Editorial: The Tribune has hopes for SLO County in 2011

To paraphrase the Rolling Stones, we can’t always get what we want — particularly in a lousy economy.

It’s also true that it doesn’t hurt to ask, and in that spirit, we present our list of hopes and wishes for 2011. Some items are new, others are carryovers from last year’s wish list, but we believe each one would improve our quality of life in San Luis Obispo County.

In no particular order, here are some headlines we hope to bring you in 2011:

The economy improves at every level — global, national, state and local — and viable safeguards are put in place to prevent similar meltdowns in the future.

There is a new era of bipartisanship nationally and in Sacramento.

The United States makes meaningful progress in Afghanistan — and we don’t have to write a single obituary for a local son or daughter killed in action.

Under the leadership of Gov. Jerry Brown, California stops passing smoke-and-mirrors budgets — even if that means forcing Californians to choose between higher taxes and reduced services.

Local government agencies and economic development organizations partner up to bring more jobs to San Luis Obispo County — both by attracting new business and clean industry and helping existing business to thrive.

Business at the San Luis Obispo Airport takes off, and we never again have to listen to cockamamie theories about shutting it down and turning Santa Maria into a regional airport.

Solar power gains ground in San Luis Obispo County. That includes approving the Carrizo Plain commercial projects, as well as making rooftop solar attractive and affordable enough to be a feasible alternative for a substantial number of homeowners and small businesses.

Cuesta College satisfies the state’s accreditation commission, and is taken off probation. We also recycle a wish from last year — that Cuesta hires a top-notch permanent president to lead the institution through the current decade.

No more teachers are laid off.

Every high school in San Luis Obispo County boasts of a 100 percent graduation rate.

Improvements to Highway 46 are completed on time — or better yet, early — transforming North County’s infamous “Blood Alley” into a safe highway.

State and county agencies find an effective way to curb particulate pollution linked to off-roading at the Oceano Dunes — allowing residents of the Nipomo Mesa to breathe easier.

Substantial progress is made on expanding the women’s jail.

Ditto for the homeless center in San Luis Obispo.

Every community in San Luis Obispo County has a dog park. In Paso Robles’ case, city officials relent and allow leashed dogs in all city parks.

Housing prices stabilize throughout San Luis Obispo County.

Gas is less than $3 per gallon.

Motorists hang up their cell phones, quit texting and drive.

The miniscule minority of Los Osos residents still fighting the sewer project cease and desist their efforts to stop the project.

All government agencies make significant progress toward pension reform. Start by following San Luis Obispo County’s example in adopting two-tier systems.

The pigeons of Pismo fly the coop — for good.

No young person dies from binge drinking.

We stop arguing over whether global warming is real and get serious about switching to clean energy.