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Who are L.A.'s greatest? Give us some suggestions

January 12, 2010 | 10:05 am

Pardon me, but I'm stumped and I need your help.

A reader and adult-ed teacher named Tim Adams has just suggested a reader poll on "the most admirable Angelenos of all time."

Sure, a few people come to mind. Father Greg Boyle, for one. Philanthropist Dorothy Chandler, for sure. Peter Ueberroth?

But to be honest, I can think of far more contemptible people in Los Angeles history, and maybe next time we'll assemble a list of all-star carpetbaggers, hooligans and knaves. But today, I'm asking readers to nominate the region's all-time best do-gooders, mensches and sweethearts.

Adams told me he got the idea for a reader poll while reading former Times reporter Cecilia Rasmussen's book, "L.A. Unconventional." He said he was inspired by stories on Biddy Mason (a 19th-century slave who moved west and worked her way up to land owner and philanthropist) and Mother Cabrini (who started an orphanage, was a patron to immigrants and became the first U.S. citizen named as a Roman Catholic saint), among many others.

So I'll put down Mason and Cabrini as the first two nominees, and with that, the polls are open. Leave your vote in the comments below.

-- Steve Lopez