In the hope of a 2009 we can all be proud of, here are some things I would like to see other people do
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I was going to do New Year's resolutions this week. I got started: turn the cell phone volume down when the kids are in the car and Aaron Peskin is on the line. ("That man sure does like to use the f-word when he talks about PG&E," my nine-year old noted this fall.) Stop shouting "Yo, asshole!" when cars come too close to my bicycle. (I know I can be way more creative and foul-mouthed than that.) Return Gavin Newsom's phone calls. (Hey, the poor guy must be lonely.)
But really, it's not all about me.
So instead, in honor of the end of the Bush Years and in the hope of a 2009 we can all be proud of, here are some things I would like to see other people do:
I would like to see the California Legislature and US Congress raise the gas tax enough to bring the price to about $3 a gallon, making sure SUVs remain unattractive forever.
I would like to see the new progressives on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors make open government a real priority; I would like to stop having to fight to get even routine information out of City Hall. I would like everyone in public office to read Bob Herbert's column in Dec. 27's The New York Times and understand that one reason FDR was successful with the New Deal was that he understood the importance of restoring faith in government; transparency, accountability, and oversight were a central part of the package.
I would like Anchor Steam to start making a light beer.
I would like someone to get Wi-fi installed at City Hall.
I would like Gavin Newsom to stop hiding behind Nathan Ballard.
I would like the right lane of the stretch of I-80 near Lake Tahoe repaved so those of us with small cars don't get bounced up and down like ping pong balls.
I would like the federal drinking age lowered to 18.
I would like everyone to stop talking about the death of newspapers and stop pretending that blogs and citizen journalism can ever replace full-time trained reporters.
I would like the San Francisco police to stop turning immigrants over to the feds.
I would like the executive editor of Village Voice Media to shave his head, move to Tibet, become a monk, and accept the karmic implications of the way he's lived his life.
I would like the state to tax the millionaires instead of the college students.
I would like some really rich person to die and leave $20 million for a public power campaign so that for once we could match Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s money and have a fair fight.
I would like Barack Obama to appoint Arnold Schwarzenegger ambassador to some meaningless country so we can have a new governor.
I would like Newsom to liquidate his personal fortune and use the money to pay rent and grocery bills for the front-line city workers he's laying off.
I would like the Catholic archbishop of San Francisco to quit the gay-hating.
I would like all my fellow dog owners to clean up the poo on the sidewalk.
I would like to be able to ride high-speed rail to Los Angeles before I start collecting Social Security. Happy New Year.