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Opinion

Editorial: Who was naughty and who was nice in 2018? So many choices, so little space

dc-tree
The fanciful eye of a Christopher Radko ornament hangs from Ann Free’s Christmas tree.
(Bill O’Leary / The Washington Post)

It’s too late on Christmas day to affect the contents of anyone’s stockings. Nevertheless, if we’d been the ones loading up Santa’s sleigh on Monday, this would have been our list of who’s been naughty and who’s been nice.

Naughty

President Trump, unsurprisingly, sits at the top of our list for being even less truthful and more divisive than he was in 2017, if you can imagine it.

The suddenly misnamed Environmental Protection Agency, for working to weaken fuel economy standards and to let more of the dirtiest diesel trucks on the road even as the disastrous effects of climate change are barreling toward us.

University of Southern California leaders, for repeatedly choosing to do damage control rather than confront horrendous behavior by its employees, including medical school dean Carmen Puliafito and staff gynecologist George Tyndall. (In recent months, the Board of Trustees has taken some steps to change the campus culture.)

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Amazon, for playing cities for suckers as it negotiated for billions of dollars in tax breaks for its proposed second headquarters.

Facebook, for its thuggish PR tactics and a fundamental disregard for users’ privacy. Oh, and Twitter and Google too, for their own, considerable failures to combat harassment and protect privacy, respectively.

U.S. immigration officials, for separating migrant children from their parents to try to deter desperate people from crossing the border. A new low.

Nobel Peace Prize winner-turned-politician Aung San Suu Kyi, for abiding the atrocities committed by the Myanmar military against the Rohingya Muslim minority.

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Former state Sen. Tony Mendoza, for resigning from his seat in February after allegations of sexual misconduct, then quickly campaigning to win his old seat back. (He lost.)

The California Department of Motor Vehicles, for epic waiting lines for driver’s licenses and epic failures in its handling of a new voter registration program.

Just about everyone involved in the nomination and confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, for lowering public confidence in the Senate and the independence of the Supreme Court.

Sore loser GOP-controlled legislatures in Wisconsin and Michigan, for rushing through bills to take away power from incoming Democratic governors and other statewide officers.

Beverly Hills Unified School District leaders, for their fearmongering campaign to block the Purple Line subway tunneling under Beverly Hills High School.

The L.A. Unified School District, for agreeing to remove a school mural celebrating the old Cocoanut Grove nightclub because the sunburst pattern in the background kinda reminded some Koreatown activists of the imperial Japanese battle flag. (Happily, that decision is on hold.)

The Vatican, for prohibiting the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops from voting on new measures to prevent and punish sexual abuse by members of the clergy.

The U.S. Supreme Court, for barring unions from charging nonunion employees a fee to defray the cost of collective bargaining on behalf of all workers. To do so, the court overturned a perfectly reasonable decades-old precedent.

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Nice

Gov. Jerry Brown returns to the nice list, this time in recognition of the eight years he’s spent being Gov. Jerry Brown.

Firefighters and residents of Paradise, Calif., and the valiant staff of the Cypress Meadows Post-Acute nursing home, for risking their lives to save others from the deadliest wildfire in state history.

The California Supreme Court, for blocking a crackpot initiative from the November ballot that would have broken the Golden State into three nuggets.

San Francisco Dist. Atty. George Gascon and state lawmakers, for proactively reducing or expunging convictions for certain marijuana crimes that are no longer illegal today.

Civically engaged Californians, for setting records in both voter registration (most ever) and in turnout in the Nov. 6 midterm election.

President Trump — yes, he gets one “nice” — for issuing a posthumous pardon to African American heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson, who was convicted in 1913 for what Trump noted is widely regarded as a “racially motivated injustice”: transporting a white woman across state lines.

Christine Blasey Ford, for, at the very least, being willing to come forward under the most difficult of circumstances.

First son-in-law Jared Kushner and the bipartisan coalition in Congress that championed a modest but important criminal justice reform bill — with help from Trump.

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L.A. Councilman Mike Bonin, for braving the vocal opposition of some constituents to win the necessary approvals for a desperately needed bridge shelter for 154 homeless people in Venice.

LeBron James, for taking his talents to South Park.

The hundreds of Google employees who pressured the company to abandon its efforts to develop a search engine for China that supported the authoritarian government’s censorship efforts.

Enter the Fray: First takes on the news of the minute from L.A. Times Opinion »

California Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) and Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda), for persuading their colleagues to have the courage to end cash bail in this state.

Recreation outfitter Patagonia, for donating the $10 million the company gained from what Chief Executive Rose Marcario described as Trump’s “irresponsible tax cut” to “groups committed to protecting air, land and water and finding solutions to the climate crisis.”

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., for defending the independence of the federal judiciary after Trump attacked an “Obama judge” who ruled against his administration.

Trump’s soon-to-be-former Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, for coining one of the more accurate words to describe the Trump White House: “Crazytown.”

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