Really. Look around.
It’s been another tough year, of progress mixed too liberally with disappointments. Santa’s heard it before: recession and economy, jobs and layoffs, unemployment and despair.
But Santa is The Man, the jolly fellow in the red suit who’ll bring merriment and good tidings to our towns on Christmas morning. He can help make 2011 a time of optimism and glee if he’ll wrap these presents and place them under our tree:
Success for the planners of Anniston’s Civil Rights Trail and the spring’s 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders.
Another home for Weaver Mayor Garry Bearden, because two just aren’t enough.
Official YouTube channels and Twitter accounts for Anniston’s city councilmen. (A question: Think Ben Little and John Spain check Mayor Gene Robinson’s YouTube channel and Twitter feed to see what he’s saying about them? Just wonderin’ …)
While you’re at it, Santa, how about a YouTube channel for Oxford Mayor Leon Smith? That’d be good stuff.
A gigantic digital timer for the top floor of the Watermark Tower to count down the days until this version of the Anniston City Council expires. And put it on the west side of the building, so you can see it from Gurnee Avenue.
A sellout — an honest-to-goodness, standing-room-only sellout — for Jacksonville State football next season.
A playoff victory, too.
And an ESPN-worthy win over bowl-bound Kentucky, the Gamecocks’ we’ll-play-you-for-the-money SEC opponent in 2011.
A savior for Pinewood Chapel at McClellan.
Best. Woodstock 5K. Ever. (Yes, Santa, this is the same thing the Woodstock crew wanted last year, but they’re real easy to please, so don’t sweat it.)
An edict against any plan to bulldoze the Anniston City Land Co. building.
A Publix, ’cause it’d make my wife happy.
A Borders, ’cause it’d make me happy.
State championships for a few of our prep basketball teams, ’cause it’d make a lot of people happy. (And, you know, since we didn’t do that well in football this year.)
Comfort for the family of Weaver’s Cody Watson.
The same for the family of Saks’ Kyle Comfort.
Tenants for the empty storefronts that dot Quintard Avenue.
Steps forward for Hobson City.
More work for the Anniston Army Depot.
Calm for Edwardsville.
A public statement by E.D. Phillips.
A bolder, more upfront appearance in civic leadership for those who have the clout and intestinal stamina to give Anniston the guidance it’s lacking from its elected leaders.
A Sam’s Club for Oxford, since Leon Smith and the boys went to all that trouble to clear a spot and grade the land.
Quiet, composed progress at Anniston’s incinerator.
A Music at McClellan return date for The Machine. (You let me down on this one last year, Santa.)
A bang-up year of redevelopment at McClellan.
And a year devoid of frivolous lawsuits and meddling from agenda-driven troublemakers.
A job for Gov. Bob Riley.
Leadership and patience for Gov.-elect Robert Bentley.
Attainable legislative goals for state Sen. Del Marsh.
A productive term for U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers.
Oh, and a thank-you card for the congressman for the shout-out he gave to Auburn QB Cam Newton this week in the House chamber. War Eagle, Mike!
Jobs for northeast Alabama’s soon-to-graduate college seniors.
Tuition relief for northeast Alabama families trying to pay for college.
Health for northeast Alabama’s newborns.
A pick-proof lock on the bank vault where Oxford keeps its $98 million in unreserved revenue. (Questions, Santa: What does a small town do with $98 million? Or, what should it do with it?)
And, Santa, while we’re shopping for Oxford, how about a king-sized tarpaulin to cover that infernal hill?
A drop in unemployment, crime stats, high-school dropout rates and meth production.
A rise in charitable donations, job creation, real-estate sales and examples of exceptional leadership by those in elected offices.
A moratorium on tornadoes.
An end to the behind-the-scenes sniping surrounding Ken Rollins’ suspension from the Veterans of Foreign Wars. It got old a long time ago.
A big thank-you card to the guys toiling away on the Eastern Parkway, uh, I mean the Veterans Memorial Parkway. It’s gonna be great.
Phillip Tutor — firstname.lastname@example.org — is The Star’s commentary editor.