Steve Lopez: Who are L.A.'s worst people? Help create a rogues gallery
OK, now that readers have celebrated civic pride by selecting the most admirable Angelenos of all time – congratulations, Vin Scully and Tom Bradley – let's move on to something a little different.
When it comes to dishonorable, immoral and contemptible characters, we have such a rogues gallery in greater Los Angeles, where does one begin?
I'm not sure any other region in the country can match our all-star cast of bigots, crooked business barons and dirty politicians, and let's not forget that walking amongst us are people associated with films such as "Howard the Duck" and "The Hottie and the Nottie," starring Paris Hilton. Hollywood is bound to get a few votes, don't you think?
Under "M" for Murder, we have Hall of Famers like the Hillside Strangler, the Night Stalker, the Freeway Killer and Mr. Helter Skelter himself.
But don't let me influence your vote. Let local historian Joe Scott of the L.A. County district attorney's office do that.
"Frank Shaw," said Scott, nominating as most disreputable Angeleno the L.A. mayor who, in 1938, was recalled in the midst of scandals that fueled the imaginations of Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy.
Nobody beats former LAPD chief William Parker, said author and former Timesman Bill Boyarsky. "He was the most damaging Angeleno of all time" because of his "us-against-them, all-white, anti-minority attitude. That has done more lasting harm to the city than anything."
We've also had more than a few John Birch Society honchos in our midst. And Richard Nixon. And O.J. Simpson.
And let's not forget Cardinal Roger Mahony.
But let me get out of the way and let you have your say.
Who would you put in the Greater L.A. Hall of Shame?
-- Steve Lopez
Photos: Candidates? From left, Frank Shaw, Charles Manson, Richard Nixon, William Parker, Susan Atkins, Richard Ramirez, O.J. Simpson.