Editorial boards by nature focus on wishes — what we wish would be done, what we wish had been done differently and, as often as not, what we wish hadn’t been done at all. Here, at the dawn of what is shaping up to be a challenging new year — to say the least — it’s clear that the wishes The Times Editorial Board set out a year ago for 2016 were mostly an exercise in futility.
Among the dashed hopes we articulated last January: comprehensive immigration reform; a congressionally approved authorization for use of military force against Islamic State to allow for a stronger, more concerted effort to drive the terror group out of Iraq and Syria; a more elevated political discourse during the presidential election; and an end to the scapegoating of Muslims for the terror acts of extremists.
Some things we hoped for did come to pass. Los Angeles voters approved a $1.2-billion bond measure to provide housing for the chronically homeless, part of a belated movement by city and county officials to take meaningful steps to address the crisis. And Californians continue (mostly) to take water conservation seriously, so there was that small silver lining.
With that behind us, here is our annual wish list for 2017, beginning with our heartfelt hope that President-elect Donald J. Trump surprises the world and behaves not only presidentially, but in the best interests of the nation. Remember: These are wishes, not predictions.
In no particular order, we fervently wish for:
— An end to the war in Syria and to the suffering of millions of displaced Syrians, and the collapse of the brutal Islamic State army with as little further bloodshed as possible.
— Recognition by Trump that real presidents don’t tweet diatribes that are hastily conceived, reckless, petty or misspelled.
— A continuation of our ample December rains into January, February and March (but without flash floods and landslides).
— The selection of Los Angeles for the 2024 summer Olympic games by the International Olympic Committee — along with credible guarantees that taxpayers won’t have to pay for any shortfalls.
— Involvement by more people — especially women and minorities — in politics, at the local, state and federal level.
— A ninth justice for the short-handed U.S. Supreme Court — who should be competent, well-qualified and respected and who should be approved by the Senate without the partisan polarization that denied a seat to President Obama’s deserving nominee, Merrick Garland.
— An end to deadly attacks on police officers, and police shootings of unarmed suspects.
— A decision by all 100 U.S. senators to put country before party and to subject Trump’s Cabinet nominees to searching scrutiny. Loyalty to the president isn’t a sufficient qualification to run a government department; he or she also must be prepared to enforce laws enacted by Congress.
— Continued leadership by California in the fight against global warming, especially as climate-change skeptics take key roles in the Trump administration.
— A constitutional amendment to abolish the anachronistic electoral college and provide for the election of the president by a national popular vote.
— A narrowing of the social and political divisions exposed and exacerbated in the 2016 presidential campaign, and a national discourse in which facts become less malleable things.
— A firm stand by California against efforts by the Trump administration to waste taxpayer resources by deporting millions of immigrants living in the country without authorization — including young people brought to this country as children through no choice of their own and others who have not committed crimes.
— A push to reform the money bail system so that people accused of crimes are jailed or released based on the risks they pose rather than their ability to pay.
— A national movement to follow California’s lead and ban single-use plastic bags — the plastic bag industry’s biggest fear.
— A renewed dedication by colleges and universities to the principle of open debate, even though some speech makes some students uncomfortable. Harassment and intimidation shouldn’t be tolerated, but students are not entitled to a “safe space” to protect them from ideas and discussion.
— A retooling of Los Angeles County’s civil service system so that it no longer returns lying sheriff’s deputies and probation officers to duty.
— A continued commitment to the spirit of criminal justice reform that has prevailed in California over the last three years.