Editorial: We’ve got a few wishes for a new and better year

Finally, we can slam the door on 2009. While we’re at it, let’s lock it tight and throw away the key, because much of what happened is better forgotten.

Between home foreclosures, rising unemployment and crooked investment schemes, we had more than our share of financial misery. On top of that, we sank to new lows in snarky partisan bickering, came close to seeing any chance at meaningful health care reform hijacked, continued to hem and haw over what to do about global warming, and in California, increased college tuition to the point that left many families wondering whether higher education is an impossible dream.

And as a fitting coda to an already rotten year, we saw one of our legitimate heroes and role models — Tiger Woods — undone by a sleazy sex scandal.

We say it’s time to cut our losses, move on and welcome in a new year. In that spirit, here, in no particular order, are our wishes for 2010:

As the economy recovers, we all learn from our mistakes. If we can’t afford million-dollar homes or $1,500 Prada handbags, we don’t buy them. A special note to lenders: Don’t be so foolish as to offer us credit for luxuries that are obviously beyond our means.

We elect a governor with the fortitude and smarts to lead California out of its current fiscal mess. As a further fix for our beleaguered state, we revise term limits for legislators and do away with the ridiculous two-thirds majority vote required for budget passage.

The Legislature appoints Abel Maldonado as lieutenant governor. He’s up to the job, and more to the point, lawmakers have more important things to do than engage in a drawn-out partisan battle over a position that’s mainly there to support the governor and has little overarching power.

We demand state officials stop spending so much on prisons and start spending more on education.

Our state parks stay open.

Closer to home, the feud between Dan De Vaul and San Luis Obispo County finally comes to an end, so Sunny Acres can become a safe — and licensed — haven for the homeless.

Paso Robles comes up with an equitable water rate structure — one that will please even the John Borsts of the world.

We call a moratorium on sex scandals involving local public officials.

Cal Poly students learn that they don’t have to drink themselves into stupors — and urinate on neighbors’ front lawns — to have fun. (And yes, we recognize that Cal Poly students aren’t the only offenders. But we think that’s a good place to begin.)

Cal Poly and Cuesta hire top-notch presidents to lead the institutions into the next decade, starting with restoration of programs and positions lost to budget cuts.

Ditto for San Luis Obispo County in hiring a permanent replacement for former CEO David Edge.

New San Luis Obispo City Manager Katie Lichtig has the full support of the community and city staff and is able to help lead the city out of the economic doldrums.

We never hear the words “swine flu” again.

We don’t have to cringe every time new unemployment figures are released.

The race for county sheriff is civil and instructive, and it leads to the election of a sheriff who will restore public confidence in a department battered by scandals.

There are no fatal off-road vehicle accidents on the Oceano Dunes.

The Los Osos sewer project moves forward without delay, and the county qualifies for funding that will make the project reasonably affordable to all Los Osos residents.

We learn to keep our cell phone conversations private. While we’re shopping for groceries, we really don’t care to overhear what the doctor said about your condition or why you’re breaking up with your *%!# boyfriend.

No adoptable animals have to be euthanized because we’ve run out of room in our shelters.

San Luis Obispo’s Target and Chinatown projects and a scaled-down Wal-Mart in Atascadero finally break ground. And if it’s not too much to ask, can San Luis Obispo get serious about attracting a bona fide, full-service department store?

Solar projects proposed for the Carrisa Plains move forward. They are good for the economy and, more important, good for the environment.

We stop Tweeting about what we ate for lunch and what color shoes we’re wearing.

We aren’t greedy, but we would like to see a decent amount of rainfall.

Finally, one wish that we know is a sure bet: County residents continue to show the commitment, caring and compassion evidenced by the number of people who turned out on New Year’s Day to search for missing 74-year-old George Carpenter.