New Year’s wishes

IN THE TIMES’ sporadic New Year’s Day tradition of making wishes for the coming year, only a precious few have come true. Last year was no different: Of 36 New Year’s wishes, just five were fulfilled; two others were only partially realized.

We got the most satisfaction on Wall Street and in San Pedro. Investors pushed the Dow Jones industrial average past 12,000, and port officials granted our wish by imposing strong measures to fight air pollution. Counting as partial fulfillment was the elimination by U.S. forces in June of terrorist honcho Abu Musab Zarqawi (we actually wished for the elimination of Osama bin Laden but said we’d settle for his proxy in Iraq). Another qualified success was our wish for more left-turn arrows at major L.A. intersections. The city is in the midst of installing 450 new signals, and the City Council has urged that the work be expedited — but it will still take years to complete.

Here are our hopes for 2007. Feel free to log on and add your own at

• Sensible immigration reform that addresses the nation’s economic needs and the facts on the ground, not the needs of xenophobic media personalities or Midwestern politicians. With an election out of the way, perhaps congressional deliberations will be more realistic.

• For Disney to issue an unequivocal statement that it will never make a movie based on the “It’s a Small World” ride.

• For an Iraqi government that will crack down on radical Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr and others linked to death squads in that country.

• For local officials to spend some of their Proposition 1B bond riches on extending the Red Line subway down Wilshire Boulevard to Fairfax Avenue; getting it all the way to Westwood would be even better.

• For Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Democratic leaders of the Legislature to work together to ease the overcrowding in California’s prisons.

• For Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council to stop passing ordinances that chase businesses out of Los Angeles, like the self-defeating extension of the city’s “living wage” law to a group of hotels near LAX.

• The Los Angeles Chargers of San Diego. Hey, it worked for the Angels. With no prospects for an NFL team in Los Angeles, we’d like to adopt the winning team to the south.

• For the feds to make more airwaves available for wireless broadband services and unlicensed uses.

• For China to stop obstructing United Nations efforts to crack down on the most dangerous and deadly regimes in the world — namely Iran, North Korea and Sudan.

• For Congress to support a constitutional amendment that would allow naturalized Americans, like Michigan’s governor — or California’s — to be eligible for the highest office in this nation of immigrants. We’d settle for a few prominent members calling for hearings on the matter.

• For the Vatican to formally approve the use of condoms to prevent the transmission of AIDS.

• The death of wasteful farm subsidies that drain the federal Treasury and make a mockery of U.S. claims to be a free-trading nation.

• That Bob Woodward report something within three days of learning it.

• A new L.A. school board majority that starts meetings promptly and focuses them usefully. Better yet, a referendum to abolish the school board altogether as part of a thorough mayoral control plan for the district.

• Wider parking spots. Is it just us, or do parking spots at the mall and elsewhere keep getting narrower?

• In the event that 86-year-old Justice John Paul Stevens retires from the U.S. Supreme Court, a moderate (not movement) conservative nominee from President Bush, and sober (not hysterical) hearings by Democrats.

• A resolution by President Bush not to introduce “real people” in the audience at the State of the Union address.

• For an easy, inexpensive way to get video from the Internet to a TV set — and vice versa.

• In lieu of an acrimonious debate about extending the Bush tax cuts, for Congress to enact a sweeping simplification of the tax code that lowers rates while eliminating most exemptions, deductions and credits.

• For that previous wish not to count against us in next year’s tallying. We get one mulligan.

• That Harry Potter survive, but not Dudley Dursley.

• For an AIDS vaccine that works. While we’re at it, a malaria vaccine also would be a profound boon for humanity.

• For a shorter gap between a film’s release and its availability on DVD, for the sake of all movie-loving parents with small children.

• For scientists to invent a beer that turns fat tissue into muscle.

• That this time next year we will again be arguing about who should get credit for the continuing drop in L.A.'s crime rate.

• For the apparent reversal in Somalia, stalemate in Lebanon and internal unrest in Iran to be signs that the international Islamist juggernaut is running out of steam.

• For Raul Castro’s term in office to be even shorter than Gerald Ford’s.

• That all Angelenos, in fact and in spirit, have more of their wishes come true this year than last.