the Pacific Ocean and also most of the privately owned Red Rock Island near the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. (See Islands of San Francisco Bay)
San Francisco's famous fog and Golden Gate Bridge .
The city is a focal point of the San Francisco Bay Area, and forms part of the greater San Jose-San Francisco- Oakland Combined Statistical Area (CSA), whose population is over 7 million. U.S. census data show that San Francisco has the highest population density of any major U.S. city aside from New York City.
The first Europeans to settle in San Francisco were the Spanish, in 1776. With the advent of the California gold rush in 1848 the city entered a period of rapid growth.
Devastated by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the city was quickly rebuilt. The phoenix on the city's flag represents San Francisco's "rebirth" from the ashes of the fire that resulted from the quake. Long enjoying a bohemian reputation the city became a counterculture magnet in the second half of the 20th century. It was a center of the dot-com boom and explosive growth of the internet at the end of the century.
San Francisco has unique characteristics when compared to other major cities in the U.S., including its steep rolling hills, an eclectic mix of architecture including both Victorian style houses and modern skyscrapers, and unmatched physical beauty, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. San Francisco's famous hallmarks include its cable cars and the Golden Gate Bridge, which are recognized worldwide
San Francisco Websites
www.sfvisitor.org (Convention and Visitor's Bureau)
www.ci.sf.ca.us (City and County Government)
www.flysfo.com (San Francisco International Airport)
www.SanFrancisco.citysearch.com (City Search Visitors)
www.baycityguide.com (Bay Area Guide)
www.sfgate.com (San Francisco Chronicle)
www.mercurynews.com (Mercury News Newspaper)
www.transitinfo.com (Bay Area Transit Information)
www.bahiker.com (Bay Area Hiking Information)