Make the L.A. River a resource for the entire city.
Encourage business to donate big money for parks.
Create flat-rate taxi fare zones around transit hubs to promote easier use of public transportation.
Rethink planning to emphasize pedestrians.
Promote citywide contests (soccer tournaments, poetry contests).
"There are a lot of things a mayor can do," said Weinberger. "You just need to think big [and small] and you have to care about the average citizen."
Two average citizens, Don and Prudy Schultz, walked home Tuesday having done their civic duty. We were approaching their house when Prudy pointed out the cracks and dips in the street, and she said it's been long overdue for repaving.
Near their house, they introduced me to a neighbor, Lorenzo Marquez, a resident of the neighborhood since the 1960s. Mr. Marquez walks with a cane, and he had his eye on the many hazards as he moved. Near his house, the roots of a half-dead tree had lifted the sidewalk. But if I wanted to see real problems, he said, I needed to head over to nearby Valerio Street, and he'd be happy to be my guide.
As we made our way there, Mr. Marquez did not have many kind words for local politicians, some of whom won support with their promises and then disappeared, as he sees it.
He was right about the sidewalk. It looked like a small mountain range, and the neighbors all stood there surveying the damage and wondering whether the election would bring change.