AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake In Sacramento, 2005 was a year of ugly power politics, of bitter partisanship and special-interest recalcitrance. State leaders refused to work together to confront the looming crises in pensions and infrastructure, to fix the state’s gerrymandered redistricting system, or confront the systemic problems in public education. Instead of cooperation, we got political war, culminating in an ultimately fruitless special election, in which disgusted voters turned down everything and told the politicians to start doing their jobs. Nonetheless, there were still bright spots. California’s economy continued to rebound, and swelling state revenues wiped out an anticipated budget deficit. But politically, the state of the state is worse today than it was a year ago. Over the past year, most of California’s pressing problems have only grown worse. Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger, once the leading advocate for change, has been greatly diminished, and now labors to restore his credibility in an election year, when the vitriol and partisanship are only likely to increase. But if California’s “year of reform” came to a crashing halt in mid-2005, that’s when Los Angeles’ began in earnest. Fed up with James Hahn’s corrupt brand of politics, his kowtowing to special interests and his utter lack of vision, L.A. voters triumphantly elected Antonio Villaraigosa as mayor in May. With an amazing level of energy and dedication, Villaraigosa then stormed the city, visiting every neighborhood, and securing critical support for the battles that loom ahead. And those battles will be many. Villaraigosa has vowed to stop Hahn’s proposed expansion of Los Angeles International Airport, to end the practice of dumping trash in Sunshine Canyon and to rein in public-employee unions. Just in case that weren’t enough, he’s also committed himself to the most daunting undertaking of all – reforming the Los Angeles Unified School District. At the end of 2005, the prospects for Los Angeles are brighter than they have been in a long, long while. Over the past 12 months, we have witnessed real progress. The long-awaited Orange Line busway in the San Fernando Valley has been an overwhelming success, and the Valley economy is the envy of the region. Even in the sports world, we have seen the continued dominance of USC football, the Angels made the playoffs again and there are encouraging signs that the Dodgers are coming back to life. Of course, L.A. still has its problems, but 2005 was very much a year of reform, or at least a year that carried the promise of reform in the future. Even much of the bad news from Sacramento contained seeds of hope – hope for a housecleaning in the 2006 elections, and hope that Villaraigosa will be a more effective reformer, having learned from Schwarzenegger’s missteps. For all its disappointments, 2005 also included plenty of joys that give us plenty to look forward to in 2006.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Remember “The Year of Reform?” That’s what Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called 2005 last January, back when his public-approval ratings were even bigger than his biceps, and when Sacramento Democrats still cowered in his presence. But the promise didn’t live up to the hype, at least not in Sacramento. In L.A., on the other hand, it was a different story.