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If Joel Wachs had ever suceeded in becoming Mayor of Los Angeles he says he would have patterned himself after Mayor Bloomberg of New York (unquestionably his favorite Mayor of any large city in the world).
It's fascinating to me that he admires Bloomberg - a man who posseses the very same qualities that he does. Both are highly visible, walk and work among their constituents, both with a plan or vision of growth and improvement and both with the 'cajones' to lead.
We agreed that most politicians in elected office or considering a run these days seem to lack the testicular fortitude to lead. We discussed other great Mayors of our day -- John Lindsay was a near-perfect template. He was a strikingly elegant man who loved his job and was never afraid to try innovation. I confessed to Joel that I had worked on the 'John Lindsay for Mayor of New York' campaign and the most wonderful memory I have was not the victory celebration at Gracie Mansion but the first Sunday when vehicular traffic was halted in Central Park. John and Mary Lindsay headed a caravan of Manhattan bicycle riders of which I was one.
Joel mentioned that Rudy Guiliani was another courageous example of a visionary Mayor -- he cleaned up New York and made it possible for New Yorkers to walk the sidewalks of the city without fear. The tragic effects of 9/11 seem to have brought New Yorkers closer together. Joel mentioned that he has never before witnessed an appreciation for culture and the arts as he has in the past ten years of living in Manhattan. He says, "There are lots of very talented people living in LA but they don't express their enthusiasm and support for the arts the way New Yorkers do".
What does he enjoy most about his new lifestyle? He loves being able to walk everywhere. He has no car and uses public transportation to navigate the city if his destination is too far to walk. He admits to eating out every day and prefers Italian restaurants and steakhouses. For special celebrations his favorite upscale choice is the Michelin three-star Le Bernardin (the awesome French with topnotch seafood dishes).
Is it any wonder that our beloved Joel Wachs leads a charmed life? He is the proverbial Big Fish in a Big Pond. He has a vision, a plan for his life and his work. He has the testicular fortitude to see it through. We still miss him after ten long years and would do anything to get him back! Yes, Studio City (hearts) Joel Wachs.