Yes, I understand that it’s nearly impossible to tear our collective eyes away from Iowa, but there is a world beyond the presidential primaries. So while we’re trying to second guess Midwestern caucus-goers, here are ten New Year’s wishes from ten Los Angeles residents who care deeply about our glorious and difficult city.
JEFF CARR is the city’s Gang Czar. He was picked by Antonio Villaraigosa to plan, implement, coordinate gang policy out of the mayor’s office.
My wish is that we would see the people of our city as the most valuable and important resource that we possess. And that we demonstrated he truth of that in how we prioritize the rest of our resources.
STEVE BARR is the founder and head of Green Dot Charter Schools and the guy who wants to change how Los Angeles educates its kids—whether LAUSD likes it or not.
You know the obvious answer is: “wouldn’t it be great if everybody committed to creating a great public school system?” But here’s what I really wish. I wish that everybody in this city would find somebody who’s a lot different from them and have a conversation with them. I mean those quiet people who line up on the bus station on sunset. The women who make your beds and serve your food who are going to become a political football this year. Then the talk about creating a great school system becomes obvious. But I don’t think you can get there until you start having those conversations. You’re not going to get there until you appreciate how amazing this city is—with all its differences.
OSCAR GARZA is the editor-in-chief of LA’s Tu Cuidad magazine, before that he held multiple editorships with the LA Times for fifteen years, and was an award-wining producer for San Antonio’s PBS before the Times.
I wish that every citizen would think about the notion of community and commit to doing something to improve their own neighborhood or the community at large.
Whether it’s joining an organized volunteer effort of any sort, or something as simple as picking up stray trash in your neighborhood, every effort helps.
SEVEN MORE WISHES AFTER THE JUMP…
SERGIO DIAZ is the Deputy Chief of South Bureau of the LAPD, meaning he oversees Rampart Newton, Hollenbeck, Northeast and Central divisions. More specifically, he was the guy whom Bratton put into Central Bureau to straighten things out after the May Day debacle.
The first is that young men stop shooting at other young men just because they don’t recognize them as belonging in the neighborhood. An incredible amount of the violence in LA is exactly of this mindless kind.
Secondly, I would like to see all parents in our city live up to their responsibilities to their children. Not all, but a lot of the dysfunction which leads to crime and violence is directly tied to the hopelessness that young people feel, often as the result of abandonment, abuse and lack of involvement from their parents. If we each became just a little better as a mom or dad, our city would be a safer and warmer place.
ELIAS WANDIMU is the creator and editor of Tsehai Publishers, a widely respected independent book publishing company, founder of the Ethiopian Institute for Nonviolence Education and Peace Studies, and editor of the International Journal of Ethiopian Studies….and an all around good guy.
Next to Addis Ababa, where I was born, there is no place that I rather live, but my adopted city of almost fifteen years–Los Angeles. For this New Year, I wish we have no more fires in the dry season, floods in the winter, and earth quake at all time. And of course, we all use a little less traffic.
I can have a fantasy right? It’s my fantasy. My New Year’s wish is a year with a lot of rain and not one single gang homicide.
GEORGE GASCON is the former Assistant Chief of the LAPD, present Chief of Police of Mesa Arizona, and one of the people who will be high on the short list when Bill Bratton decides to leave Los Angeles. He made a wish for Los Angeles and Mesa both,
My wish is that our communities continue to work together to reduce violence and make our cities a place where we can all feel safe and prosper. Probably too idealistic, but why not!
DETECTIVE X is an LAPD gang officer with more than 20 years on the force, who declined to have his name in print, but kindly agreed to give me a wish for the city.
I wish that we had injunctions for every gang in this city and that the LAPD could stop enforcing Special Order 40 so when we run across hard core gangsters who we know is illegal we could get them deported.
MARC COOPER is….well, you all know Marc. He’s a columnist for LA Weekly, Special Correspondent for The Huffington Post as well as Editorial Director of its campaign reporting project OffTheBus. A contributing editor to The Nation magazine, Marc is also a member of the faculty at the USC Annenberg School for communication and Associate Director of its Institute for Justice and Journalism….and a hot shot black jack player.
“Oh, God! Less traffic. That’s the only thing that means anything to me anymore in Los Angeles. I can’t go anywhere. I can’t think about anything. I can’t do anything. I’m tired of life spent in traffic. You remember the rainstorm in January of 2005 when that big boulder fell in Topanga and traffic had to be rerouted? I have no proof of this, but it’s my impression is from that point forward traffic in the city has never recovered. I know it was getting incrementally worse before then. But that was the turning point.
My wish is that every employer in the city will hire at least one formerly gang involved person, or one recently released person from a detention facility. So that’s how many employers? Seven-hundred thousand. Problem solved.
Okay, now what’re yours?