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The Times’ 2012 wish list

Every year for a while now we’ve been reserving editorial space on New Year’s Day to express our wishes for the coming year. Most of these wishes, it has to be said, do not come true. But a few of them always do: Last year we wished for single-digit unemployment, and it fell to 8.6% in November; we asked for a significant reduction in U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and the number was cut by 33,000; and we asked for a new series on pay cable as good as “The Sopranos” and we got, well, “Game of Thrones” (OK, maybe only half-credit for that one).

Inspired by those successes, we’re attempting ever-higher heights of hopefulness for 2012. And why not? Change is in the air, what with a presidential election on the horizon and an improving economic outlook. There’s every reason to expect that 2012 will be better than 2011.

We wish:

For another year of declining crime across Los Angeles.

For a full year without Congress threatening to shut down the government or default on any of its obligations.

For a $99 iPad.

For a GOP presidential nominee who isn’t wedded to archaic social values and unfair economic policies that benefit the rich and corporate polluters. Or is that too much to ask?

For the city of Bell to find its bearings after the scandals involving former leaders, and build a strong and stable municipal government.

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For California to put new emphasis on restoring its fraying colleges and universities and retaining a public higher-education system that has been the envy of the nation.

For a rational budget debate in Sacramento, and the passage of a budget that does not rely on gimmicks or inflated revenue estimates.

For a decent professional football team in Los Angeles — not another city’s castoff crew of also-rans.

For a wildfire-free autumn in California. A reprieve on major earthquakes would be great too.

For the city to finally approve a ratepayer advocate for the L.A. Department of Water and Power.

For an end to the death penalty in California.

For the return of the downtown farmers’ market to City Hall, once the grounds recover from the six-week “occupation.”

For an end to the bloodletting in Mexico. Some 45,000 people have died since 2006, when President Felipe Calderon launched his war on drugs. Mexican cartels sell the drugs and Americans consume them. Both countries must agree on a solution.

For a Los Angeles County sheriff capable of fixing the broken jail system. Better yet, a sheriff who takes responsibility and doesn’t plead ignorance when presented with reports of inmate abuse in his department.

For a hybrid car with fuel economy as impressive as that of the Toyota Prius, but that’s less ugly and more fun to drive. Or an electric car that can travel from L.A. to San Francisco on a single charge.

For President Obama to stick to his postelection vow not to let politics run roughshod over science. That means no more decisions to override years of research and analysis by government scientists — such as when Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius countermanded the Food and Drug Administration on its finding that the Plan B morning-after pill should be available without prescription to girls younger than 17.

For a serious retooling of agricultural policy that involves eliminating corporate welfare for commodity growers who don’t need it.

For more Angelenos to ride their bikes, or buses and trains, to work.

For Los Angeles Unified to start serving healthy lunches that students are actually willing to eat — and that the students are given enough time to pick up from the food lines and eat during lunch time.

For a return to the economic growth rate of the mid- to late-1990s, minus the stock bubble.

For less bickering, and more construction, on California’s high-speed rail system.

For reform of the nation’s electoral system. The electoral college has elevated the importance of a few swing states — Ohio and Florida, principally — at the expense of the population generally. It’s long past time to move to a popular-vote system in which the candidate with the most votes wins.

For the digital 3-D movie fad to die a quiet death, kind of like the old red-blue anaglyph 3-D system did in the 1950s.

For the Legislature to approve a reasonable fee on both carryout plastic bags and paper bags at supermarkets and large retailers, ending the current patchwork of municipal rules.

For a rollicking mayor’s race (for the March 2013 election) in which candidates thoughtfully examine the role of city government and articulate ideas for what the city can and should do, and what it can learn to live without.

For Congress to stop pretending that the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants already here will simply go away if it makes life too hard for them, and to pass a bipartisan immigration reform bill.

For a reasonable overhaul of the No Child Left Behind Act — something between the current U.S. Senate bill, which lacks accountability, and the Education Department’s administrative proposal, which lacks details.


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