Los Angeles has given me many reasons to be grateful this Thanksgiving.

* I am thankful I live in a city where the penalty for smoking in public is increasingly as harsh as the penalty for committing murder.

* I am thankful Los Angeles County officials finally corralled Reggie the alligator, and I hope that one day the federal government devotes half as many resources to capturing Osama bin Laden.

* I am thankful city planning officials approved 250-square-foot living units because New York has them, and I eagerly anticipate the importation of millions of rats for the same reason.

* I am thankful as a member of the Writers Guild of America that I may engage in a protracted strike so that the "Bionic Woman" scribes can split 6 cents every time their show is streamed online.

* I am thankful I live in a city that provides for its downtrodden and homeless by allowing them to pose for photos on Hollywood Boulevard dressed as superheroes.

* I am thankful that if I ever succumb to the malefic lures of alcohol or drug abuse, there are approximately 118 rehab centers within walking distance of my Malibu condo.

* I am thankful County Supervisor Yvonne B. Burke has not yet appeared on "MTV Cribs."

* I am thankful the Oakwood Apartments did not combust in the Hollywood Hills inferno last spring because that would have put a million divorcees and child starlets out on the streets.

* I am thankful for being a rose-colored-glasses type, so I can view it this way: LAX screeners caught 25% of the fake bombs smuggled into the airport.

* I am thankful I stopped carpooling with Nicole Richie and Michelle Delgadillo.

* I am thankful for the sheer adventure of living in a city that routinely shuts down major freeways to film denture commercials.

* I am thankful for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's plan to blanket all 498 square miles of the city with wireless Internet access by 2009, because this gives me hope that the city may mend the pothole in front of my house sometime around 2012.

* I am thankful we have a TV journalist, Villaraigosa paramour Mirthala Salinas, who can enlighten the electorate on whether the majority of California's male Latino politicians prefer boxers or briefs.

* I am thankful to live in a place where our City Council doesn't squander time on local minutia and instead debates the seminal issues: Iraq, Darfur, global warming and, probably soon, the endangerment of the humphead parrotfish.

* I am thankful this city is so responsive to the plight of the mentally ill that police habitually give them free rides to skid row.

* I am thankful Hal Fishman didn't live to see a local newscast last week in which the lead story was about "Dancing With the Stars."

* I am thankful I finally found a house I could afford in Los Angeles even if it was parked on the Hollywood Freeway.

* I am thankful we have enough homes for sale in Los Angeles County to last us until about the time we're ready to colonize Mars.

* I am thankful nearly every newspaper and magazine in Los Angeles covers the downtown residential scene so thoroughly, as I am learning so much about the 11 people who dwell there.

* I am thankful not to be the prostitute toiling for madam Jody "Babydol" Gibson who allegedly serviced Tommy Lasorda, when her co-worker purportedly drew Bruce Willis.

* And this year, as every year, I am most thankful for my health, because after paying the proposed DWP rate hikes, phone tax and the raises for the City Council, I will be unable to afford medical insurance.

Brad Dickson is a former writer for "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and the coauthor of "Race You to the Fountain of Youth."