Posted by: Lisa Pampuch | December 18, 2002

Santa’s being good to Democrats this year

My goodness, Santa’s been busy and it’s not even Christmas Eve. Apparently Democrats have been very, very good, because ol’ Saint Nick’s been sending lots of gifts their way.

First, Republican Trent Lott, set to become Senate Majority Leader in a few weeks, spectacularly stuck his foot in his mouth and can’t seem to get it out. Of course, the fact that his name is perfect for headlines along the lines of “Whole Lott of Trouble” and “Needed a Lott Less” hasn’t helped his situation any.

No matter what happens next – Lott resigns as majority leader and the Republicans deal with a sudden change in leadership, or Lott stays and is ineffective – Democrats seem to come out ahead.

Then, despite President Bush’s heavy campaigning, Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu won a run-off election for a second term, holding the GOP’s lead in the upper house of Congress to a razor-thin 51 to 49 votes.

Finally, Al Gore decided not to run for the presidency in 2004. With his high post-Sept. 11 approval ratings, President Bush will be hard for any candidate to beat. The fact that Gore, with a decision that likely means he will never be president, was able to let go of his achingly narrow defeat in the 2000 election and opt for the greater good of his party means Democrats have a shot – albeit a long one – at the White House in two years.

Now, compared to Washington, D.C. Democrats, those of us in South County have been positively angelic. So, Santa, here’s my list of wishes for south Santa Clara County this holiday season:

• I wish that Union Pacific would allow greatly expanded Caltrain service to South County. We’re already the poor stepsister when it comes to mass transit in the Bay Area; we don’t need the added disadvantage of the strict limits UP reportedly sets on the number of trains Caltrain can send to and from South County for its weary commuters, students, shoppers and sports fans.

• I wish Deena Luce of Forum Club fame would find a copy of “Business Licenses for Dummies” next to the lump of coal in her stocking this year.

• I wish for a new public high school in Morgan Hill by the time my son, now half way through sixth grade, is in ninth grade. Given all the brouhaha surrounding every attempt at forward motion on the Sobrato High School project, I have my doubts.

• I wish for Gilroy to find a way to revitalize its downtown. Having twice missed the RDA boat, Gilroy needs some creative, out-of-the-box thinking to pump life into its sorely neglected city center.

• I wish for sit-down restaurants at the two long-empty pads reserved for them at the northwest corner of Cochrane and U.S. 101. Surely South County and the thousands of commuters and travelers who pass through can support two non-fast-food eateries at this outstanding freeway location. And, Santa, if you want to make me really happy, please let one of them be a decent steakhouse.

• I wish for long-term success for Bonfante Gardes. If that means adding a few thrill-a-minute rides, so be it. It would be nothing short of tragic if the park’s beautiful location and spectacular gardens and all the hard work of so many people went to waste.

• I wish for the flood prevention work on Little Llagas Creek – delayed by decades – to finally be completed through Morgan Hill. I mean, how long does a city have to wait?

• I wish for Prop. 14 grants for Morgan Hill and Gilroy in the second round of funding next spring. Communities with such high percentages of the population living in poverty should top the list for grant-makers. We need to replace our overcrowded facilities with libraries that can bring the joy enlightenment of reading – for free – to everyone in our communities.

• I wish that the mess the state legislature made of redistricting will be cleaned up by Morgan Hill’s lawsuit. The city is challenging the ridiculous lines drawn by legislators who apparently had political victories instead of the best interests of Morgan Hill, San Martin and Gilroy in mind. Shame on them, and let’s hope a judge will tell them to make it right.

I’m sure if Santa checks his list, he’ll find the hardworking, long-suffering people of South County deserve at least these wishes. They’re not the kind of gifts Santa typically carries in the back of his sleigh, but neither are the presents he’s been bestowing on Democrats lately. Surely the people of South County are at least as deserving.

I’m counting on you, Santa.

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