MeFi member nickrussell breaks down the history of Los Angeles (including San Francisco, and the West) in detail, going back over a century:
It's very easy to forget that London has had 1,000 years to develop. New York has had 300. San Francisco has had 175 or so. Yet Los Angeles is barely even 100 years in. And it grew so quickly, like a metropolitan puppy with big paws. It stumbled and fell all over them, before finally finding it's stride and grade.