In the March issue, Los Angeles kicks off a contest to let readers pick the single greatest thing about Los Angeles. They start with 64 in the magazine, then whittle it down over five months of voting at the website. "In the style of a college basketball March Madness competition, we’ve pitted the 64 Greatest Things in L.A. against each other. Some make sense—the Apple Pan vs. In-n-Out, say—while others are intentionally random, like USC Football vs. The Weather." This round lasts until February 25, then the field of 32 survivors will be announced in the April issue and on the website. The cycle will repeat until they get to a big winner in the August Best of LA issue. They also swear the LAMag.com website is finally getting its act together and will have interactivity and even, yes, blogs later this spring.
Also in the issue: Anonymous on his secret life, and a piece on Avalon and Catalina.
And in The Atlantic: Sandra Tsing Loh continues her seminar on being an involuntary LAUSD parent with media access, this time through a review of Jonathan Kozol's latest book:
In my Los Angeles, everyone agrees that public education is a bombed-out shell, nonnegotiable, impoverished, unaccountable, run in Spanish. I wept over Kozol’s books for years, but I myself am no freedom fighter. If I could have afforded either a $1.3 million house in La Cańada or $40,000 a year to send my two girls to a private school (that is, if we’d gotten into said school; I confess that, even though I described my older daughter as “marvelously inquisitive” when we applied, we were wait-listed) I wouldn’t waste two minutes on social justice. Let them spell cake! (Which is to say, let them spell it “kake.”) We tried to flee to the white suburbs, but we failed, and in failing, we seem to have fallen out of the middle class, because today my daughters attend public school with the urban poor....
f you’d asked me five years ago what ethnic mix in a school would feel “comfortable” for our family (my husband being white, me being a Southern California native of German-Chinese extraction), I would have guessed, if not two-thirds white, or if not half, certainly at least a third—a third whitish English-speaking children, like mine. A third with freckles, striped shirts, and lunch boxes of tuna-fish sandwiches, the totems I myself grew up with in this region in the ’60s. But, as I’ve since learned, in 21st-century Los Angeles, expecting such a relatively high percentage of pale children is statistically unrealistic.