First, a disclaimer: this blog post was written by a Jew, with minimal understanding of the man called Santa Claus, except the understanding that he is a jolly fat person who gives people things for free.
Well, Los Angeles sure needs some things. Here are 10 items on L.A.'s Christmas wish list:
Yeah, we'll rack up some decent rainfall in December, but that doesn't change the fact that California is in the midst of the worst drought in 1,200 years – that's right, the last time things were this dry, the Byzantine Empire was still around. Now we know Santa has no control over large weather systems (right?), but maybe he could bring over some Arrowhead jugs or something.
We could also use some help keeping what little water we have. As the enormous geyser spewing out of Sunset Boulevard by UCLA showed, L.A.'s decrepit water main system is in desperate need of an upgrade. Unfortunately, we replace our existing pipes — including 1 million feet of rotting wood, clay and metal sections more than 100 years old — at the rate every 300 years. Just getting that down to a century would cost Santa billions.
8. Smooth Streets
There's no other way to put it: Los Angeles is a hot mess. Look no further than our streets, more than a third of which are officially rated "failed." That is, just as you'd see in some corrupt, war-ravaged state, they've simply been written off by L.A. officials. This year, newbie City Councilman Joe Buscaino floated a plan to raise the citywide sales tax half a cent in order to generate the roughly $4.5 billion to fix our crumbling roads, scourge of cyclists and drivers alike. But the idea was shelved due to a resounding lack of enthusiasm from Mayor Eric Garcetti and the most of the other 15 council members.
7. Parking Signs That Make Sense
L.A.'s multiply stacked, incomprehensible,10-foot-tall parking signs have become legendary, as evocative of L.A. as smog and soy lattes. Incredibly, there's a proposal floating around for parking signs that actually make sense – we're just waiting for the City Council to approve and then (gulp) pay for the damn things. But what a Christmas present these bad boys would make.
6. Light Rail to the Beach
There was a great moment in last year's film Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson as the voice of his sexy sexy smartphone, where the two unlikely lovers in future L.A. ride the train out to the beach. It seemed like such a glorious if elusive dream. But hold on, this is actually happening! Phase 2 of the Expo Line is set for completion in 2015. That's right, as early as next year, you could travel from the pavement at 7th and Flower to the sand of sunny Santa Monica in less than an hour without setting foot in a car. How cool is that? There's always a chance the project, which is 80 percent complete, could be delayed, so maybe Santa could send a few union elves to help out with the finishing touches.
5. Affordable Housing
Los Angeles, in case you haven't heard or still live with your parents, is either the least affordable or second-least affordable housing market in the country. Any way you cut it, for what Angelenos earn, it's wicked expensive to pay rent, let alone buy a house. So Santa, we could really use some affordable housing – come to think of it, we could use any housing at all, since adding to the housing supply lowers its cost. Just so long as it isn't designed by DaVinci developer Geoff Palmer.
4. A Giant, Swimmable Silver Lake
What if you didn't have to drive (or take the train) to the beach on a hot day? What if there was a giant, swimmable lake right in the middle of the city. Well there could be. Early this year, a couple of Silver Lake residents proposed turning Silver Lake Reservoir, which has long been offline and is dedicated to storing drinking water, into a swimmable lake – or, as some have dubbed it, "Hipster Beach." The idea hasn't gotten much traction (the online petition garnered all of 411 signatures), and if it did there would surely be a painful howling sound from the neighbors. But you have to admit, it's a tantalizing idea.
3. A Giant Park Over the 101 Freeway
If a swimmable Silver Lake is little more than a pipe dream, the 101 "cap park" is just a teeny tiny bit more realistic, since the group behind it, Hollywood Central Park, actually started the environmental review process in August. Seattle created a park over the I-5, decades ago. Our 38-acre park would be erected like a skinny, nearly mile-long roof over the 101 Freeway between Bronson Avenue by the Scientology Celebrity Centre and Santa Monica Boulevard near Jon's grocery store, and would likely cost a pretty penny.
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When in doubt, give cash, right? The average L.A. resident makes only about $28,000 a year — barely enough to afford gas for our Prius' and soy lattes and such. Hell, we'll settle for a Starbucks card.
Another election year, another record-low voter turnout — only a quarter of registered voters in Los Angeles County bothered to cast ballots this November. Only about 40 percent of residents are registered to vote. Those numbers give us the lowest voter turnout of any county in California. As we reported, voter turnout is higher for the position of "House Mouse" in the unique gay wing of Men's Central Jail. With elections for city council and school board just a few short months away, L.A. voters could really use an incentive from Santa. Like ... I don't know ... money?