From the LA Times Editorial Page:
Los Angeles, the city -- not L.A. the megalopolis or the culture or the state of mind, but Los Angeles, the incorporated municipality -- seems perpetually unable to figure out what it is, what it should be and where it is going. Civic boosters clamor for a place on the world stage and call for sweeping programs to enhance its glamour. What, after all, is the point of being such a large city if its clout and spotlight can't be put to use to make a positive mark on history? Yet many residents, especially those who have spent most of their lives here, often want simply to be left alone, and want their government to keep them safe and hold wrenching change at bay without raising their costs of living. What's the point, after all, of moving here and investing in a home if the quality of life and the opportunities are going to be no different than they were in the crowded, expensive cities they left?
Those who aspire to civic greatness and those who aspire to backyard barbecues have this in common: They seem perpetually disappointed in Los Angeles. Each blames the other for the wrong vision, but the source of their discontent is probably something more prosaic. Los Angeles, the municipality, is poorly managed.