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A teensy little rant brought on by the New York Times

March 3, 2008 |  9:22 am

Nyctraffic1_jvj0qbnc What is it with the New York Times and its L.A. problem? The paper sends a writer to Big Bear, a good two hours away, and the very first words out of the guy's mouth are a cheap shot at L.A. "Smog and gridlock and vanity," he sniffs, before turning his attention to the lovely lake. (And btw, that's New York on the right.)

It's not that he's wrong -- our smog has made us, if not famous, then infamous. It's been making headlines lately, too, but not the way NYT guy implies. California's trying to put a cap on emissions and the Feds want to stop us.

Traffic? Yep, we've got it. And if there's anyone out there who's happy with the pace at which L.A.'s gridlock is being handled, from the city to the state levels, by all means, speak up. I'd love to hear from you.

What really irked me (and this is a newspaper blog so please note the polite "irked" in place of language that would make my very proper French mother blush and my bosses turn a deeper shade of red for another reason entirely) was the bit about vanity.

If you don't get out enough, if you read too many tabloids or watch too much TV, you might think Los Angeles equals Hollywood. But if you know the city at all, you know it's made up of regular people doing their best to make a life. Neighborhoods and  schools and rec centers, small businesses and artists and activists, food lovers, nature lovers, gardeners. Imperfect? You bet. But vain? I argue no. Most of the people who live here don't deserve that kind of lazy slap in the face.

-- Veronique de Turenne

Photo: Associated Press / Richard Drew