In fact, considering that Palmdale has high water bills and high air conditioning bills and high summer fire hazards AND sits right smack on top of a major fault line — well, the fact that people still live there at all probably means that people are willing to live just about anywhere no matter what it costs. Maybe a $200 water bill is just another pinprick.
Plus high traffic and an annoying local population. (I am aware that Palmdale isn't actually IN L.A., but it's close enough.) Basically the problem is that the Southern California area is just not very ideal to sustain life--at least, not as much as is there. Northern California is much better in virtually every way. They may have more people--and some movie stars--but we've got the water and actually clean air, neither of which is in very great supply down there. I'll admit, I've always preferred San Francisco to Los Angeles anyway. Both are screwed up, but S.F. is screwed up in ways that are less annoyingly abrasive.