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Our list of wishes for 2011

January 01, 2011

If it's New Year's Day, it must be time for our annual wish list. Last year, we made 33 wishes that we hoped would come true in 2010. Nine of them did, which isn't a bad record considering that the list contained quixotic pleas for such breakthroughs as "a reality show in which contestants compete to expand their knowledge rather than reduce their waistlines" and "congressional Democrats and Republicans to join forces in developing a plan to bring the federal budget back into balance." Like that could ever happen.

Nonetheless, some of the granted wishes were big ones, such as an end to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy and passage of a comprehensive healthcare reform bill. All the partisan rancor and environmental catastrophes (think Gulf of Mexico oil spill) aside, 2010 wasn't such a bad year. Here's hoping 2011 is at least as good. And while we're at it, we wish:

For California lawmakers to pass, and the governor to finally sign, a bill mandating that the state get a third of its power from renewable sources by 2020. That's already state policy, but not law, as it should be.

For single-digit unemployment.

This wish came true last year, so why not go for the hat trick? For the Lakers to win a third NBA championship in a row.

And while we're at it: For the Dodgers to not completely stink. New owners would make this one likelier to come true.

For the incoming crop of "tea party"-backed GOP freshmen in Congress to realize that governing means more than saying "no" to everything.

For a significant reduction in U.S. troops in Afghanistan this summer.

For Supreme Court rulings in favor of the healthcare reform LAW and against Proposition 8. Because these are our wishes, not our predictions.

For China to rein in its unstable ally, North Korea.

For a smooth secession election in southern Sudan, and progress in ending the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

For Congress to approve L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's 30/10 initiative, allowing the city to complete some major public transit projects in a decade rather than 30 years.

For Gov.-elect Jerry Brown, the Legislature and California voters to approve a budget deal that balances the need to raise revenues and cut spending, in a way that neither stalls economic growth nor ravages our schools, safety nets, parks and other services.

For mammograms and colonoscopies along with our porno scans at airports. Not much more invasive, but far more useful.

For a full exoneration of Rep. Maxine Waters (D- Los Angeles). We're not saying she deserves it, just that we hope she does.

For a swimmable summer in Los Angeles. 2010's was the coldest in decades.

For enactment of a federal shield law to protect journalists who rely on confidential sources.

For Congress to improve on the cost controls in the healthcare reform LAW, rather than having Republicans mount a futile effort to repeal it.

For President Obama to finally make good on his promises to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center and put accused terrorists on trial in civilian courts.

For Obama to resubmit the names of judicial nominees whose appointments were unfairly blocked by Republican opponents in Congress.

For Obama to propose — and fight for — a thoroughgoing reform of the tax code, even if it means slaughtering some sacred cows.

For continued reductions in the crime rate, which have been transforming Los Angeles into a safer city than it has been in a generation.

For city elections in which serious issues are debated and large numbers of voters turn out to register their preferences.

For good skiing this year in the Sierra range — actually, that one's already coming true.

For Bill O'Reilly and Keith Olbermann to work out their differences off the air. O'Reilly isn't the "worst person in the world," and Olbermann isn't a "pinhead," though neither charge is far off the mark.

For construction of new mosques to be as culturally acceptable in the United States as the building of churches or synagogues.

For Congress to replace the No Child Left Behind Act — a badly written law that created rigid, arbitrary measures for judging schools — with something better.

For reformers and teachers unions to agree that test scores should be one element in a meaningful evaluation process that helps both teachers and their students.

For more hybrid cars (and plug-in hybrids like the new Chevy Volt), and fewer gas guzzlers. And to encourage cleaner cars and fund transportation infrastructure, a higher tax on gasoline.

For a new series on pay cable that's as good as "The Sopranos" was.

For the old John McCain — the one who wasn't afraid to buck party orthodoxy if it meant doing the right thing — to return to Washington.

For the primary campaign season for the 2012 national elections to begin as late in the year as possible. The 2008 campaign (which stretched back to nearly 2006) went on far too long.

For Shepard Fairey to create another iconic art piece that inspires young people to care about politics and social issues (without violating anyone's copyright).

For the city of Los Angeles to save the Hollywood Farmers Market by facilitating a resolution to the parking issues that threaten its existence.

For the tide of violence to turn in Mexico's bloody drug war, with the government finally gaining the upper hand over the cartels.

For producer Peter Jackson, after years of delay, a change of directors, union troubles and lawsuits, to finally begin filming "The Hobbit" and take us back to Middle Earth.

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