Dear Mayor Eric Garcetti,
How are you doing? I trust well. I am not at all surprised that you have been causing quite a stir around the world only a year into your mayorship (is that a word?). I mean, those of us in your district back in the councilman days already knew you were great. When I lived in Thai Town, you totally made it cleaner and more inviting for walkers by repaving sidewalks. Same for Silver Lake! It was you who got Echo Park Lake’s stellar revamp going. You are just the best!
But I have a few notes. Little ones, yes, but things that I know can help you help us help Los Angeles. On this, the anniversary of your mayoral commencement, I’ve reflected on the year past and thought about what has been missing. Wi-Fi on trains and buses? Yeah, we need that. Better sidewalk and bike safety in addition to paved streets? Sure, that would be nice. The inevitable revamp of the Los Angeles River? OK, OK. Everyone would enjoy that. But these changes are hard and they take money.
Inspired by your Web site’s brilliant Share Your Ideas campaign, I want to relay a few of my own.
1. More Trash Cans.
I have noticed there are no trash cans on most blocks. How can you get people out of their cars if there aren’t receptacles to keep sidewalks clean? The last thing you want to do is carry your empty water bottle or food wrappers for blocks (and I can tell you most people won’t even bother). Moreover, trash cans incept people into thinking they should be walking, because obviously there’s supposed to be foot traffic if they bothered to put a garbage can here. See what I just did there? Also, why hasn’t recycling and composting become mandatory yet? San Francisco is making us look like reckless toddlers when it comes to disposing of our waste.
2. No More Crowdsourcing Design.
Wasn’t your tote bag contest cute? Dude, New York City hired renowned design firm Pentagram to redo their parking signs and maps. Why aren’t you doing something like that? We look like we’re at an arts and crafts camp in the Berkshires for the summer gluing macaroni and playing with lanyard, and not at all serious about the city’s visuals. I literally run a Web site dedicated to Los Angeles art and design. I could consult.
3. NO MORE BUBBLEHEAD ADS.
I think every Angeleno can agree that the “street artist” and visual terrorist Mike McNeilly has plagued Los Angeles for far too long with meaningless bus stop “art” that features his fictionalized sci-fi character. They’re a nuisance—and they have been for 20 years! Restore the floral bus benches! Replace Bubblehead with advertising for the Metro! I’ve complained about this enough: Evict the sphere-headed woman already!
4. Car-Free Days.
OK, this will sound insane but we should do something like Carmageddon or Jamzilla more often. Why not monthly? Yes, people will complain, but this would force them to carpool or even walk to town on select weekends—not to mention come up with clever, disaster-mongering names—in addition to giving the city time to work on roads. It will galvanize communities, sparking happenings similar to CicLAvia and ARTmageddon.
5. Non-Robbing Parking Meters.
Those fancy, credit-card taking parking meters are fabulous and have freed our pants from a condition known as Coin Pocket. But they’re also stealing from us. If someone with a card goes to add money to a meter that already has money on it, the meter refreshes the payment making it impossible to add time. Instead, the meter swallows the time that was left by some Good Samaritan and the new parker is left to pay anew. That’s low, man. As if parking tickets weren’t making you guys enough money!
These are my requests, Mayor Garcetti. As I said, I’m happy to chat with you about these things. You know where to find me. (Wait, do you? Check my bio below).
Here’s to another great year!
Kyle Fitzpatrick is a writer, an infrequent performer, and a lover of dogs, art, shorts, champagne, and L.A. You can find his musings Fridays on CityThink. For more, check out his locally focused art, design, and culture website, Los Angeles, I’m Yours, or follow him on Twitter and Instagram.