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We wish ...

From fanciful to practical, here's The Times' list of changes that could make life in 2008 just great.

January 01, 2008

The Times' New Year's wishes do not have a good history of coming true. Last year at this time, we made 27 wishes for 2007, and scored on just 2 1/2 . Then again, we realize that when we ask for things like sensible immigration reform from Congress or for the Vatican to approve the use of condoms to fight AIDS, we're only setting ourselves up for disappointment.

The victories: L.A.'s crime rate is still dropping, and officials are still arguing about why, just as we had hoped. The feds will make more airwaves available for wireless broadband services and unlicensed uses starting this month. And the half wish: Harry Potter survived, but so did Dudley Dursley, who we hoped would be deflated by a Dementor or something.

Inspired by our 2 1/2 successes, we submit our wishes for 2008 (admittedly, a few are recycled because we still want them so badly), topped as usual by a wish that we end up with a better record this year than last.

We wish ...

For the Dodgers to avoid another late-season collapse.

For L.A. officials to stop kowtowing to NIMBYs and take steps toward moving the dangerous parallel runways on LAX's north airfield farther apart.

For one blessed year without a celebrity trial.

For Congress to approve a global warming bill that requires an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050.

For a la carte cable TV.

For more states, including California, to follow New Jersey's lead in eliminating the death penalty.

For the governments of the city and county of Los Angeles to work together seamlessly to end homelessness.

For a cheap and easy way to get video from the Internet to a TV set.

For a soft landing for the housing market that allows property values to settle at more reasonable levels without setting off hundreds of thousands of foreclosures. While we're at it, we'd like to see an end to borrowers obtaining mortgages without submitting any proof of their ability to repay them, and a vastly simplified disclosure form from lenders telling borrowers how large their payments are likely to be over the course of the loan.

Though it's doubtless deeply wrong from both an animal and human rights perspective, for Reggie the alligator to escape again.

For an all-news TV channel that really is all news and not a series of monologues by blowhards.

For political pundits to wait until 2009 to start handicapping the 2012 presidential race.

For the Trojans to play next season at the Coliseum, and the Dodgers at a steroids rehab clinic.

For a national renewable portfolio standard, meaning the country would have to get a set percentage of its electricity from clean sources such as sun and wind.

For the fourth "Indiana Jones" film to be as great as the first one.

For something on TV this spring besides talent competitions, and for labor peace in Hollywood that will allow thousands to get back to work for a fair slice of the revenue pie.

For the World Trade Organization to do what Congress failed to do in its 2007 farm bill: force the United States to reduce its damaging farm subsidies.

For Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to date -- no one. We'd also like him to talk about fewer initiatives and actually make progress on a couple of them. Reducing traffic and improving schools would be high on the list.

That the current and incoming national security advisor and secretaries of State, Defense and Homeland Security read Michael Levi's "On Nuclear Terrorism" and make it a top priority to ensure that everything that can be done to foil a nuclear attack by terrorists is being done.

For an end to the format war between different flavors of high-definition DVDs.

For a publicly funded but privately operated hospital for South Los Angeles that works in partnership with the existing network of clinics.

That scientists perfect a fat substitute enabling the creation of a bran, broccoli and soy mixture that tastes like cheesecake and isn't carcinogenic.

For Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez to take a vow of poverty.

That Congress enacts humane immigration reform, simplifies the tax code and approves a carbon tax. Heck, one out of three would be a start.

For legislation to provide job training and referrals, homes and financial support to the almost 25,000 children in foster care in Los Angeles County as they age out of the system.

For economic prognosticators to be proved wrong, as the country fails to slip into recession.

That Justice John Paul Stevens eat well, get plenty of exercise and stay very, very healthy. Same for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

For a sizable troop withdrawal from Iraq, and for President Bush's successor to continue that course toward peace.

For water users in California -- in cities, on farms and everywhere in between -- to get real about the state's limited supplies. In the meantime, we pray for snow in the Sierra and rain here in Los Angeles (hey, it worked for Atlanta).

For more parking at Metro Rail stops and subway stations.

For a spam filter that actually works.

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