At last a little outside-the-box thinking in this dullest of mayoral campaigns. It came during last night's hour-long debate when City Councilman Eric Garcetti suggested offering a $1 million prize to anyone who could offer the best solutions to L.A.'s traffic problems (I'm told he would raise the money privately). His idea comes from Netflix, which offered $1 million for anyone devising an improved algorithm for recommending movies to subscribers. Certainly Google has no shortage of software engineers who can take the city's formidable system of sensors and develop novel suggestions that have yet to be tried - and which might actually work. Not that Garcetti's idea stands much of a chance among the neanderthals at City Hall who would question the need to pay $1 million to some techie when in, oh, 83 years or so the city can extend its skeletal subway system to Westwood! But at least Garcetti brought it up, and at least it will stir a bit of interest. Perhaps there's still time for substantive debate about issues that really matter.
More by Mark Lacter:American-US Air settlement with DOJ includes small tweak at LAX
Socal housing market going nowhere fast
Amazon keeps pushing for faster L.A. delivery
Another rugged quarter for Tribune Co. papers
How does Stanford compete with the big boys?
Those awful infographics that promise to explain and only distort
Best to low-ball today's employment report
Further fallout from airport shootings
Crazy opening for Twitter*
Should Twitter be valued at $18 billion?
Recent Campaign 2013 stories:Shallman and Carrick on 'Which Way, LA?' tonight
Greuel consultant blames the LA Times
Morning Buzz: Friday 5.24.13
Campaign 2013 photo gallery by Gary Leonard
Election post-mortem in quotes (some very pointed)
Previous story: Grauman's Chinese Theatre to go IMAX
New at LA Observed
On the Politics Page
Go to Politics
Sign up for daily email from LA Observed