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'Saving' Los Angeles: Is Chicago Our Kind of Town?

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Today in his LA Times column, Steve Lopez takes a look at Chicago--who beat us out for the 2016 Olympics, no less--and wonders if Los Angeles can use the "Windy City" as a "role model" for a better way of living and running a metropolis. He asks three pointed questions of direct comparison:


But why does a city that's under ice half the year have a better system of bike lanes, not to mention a bike-riding mayor, while Villaraigosa has a deputy mayor for transportation who dopes around L.A. in his Hummer? Why has Chicago more aggressively improved full public access to lake and river, two of its greatest natural assets, while L.A. never gets anywhere with river development and didn't have the sense or leadership to build a western rail line all the way to the airport, let alone the beach, despite crippling traffic?

Why was Daley able to take over all of his city's ailing schools while a beaten-back Villaraigosa, after promising something grand, had to settle for a measly few campuses?

Ultimately, Lopez sees the core issue as being how the mayor of each city uses its resources and works to better the lives of their constituents, and introduces a wish to implement "an exchange program in which we trade Villaraigosa for Daley and see what happens." He says we need a leader who can better inspire and muscle Angelenos. But Lopez's questions seem to lead only to more questions, and not real solutions.