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Contra Costa County is part of the San Francisco Bay Area. It features some of the wealthiest and some of the poorest towns and cities in California. It is separated from Marin County by a bridge, and from Alameda County by nothing obvious.

Land of refineries and ghettos in the west, affluence and air conditioning in the east, it lies in the northeast quadrant of the San Francisco Bay. The end of the Burlington-Northern and Santa Fe line is there, switching yard near my home, trains crash and grind all night. Amtrak and freight still move, industry seeps into the soil here. Standard Oil skyline looks like Mordor across the freeway.

Contra Costa County, also known as Negativland, a Big 10-80 place. There is no other possibility. Eastern farmlands planted with styrofoam homes, funky old bayside, wharves and pilings, blue glass and Chinese pottery shards in the beach gravel. The East Bay, Beast in pig latin.

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