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Santa, bring some coal for the legislature
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Dear Santa,

I’ve tried to be a good boy for the past year.

I’ve paid my taxes on time, spent most of my money in town and gave when I could to help Manteca charities.

I ripped out the front lawn and planted 108 shrubs in a bid to reduce water use and didn’t kill any gophers this year although it wasn’t for want of trying.

I kept my PG&E bill under $30 a month even though it meant being a tad uncomfortable on some summer days and a bit cold occasionally in the winter. Given all this, I was wondering if you could just give Manteca and other cities a break by making sure the 120 Grinches up in Sacramento don’t steal any more local revenue.

But I’m sure it is too big of an order even for a guy who can deliver toys and presents worldwide in just one night to get everyone in the California Legislature to make nice and work together instead of being naughty and shirking their responsibilities. I know you’re good but you’re not that good.

That’s why I’d settle for just the following Christmas list for others:

For low-income seniors struggling to make ends meet, please speed up the building of the 72-unit Affirmed Housing subsidized senior apartments on North Main Street and convince the council to start planning for more units now.

For hardworking city employees, please make sure the council is able to find a ways to generate revenue and keep costs down so they won’t have to worry about whether they have a job when 2011 rolls around.

For those who care about Manteca’s central district, please find a way to get everyone to work together and put personal agendas aside so downtown can become more vibrant as the community grows.

For the Manteca Chamber of Commerce and faithful coordinator Les Thomas, please deliver them the support of the community to make sure each of the 2,400 American flags they have will wave along various major streets during national holidays.

For Mike Atherton and his partners please help them secure the first employer for Austin Road Business Park so they can start nurturing an even bigger employment center than  Spreckels Park for the betterment of Manteca’s economy.

For Cottage Way residents, please find a way to slow down those who use the street as if it were a practice strip for aspiring Indy 500 drivers.

For John Harris, please bring him a high speed ACE train set to improve the good work he started while working on the rail commission.

For Jack Snyder, help him find enough unselfish volunteers to join the ranks of Seniors Helping Area Residents and Police to make our sworn officers job load lighter so they can tend to the big needs and not always sweat the small details such as traffic control.

 For those who have been patiently waiting 12 plus years for the expansion of Library Park, please make sure it gets done in 2010.

For City Manager Steve Pinkerton, please give him the patience of Job and the wisdom of Solomon in dealing with these challenging economic times to find ways to keep municipal service levels intact as much as possible.

For Manteca pedestrians, please keep drivers alert at all times and make sure those on foot use caution with every step they take.

For the hundreds of struggling students needing mentors, please convince an equal number of tutors to volunteer to help them through Give Every Child a Chance.

For Alex Hildebrand, please help others in the perennial California water wars understand the need to start working together to avoid major disasters for our great-grandchildren when it comes to having enough water in the summer and dealing with too much in the winter.

I could keep asking for more, Santa, but you get the drift.

If you’re forced to ground your high-flying flights and use ground transportation instead this Christmas Eve, avoid Main Street at about 5 p.m. because the trains and the traffic can create a back-up that might prevent you from making your appointed rounds on time.

I’ll leave you some milk from Manteca dairies and cookies from Burgess Bakery in Ripon.

Santa, have a Merry Christmas and watch out for those skaters shooting off the sidewalks along Center Street. They might just slam into the side of your sleigh.

P.S. Don’t forget to bring some coal for the California Legislature.