Since it’s the time of year for wish-lists, it seems appropriate to put on a red cap and play a little Santa Claus.
If I were St. Nick, here are the presents I would hand out:
• Mayor Ron Littlefield: A legacy. Since being elected mayor of Chattanooga in 2005, Littlefield has had a multitude of ideas. Let’s see, there was buying the water company, building a one-stop homeless shelter, consolidation between the city and Hamilton County (he said he wanted to be the city’s last mayor), developing a regional water and sewer authority, improving the library, buying the water company (again) and rebuilding the Westside with a Purpose Built community. As he heads into the home-stretch of his second and last term, however, none of those things have come to fruition, which kind of pales in comparison to the mayor before him — Bob Corker, who pushed through the 21st Century Waterfront.
• Speaking of Corker, I’d give him more headlines. Tennessee’s junior senator isn’t getting enough attention from the national press these days. His name is only popping up every-other day in stories ranging from the fiscal cliff to Grover Norquist’s no-new-taxes pledge. It seems a shame that nobody is paying attention to what he says and nobody is seeking out his opinion. (Yes, note the sarcasm.)
• Stringer’s Ridge: A dry winter and spring so the ridge, now being sliced up like a monstrous loaf of bread, won’t become a mudslide that blocks Highway 27 and its ongoing expansion. We don’t need to lose any more of the ridge — or the homes on top — to the highway.
• Lake Winnie: To actually achieve the must-discussed-but-never-built water park for the area. Over the last decade, the Times Free Press has run dozens of stories about proposed water parks from East Ridge to Dalton and beyond. But we’re still waiting to get wet. Lake Winnepesaukah’s proposal for a 5-acre water park is the latest, and we’ll see if folks ever get to glide down its seven water slides or lounge in its beach lagoon.
• Hamilton County Schools: iPads for all students. Superintendent Rick Smith wants all students to have an iPad, and educators hope they are the gateways to improved test scores and student achievement. I’m hopeful about raising academic achievement, but I’m certain iPads will improve accuracy on Angry Birds.
• The Gunbarrel Road/Hamilton Place area: A Pottery Barn. Or an Apple store. Or a Trader Joe’s. Or an Anthropologie. Too many people drive to Atlanta or Nashville to Christmas shop. Keep them and their dollars home.
• The Tennessee Vols: A few Southeastern Conference football wins. As a University of Georgia fan, I cannot wish for UT to have an actual winning season, but I do wish for them to have a season better than the last three. After all, when the Vols do well, people want to read about it.
• Gig City: For more people to actually use the fastest citywide Internet service in America. Right now, only a handful of subscribers use the 1-gigabit broadband service, but that’s almost certainly because it costs $350 per month. It’s not like Joe Down the Street can pony up that kind of cash so he can stream Spotify or download the whole season of “The Walking Dead” off Netflix in 0.0001 seconds. So far, the gig’s biggest benefit has been all the positive PR the city has received across the country, including a mention in the New York Times. Hopefully, the system will actually translate into business growth for Chattanooga before another city overtakes us with a faster connection.
• The state of Alabama: Better roads so you don’t feel as if you’re pounding over railroad ties when driving through the state. Oh, and maybe another national championship in football. You won’t catch me shouting “Roll Tide,” but I’d rather see an SEC team win than one from the Midwest.
• Stray and shelter animals: A loving home. My 8-month-old mutt Lincoln, adopted from a Humane Society shelter, is a huge source of joy for my family and is mostly sweet and good. Well, there was that one little incident when he scratched through two layers of Sheetrock between the laundry room and the garage (seriously; I am not making this up), but we all have bad days.
• The readers of the Times Free Press: Health, happiness and safety in 2013. As 2012 comes to a close, be sure to spend some time with the 32-page, all-color Year in Review pages that recap the most-talked-about local stories, photos, cartoons and more. It’s all in today’s paper.
Have a holly jolly Christmas, y’all!
Alison Gerber is the managing editor of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Reach her at email@example.com. Send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.