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Mailander’s LA: 2011 Was a Year of Spectacular Failure

MAILANDER MUSINGS - This has been a year of spectacular failure for the City of Los Angeles.  Anyone who says otherwise is not being honest.

If you don't believe that this year has seen some of the greatest failures to come to LA since the early 1990s, try to come up with one of your own lists like this--our top ten civic stories--for 2011, and see if failure doesn't dominate it.  Failure upon failure upon failure, barely relieved by incidental patches of success--successes that are far from clear cut.  Even so, this is all useful to note.  It demonstrates how much our City has declined in a single year.
The following are, as I saw it, the top ten things that happened to Los Angeles in 2011, in order of importance.  Seven are bad, one is politically destabilizing, one is politically neutral, and one is halfway to favorable.  

Some were extensively covered by our increasingly failing mainstream media--others--like my second top story of the year, redistricting--I offer more as theory than as story.  

But this was, as far as I can see, a desperate year, rife with the aggregate consequences of civic irresponsibility of both the Mayor and Council, and these stories will mostly continue to scar our future even as they brought us to new depths this year.

The top ten stories of 2011 have been:

1. Brian Stow beating

2. La Raza Redistricting

3. The end of the fishwrap of record

4. Occupy LA

5. The end of the Mayor's machine

6. Garcetti, Andrea Alarcon cancel Sunset Junction

7. City scandals

8. Shocking political failures

9. LA River renaissance

10. Farmer's Field
1. Brian Stow beating

This sealed the fate of Frank McCourt forever, and it was a pivotal moment in local sports history--and undoubtedly the City's top moment of shame in 2011, and one of the most decisive ones as well.  But beyond this, it was the top indicator that something was profoundly wrong in the City of Los Angeles.

The police weren't at Opening Day in adequate numbers--after all this time, we still don't know why not.  The Dodgers weren't adequately interested in policing the crowd--after all this time, we still don't know why not, and nobody's been curious enough to ask, and civic leadership has actually stood by McCourt's side.

A senseless beating, a man damaged for life, certainly consigned to a hospital bed for months, a DA questioning the effectiveness of local police work, a baseball season of ignominy, a terrible first half for a team with tremendous talent, and a key economic furnace for Los Angeles rendered to a modest flicker of what it once had been, with profound questions about its ability to recover anytime soon.  The gradual, then sudden implosion of one of the world's premiere sports franchises.  And nobody says much at all, other than what bad guys the perps were--which is, of course, simply to state the obvious, and nothing more. (Commentary on the rest of the Mailander list here)

(Joseph Mailander is a writer, an LA observer and a contributor to CityWatch. He is also the author of The Plasma of Terror. Mailander blogs at where this article first appeared.) –cw

Tags:  2011, Los Angeles, LA, Top Ten Stories, Joseph Mailander

Vol 9 Issue 103
Pub: Dec 27, 2011