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Dreaming for Los Angeles – 10 Wishes for L.A. for 2008

January 2nd, 2008 by Celeste Fremon

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.


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.

JORJA LEAP is the UCLA professor/ conflict resolution specialist who was the mayor’s gang policy advisor and is now gang advisor to Sheriff Baca, among a list of others.

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.

GREG BOYLE is the director of Homeboy Industries,
the largest gang intervention program in the city. It’s been said that iif LA had a patron saint, it’d most probably be Father Greg.

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?

Posted in City Government, Gangs, LAPD, LAUSD, Season of Lists | 31 Comments »

31 Responses

  1. Woody Says:

    I wish that Marc Cooper would get a haircut. (If that’s a current picture, Marc sure has lost weight since his medical emergency. That’s good.)

  2. Anon Says:

    I hope that A.J. Duffy won’t be reelected as president of United Teachers Los Angeles. His leadership has been a long embarrassment, particularly signing on to Mayor Villaraigosa’s anti-democratic and unconstitutional end run to take over LAUSD. Duffy signed off on the legislation before it had even been written in Sacramento’s back rooms, thereby ending any influence UTLA might have had to shape the legislation. It should not be forgotten that the UTLA membership twice voted to repudiate President Duffy’s position.

  3. L.A. Resident Says:

    I am surprised you could find Jeff Carr, what has Jeff Carr done since coming to Los Angeles?

    The LAUSD should be dissolved in a hundred pieces; a school district should have no more than four high schools under its control. Cities like Arcadia, Monrovia and Duarte have only one high school. Even larger districts like Burbank only have three high schools.

    I predict Jeff Carr and David Brewer will be former Los Angeles residents.

  4. richard locicero Says:

    Transit. Thats the top of the list. If predictions are right we’ll be seeing $4.00 gas soon and this city sprawls too much for that. The most important area bureaucrat will be the head Metro and the board the real powers here. Hear that mr Villaragosa?

  5. WBC Says:

    Too bad Detective X has to be anonymous in his wish that LAPD stop having to enforce SP 40, and could just deport illegal gangbangers. This is a cause of lower morale in the LAPD — they are supposed to bust their butts catching criminals, then have them laugh in their faces as they get off. Again. Back in their home countries, they know there would be no bleeding hearts to let them get away with terrorizing the streets and innocent people. The leftest pols who demand non-enforcement of SP40, from the Hispanics like Alarcon/Huizar/Reyes/Cardenas to the libs like Janice Hahn and Rosendahl, have to wake up. The excuse that enforcing immigration laws deters law-abiding citizens from cooperating with cops is b.s. — it’s these gangbangers who threaten anyone from cooperating with cops and they control and terrorize the streets because we don’t get rid of them.

    We rightfully demand and need our fair share of fed funds for issues relating to lack of having a national immigration law which combines deterring illegal immigration and deporting criminals with a “path to citizenship,” but we must do our part by respecting the federal ICE laws.

    Enforcing the laws would also help Sgt. Sergio and Carr in their goals of deterring ethnic-based violence, and working with the legal residents who are on the verge of becoming hardcore gangbangers.

    Good riddance to retiring Judge Dzindra Janivz, who prevented the Mayor from his broad legislative attempt to take over the schools — one year and tens of millions of dollars later, he’s got a literal handful, and lingering disputes even over that. Now the kids (egged on by their teachers, who were earlier quoted in the L A Times about this) are angry they didn’t have a say? Maybe they should wait until they’re educated adults before they expect to have equal rights — but yes, I’m willing to hear what they have to say. (Wish my kid’s crappy private school had similar respect for their h.s. kids — private schools take our money and, except for a handful of very competitive ones where getting in depends on who the parents are, they act like dictatorial banana republics to kids and parents.)

    Leads me to reassess my contempt for Duffy: if Anon is right and he supported the Mayor from the start, good for him! I actually agree with ric on busting up LAUSD. Beverly Hills High has four middle schools, one high schsool and 4 elementary schools, and despite its own growing ethnic demographics, and people who crowd into apts. to live there, it outshines even the best LAUSD schools because everyone in town cares about the quality of these schools, fundraises for them, and knows that property values are tied to kids’ being able to have a decent public school education.

    (THAT is the lesson I wish our out-to-lunch UTLA-dominated leftist LAUSD would take home, but I doubt it.) Some Valley reps are quoted in the Daily News’ 2008 wish list as wanting to break up LAUSD into 15 parts — but they’re most concerned only with the Valley, as Valley vs. “metro L. A.” hell. We ALL need the same rights, “even if” we happen to live on overpriced areas of town far exceeding those in the Valley.

    Traffic; I laud the Mayor and some other pols for trying to do something about it, however divisive every single move is. He and Weiss are being attacked by some NIMBYs for their implementation of (a very modified version of Zev’s drastic) Pico-Olympic one-way plan, but the same residents have been screaming over someone to do something, have been consulted for well over a year including in focus meetings and by NC/HOA and email forums == yet claim they didn’t have input. Also kudos on more left-turn lights, synchronizing lights, and improvements along Sepulveda/ 405.

    The proposed toll roads taking over carpool lanes I’m not sure about: in other states, toll roads are separate from already existing carpool lanes and freeways. But since we have no space to build in some areas, and since toll roads mean fed funding (which we DESPERATELY NEED FOR MASS TRANSIT AND THE SUBWAY TO THE SEA, SHOULD BE OUR TOP PRIORITY), if it cuts down congestion, it’s worth a try. (Although it would hurt small businesses like my own a few years back, where most of my and the Westwood Bldg’s staff came from as far afield as Valencia/ Thousand Oaks/ Glendora: otherwise, the labor pool is severely cut down. The most stable middle class, experienced workers live in those places.)

    Arnold and the Republicans: stop stealing our “surplus” gas tax monies and other funds to try to balance your miserably unbalanced state budget. $1.4 billion stolen, which could have made a difference towards these the mass transit funds! All because we have a $14 billion state deficit, and you and Nunez want to implement universal healthcare which would cost the same? (While forcing individuals and small businesses to buy bare-bones insurance at market rates!) Don Perata was right: this is insane pandering to the unions and insurance industries.

    Ditto on a city level: Shame on you, Bernie, for trying to swipe the funds specifically raised for cops from the trash fee hike, to balance the city budget at the 11th hour. Can’t you guys balance a budget by planning at the beginning of the year, like the rest of us have to? Review all 50 city depts. with independent budgets for waste/ ineptitude (like Chick finding that the city doesn’t maximize use of available grant monies), areas they can be consolidated now.

    And find innovative ways to raise taxes: Janice Hahn with her insisting on parcel taxes (i.e., hitting up homeowners again) for the “dedicated revenue stream” for gang funding, and Tom LaBonge wanting to pay for mass transit same way, are trying to pull the same-old same-old uncreative maneuvers which they got away with while real estate prices were climbing, but NOT NOW. I read that Houston just voted in a “pole tax” (vs. “poll tax”) for strip clubs and taxi dancing joints — $5/head to go to programs for abused women and children. Great idea. (LAPD has hundreds of rape kits that can’t be tested to find the rapists due to lack of funds, as we learned from Weiss in Public Safety — this sort of tax would be perfect.) What other innovative ideas are out there in the country for our Council/State to glean?

    State, City and Board of Supervisors (the dept. which gets the least scrutiny while having the most discretionary power over a budget far larger than the city’s): learn to budget.
    Right now we have a conservative homeowning electorate that opposes all tax hikes from for DWP to Prop S to the Hahn/ LaBonge type “parcel taxes” for everything. (Not to mention the hundreds of millions wasted at LAUSD for the worst- performing big city school district in the country.) The people have to start to trust that the “leades” know what they’re doing.

    OK: That’s pretty exhaustive. Good luck to all the good people quoted whose wish lists overlap with mine!

  6. WBC Says:

    P.S. after ric’s overlapping comment: Yeah, the Supes control the MTA, which is why Zev operates with near impunity, after he’s the one who proposed the Pico-Olympic one-way plan which caused a lot of furor, then left it to Weiss/the Mayor (and cooperating CM’s Rosendahh/Greuel the Mayor) to follow up with the communities, implement and take the heat. Meanwhile, he’s made himself the “leader of the people’s revolution” to oppose development — which he set in motion during his 16-year tenure as CM while successfully blocking the mass transit that could have helped offset it. He’s directly taking on the mayor on these issues, while lobbing his “grand ideas” like grenades, then running for cover and leaving it to the Mayor, local officials, and Transportation and Planning to do the work. All while he was the one who got Waxman to ban subway tunneling, because he was the rep for CD5 when there was that methane spill near Fairfax. (Some insist that was a cover for the NIMBYs of Cheviott Hills == the same people opposing the subway going through their area now — to keep the brown people from accessing the beach via their hoods.) With Burke retiring, he’s going to have even more seniority — Celeste, shine lots of light on the Supes’ handling of MTA billions and the race between Bernie/ Ridley-Thomas. Your friend Alan Mittelstaedt doesn’t get this issue right when he goes after just the Mayor, Weiss (with a particular vengeance) and Waxman in his recent article. It’s the Supes who have the big money and real power when it comes to mass transit and use of MTA funds, and least accountability.

  7. WBC Says:

    Correction to above: meant Zev left it to the Mayor of L A., local officials and the Mayor of Beverly Hills to fine tune and take the heat for implementing his plan…

  8. Celeste Fremon Says:

    About UTLA, Linda Guthrie is VP of the union and is running against Duffy. She’d be a great UTLA president.

  9. Janet Says:


  10. Woody Says:

    If you guys had significant mass transit in your town, you wouldn’t want to ride it. I passed MARTA stations driving to the bowl game Monday night at the Georgia Dome, even though MARTA has stations at both ends of the stadium. By driving, I get back and forth faster and safer and in more comfort.

    Also, because of race politics, transit boards tend to place rail lines and stations in bad areas and ignore logical placements, such as along our perimeter–plus, they waste a lot of money. They even appointed a welfare queen as the head of MARTA a few years ago rather than a businessman.

    The head of a teacher’s union shouldn’t be managing the schools at the same time. Those are advisarial roles.

    For 2008, I wish a property tax decrease for everyone in L.A.

  11. Celeste Fremon Says:

    Hi Janet, Thanks for commenting. I know Gascon is not popular with some of the rank and file and also not particularly with the union. I was just having that conversation with a former department guy just today.

    Who would you want to see be chief if and when Bratton leaves?

  12. richard locicero Says:

    “BAD AREA” – any part of town where a lot of black and vrown people live.

  13. Randy Paul Says:

    Also, because of race politics, transit boards tend to place rail lines and stations in bad areas and ignore logical placements, such as along our perimeter–plus, they waste a lot of money.

    Yeah I’m terrified to go to places like 72nd and Broadway or 68th and Lexington after dark. As for Metro North, good God. Imagine having to catch a train in Scarsdale, Bronxville or Greenwich at night. I’m sure Reg is terrified to take BART to Downtown Berkeley or Walnut Creek.

    Atlanta is hardly a paradigm for mass transit. I’ll take NYC subways over over Atlanta traffic any day.

  14. Woody Says:

    Randy, subways that have been established for over a hundred years in major cities with a 24/7 downtown have been modified enough and neighborhoods have adjusted enough to make them useful. When subways are introduced into new cities that are spread out and without a large and livable downtown, then having a hub-and-spoke arrangement from downtown outward to the city limits is nonsense, especially when most of the routes go through slums and follow old train routes rather than highways. Politics and funds make new routes expensive and short of living up to promises.

    rlc, how did you know?

  15. "reg" Says:

    BART offers an absolutely essential and quite well designed service to the extended
    Bay Area. It has fairly extensive hubs – which are always being expanded – and serves a broad cross-section of communities. (Although nothing competes with the NY subway system for full service.) You see businessmen, managerial types and computer nerds from the burbs riding alongside day laborers and hip-hop kids. Atlanta may well be a totally mismanaged system – I don’t know or particularly care which is why I don’t comment about it. Woody doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about when he speculates about public transit elsewhere – and more than likely is passing along crackpot versions of what its like in Atlanta. His paranoia about “the slums” pretty much says it all…

  16. Woody Says:

    I’m not paranoid about “the slums”. It’s just that I don’t want to get off of the MARTA train at any of those stops, which leaves it for commuting or going to the airport.

    Downtown is fine for those who work there and don’t have to leave during the day, but downtown closes up at night–despite efforts such as millions of tax dolars wasted to upgrade Underground Atlanta, which never worked as predicted.

    And, before MARTA built near a major shopping center, crime was low there, but that changed along with problem kids wandering the mall. That resulted in driving off customers, so the shopping center had to build a wall between it and the station and had to beef up security.

    MARTA has had mismanagement, as indicated by appointing a welfare mother as Chairman of the Board, but its biggest problem is in poor planning and placement of rail lines to appease the black politicians and voters–to the detriment of making it useful for everyone. They didn’t even locate a station at the baseball stadium.

    My “crackpot versions of Atlanta” are shared by most, and we who live here should know better than a semi-employed dropout liberal from Oakland.

    In looking at L.A.’s problems, other cities are having similar ones. For instance, Atlanta’s charity hospital is on the verge of shutting down because of mismanagement, as did theirs. Likewise, Atlanta’s problems may occur in L.A, which is why its useful to bring up problems with our transit system.

    Can we quit this diversity nonsense and get back to promoting and electing people based upon competency?

  17. Woody Says:

    LINK: I just don’t feel safe on MARTA

    (In today’s AJC: MARTA crime numbers show that someone is robbed or beaten up twice a week on MARTA property.)

    I’ll leave the suspense for you to see if this was written by a member of the Klan.

  18. WBC Says:

    Woody is actually right that ethnic politics factored heavily, too heavily, into where the initial LA subway line was built — the existing one from Downtown (Pershing Square) through Hollywood, up to Universal Studios. It wasn’t only the NIMBYs in Cheviott Hills (and elsewhere west) that were only too happy to have their reps (Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky and US Rep Waxman) use the methane spill under Fairfax as an excuse not to tunnel further west — but I distinctly recall that the pols representing the eastern part of town (mostly Hispanic) argued that it would be racist to run the line east to west from downtown to Santa Monica along Wilshire (more or less the currently favored route, with some deviations through a since more-populous and walkable West Hollywood), even though all studies showed that was where the need was greatest: greatest bus ridership current and future, and parallel to the congested I-10 commuting routes.

    The current line was built to stay east of the “westside” to appease BOTH the eastside and westside residents and pols,. and as a result, serves no one effectively, was and remains a financial boondoggle. (Building it with a construciton company that failed to abide by code to maximize its own profit, e.g. thickness of retaining walls so it collapsed, was another one.) It’s unbelievably beautiful inside each station: hugely expensive and creative artwork, murals and designs reflecting the character of each station, yet no one sees it: I’ve only ridden it to check it out, and there were confused-looking tourists and mostly ethnic families. None of the mainstream commuting public who needed it.

    But now there’s been a dramatic change of heart from both the pols (the same Zev and Waxman who obstructed it now want it, at of course vastly greater cost, having passed up over a decade of fed funding that could have been available), and the public. I attended one of the MTA’s public scoping meetings, and the lady heading it said that with the city having become more cosmopolitan with people moving here from NYC, DC, London and elsewhere, and visiting Tokyo and other cities around the world, feedback has been much more supportive, along the lines of: You can’t have a world-class city without a viable subway network, the only question, is where to put it for max effectiveness.

    Woody, I know how the subway’s laid out in Atlanta, and the near total avoidance suburbanites from Buckhead, Marietta, etc. have to downtown except for business or the Museum, very limited uses, then they want to get out. L A was that way when the subway was misdesigned, but we’ve evolved as a city and are moving on. Yes, NYC’s subways are filthy and gloomy, places where people warily avoid eye contact and rush in and out — but in rush hour, you have no choice and most people use them at least sometimes. We’re a newer city and while we shouldn’t expect the extravagance of the stops on the existing line, both subways and existing and future light rails are being designed to be attractive additions to the urban scene. I’ve been very impressed, talking to the designers and city planners, as well as the general public.

  19. Taddele G'Hiwot Says:

    In Ethiopia we say ‘yetem teweled Arada ideg’ And now after Elias’ experience we are being pushed to say “Be born in Ethiopia but raised in LA. Even if one is a genius the LAs will always look for weakness on a normal person. I still wonder even if there is no woder how this gem Elias of Africa win the impossible heart of LAs. I wonder!

    May the newly budding 2008 add more gene to LA.

    Best wishes,
    Taddele Hiwot

  20. Randy Paul Says:

    Yes, NYC’s subways are filthy and gloomy, places where people warily avoid eye contact and rush in and out

    The hell they are. The 4, 5, 6, 7, F, V, R, N and W (the ones I ride at least once a week or more) are most certainly not. If you catch the E (which I also ride at least once a week) at the occasional odd hour, it can be a little messy. The 1,2,3, A, B and D which I ride from time to time are also pretty good. People don’t avoid eye contact – unless they’re reading. As for rushing in and out, there’s nowhere to hang out nor is there any reason to do so.

    There are some stations that are quite lovely, however: Canal Street in Chinatown has beautiful tile designs as do several of the other lines. Union Square is a lovely, vibrant hub as is Times Square.

  21. WBC Says:

    You’re the first person I ever heard actually defend NYC’s subways for their aesthetics. Guess it depends what your standards are and what you’re used to. I actually can’t think of a big-city subway system which is more unattractive and filthy as a whole. Even factoring out the big Asian ones like Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, NYC is worse than Paris, London, Prague, even Moscow and Budapest which are 100 years old. — LA’s being attractive is 10 on a scale of 10 while NYC’s best may be a faded 3. I do business and have a club downtown, mostly use an apt. on upper east side/ 65th and Lex, also go to Columbus Circle area, I don’t know where all your reference pts. are.

    Anyone who can afford it in NYC takes car services and when they/ we catch the subway (especially coming in from Conn. by train) feel like I described. No one takes it at night if at all possible, just taxis or even limos for a group. No one I know or work with, but different strokes…

  22. Randy Paul Says:

    Anyone who can afford it in NYC takes car services and when they/ we catch the subway (especially coming in from Conn. by train) feel like I described. No one takes it at night if at all possible, just taxis or even limos for a group. No one I know or work with, but different strokes…

    Well, I actually live here and everyone I know takes the subway whenever possible. It is routinely filled on weekend nights and more often filled than empty on weeknights. Moreover, if you work downtown near Wall Street as I do, you’re a masochist if you take a car service. Traffic is hell throughout Manhattan.

    I took a subway home from my employer’s Christmas party at Bowery and Spring arriving home in Jackson Heights door to door within an hour, which involved two blocks of walking, two subways and a bus.

    As you acknowledged, you don’t take the subway, so I have no idea on what basis you make your claims. The only time I take a cab is when I have something far too heavy to take the subway. When I fly into and out of LaGuardia, unless I have a lot of luggage I walk three blocks to catch the Q33 bus which drops me right at my terminal. If I’m going from JFK, I take the E to the AirTrain. Feel free to thank me next time you breath some fresh air here.

    Nearly 28 years taking the subway and I have never been a victim of a crime. I’m even much less likely to be a victim these days:

    Crime in the subway system in 2007 fell 13 percent below the record low numbers recorded last year, despite subway ridership that’s at an all-time high.

    Not different strokes – just the truth.

  23. WBC Says:

    I don’t take the subway because it’s as I described — typical of you to tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about. I’ve taken it enough to know I want to avoid it when possible — and maybe there are people on it all night, but like I said, people I know avoid it; it’s especially depressing and menacing at night, and cars and taxis move more quickly. Anyway, isn’t Jackson Hts in Queens? Sorry to sound like a snob, but I guess you will call me one anyway — but I don’t go to Queens. If I did, I’m sure the subway’s the best option because it’s so out of the way by car. That’s another world. Ditto with people who go to places like Brooklyn Hts/ Park Slope, unless it’s night. The subway is faster and more extensive, especially when going to different buroughs, avoiding tunnels, etc.
    –Anyway, enough of this, enjoy your subway if that’s your thing.

  24. Randy Paul Says:

    Sorry to sound like a snob, but I guess you will call me one anyway — but I don’t go to Queens.

    Well I guess that says it all. If you’re not certain that Jackson Heights is in Queens and despite the evidence that subway crime is at its lowest while ridership is at its highest, yet you persist in trashing the subway, well of course you don’t know what you’re talking about. In other words, if “[you] don’t take the subway because it’s as I described,” then on what basis do you make your claims? Omniscience? Clairvoyance? Rumour? And you wonder why I say you don’t know what you’re talking about?

    The mayor takes the subway every day, btw. The dirtiest subway I’ve ever been on? After NYC was improved, I would have to say Rome’s’

  25. Randy Paul Says:

    enjoy your subway if that’s your thing.

    I’ll just do my part to keep traffic congestion and air pollution down.

  26. Woody Says:

    But not hot air.

  27. Randy Paul Says:

    In this hemisphere, the hot air comes from the South.

  28. WBC Says:

    Randy, you sound like exactly the kind of denizen of Queens who thinks New York’s subways are a thing of beauty, and are the kind of grungy character the rest of us avoid eye (and preferably any) contact with. Not likely you’re the kind to see straggling in out of the rain into the Harvard or yacht club, fresh from your aesthetic subway ride… Anyway, you stuck your soot-stained nose into a thread about L A’s subway system which is beautiful but unused for reasons described… Which you know less than nothing about, your point of reference being those habitats of NYC the rest of us avoid. (Asking if Jackson hts is in ny is rhetorical/sacrastic, by the way, as it’s about as likely a destination to me and people i know in manhattan as are the burbs of Beirut — no, I take that back, i was in Beirut some years ago and am curious to see it again.) Actually, Woody’s uninformed comments about L A’s mass transit put yours to shame.

  29. Randy Paul Says:

    Randy, you sound like exactly the kind of denizen of Queens who thinks New York’s subways are a thing of beauty, and are the kind of grungy character the rest of us avoid eye (and preferably any) contact with


    Nothing like a little clueless ad hominem to move the subject away from the facts.

    I never said that the subway in general was a “thing of beauty.” I merely pointed out that some stations are quite lovely.

    I also pointed out with, unlike you, support for my statement, that last year ridership was up while crime was down, two facts that can only collide in opposition with your unsupported statement that “Yes, NYC’s subways are filthy and gloomy, places where people warily avoid eye contact and rush in and out” and, compounded with your proud claim that you don’t ride the subway should let any reader judge for themselves who knows what they are talking about.

    So, please feel free to insult me if it gives you a sense of superiority. I honestly could care less. It speaks volumes that you have to resort to insults rather than fact to bolster your argument.

    Warm regards.

  30. WBC Says:

    OK, I’ll grant you that the subway is a lot safer, cleaner and less grim than in the 70′s and 80′s, when it was a popular movie metaphor for urban decay and Dante’s inferno… And i like the HopStop and Trip123 sites, which let you plug in your destination and starting pt and get the best routes and exact lines, subway and above-ground, incl. parking options. That’s something other cities should adopt. And yes, as i said there are times when you have no choice but the subway — getting into Grand Central at rush hour and having to get to a meeting there’s no sense in coming up aboveground to the street to look for a taxi. (Which deserves its own chapter of ignominy, why many of us prefer a private car service to wait for us.) But every cop will tell you, when you’re taking NYMetro, watch your wallets and purses, especially at night when it’s less crowded and you’re alone. Now bon voyage…

  31. Randy Paul Says:

    Fair enough. I’ve been keeping my wallet in my front pocket since before I moved to New York. the most popular items to steal these days are Ipod’s and cellphones.

    When I first arrived in NYC, I hated the subway. If you were lucky, you were able to take the E or F train, which at that time, were the only ones that had air conditioning.

    All of them do, now. The graffiti is gone (something which still plagues some of Rome’s lines) and I’ll gladly concede that the tracks are probably like a Petri dish. They have made some major improvements. 72nd & Broadway used to be a horrible station. It’s much better now. Times Square and Union Square are easily navigable.

    As for cab drivers, if you own your own medallion, it’s practically a license to print money. If not, it’s one of the worst jobs in the city.

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