Trifecta: Osama got zapped. Gaddafi got gored. Kim Jong got “il,” really ill.
The Arab spring gave many hope. (Surely, Assad is the next to get the rope.)
The governments of Europe finally acknowledged they’re broke. Our leaders, meanwhile, lived in denial.
The Space Shuttle made its final flight. Congress couldn’t get anything right.
Steve Jobs left the world a better place.
Prince William married Kate. We honored those of 9/11’s fate.
Twisters ripped the Midwest; storms ravaged the South. A mammoth tsunami swept Japan asunder.
Obama pulled us out of Iraq.
America is cheering: Tim Tebow is back.
Closer to home, on Longboat Key, Murf Klauber received some legal reprieve. Bruce St. Denis decided to leave …
Talk about lousy rhyming and writing. But it wasn’t meant to be Pulitzerish. It was more of a snapshot, a reminder of another year of triumphs and tumult here and abroad.
So once again, we’re down to the end. Out with the old, and time to reset. Look ahead to 2012. And wish, hope and pray for the best. Herewith, our wish list for 2012:
• That Europeans see the error of their ways in having governments promise too many entitlements they cannot afford.
• That Israel remains safe.
• That Iran’s nuclear-bomb ambitions are thwarted — by the country’s own citizens overthrowing the tyrannical clerics. (Likewise with Syria’s Assad.)
• That the United States returns to its heritage as the beacon of freedom and prosperity and that we return to the values that made us the leading economic engine of the free world.
• That all of the men and women in the U.S. armed services remain safe and unharmed.
• That Americans awaken to see clearly the difference between two paths of life: liberty vs. the state — good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, freedom vs. servitude.
• That the right candidate is elected to lead the country and reverse the destructive, anti-American agenda of the present administration.
• That the miracle of all miracles occurs: Congress really and truly cuts spending and borrowing.
• That Americans embrace capitalism. But first they must understand it — that it is the reason we have what we have.
• That the Keystone pipeline is built in the United States — without the baseless opposition of the environmental obstructionists.
• That Floridians appreciate Gov. Rick Scott, who is doing the right things for the future of the state and its residents, even though they may be unpopular and offend some special interests.
• That Floridians deliver a resounding rejection of what Barack Obama stands for in the presidential election.
• That Florida voters retire U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. It’s time.
• That Florida’s economy shows surprising growth, leading the nation out its five-year depression and surpassing Texas as the place for business and jobs.
• That we go hurricane-free for a fifth consecutive year.
• That Sarasota and Manatee counties stop poaching each other’s companies by using taxpayer money as incentives. It is lose-lose for both counties.
• That Sarasota and Manatee counties stop corporate-welfare subsidies altogether. Government has no business subsidizing business.
• That the Benderson rowing center at University Parkway and Interstate 75 become what it has the potential to do — become new rocket fuel to expand the region’s tourism and economy beyond beaches and the arts.
• That all sides in the Colony dispute reach a quick, amicable and fair settlement early in the year. We need the Colony back!
• That the Longboat Key Club and Resort receives from the town and courts the “all-clear” for its redevelopment and expansion — including the financing to move forward.
• That in lieu of a solely designated community center at Bayfront Park, the “players-that-be” (Ringling College of Art and Design President Larry Thompson and town commissioners) figure out how to move the Longboat Key Center for the Arts to Bayfront Park in a land swap and create the Ringling College Center for Creativity @ Longboat Key. (Imagine the benefits for Longboat and the region at large.)
• That Publix redevelops its property and all of Longboat hails the results.
• That the Town Commission fixes the town-employee pension plans (i.e. ends the defined benefit plans).
• That the owners of Whitney Plaza and the Longboat Key Hilton Beachfront Resort unveil plans to build a new resort at the Hilton site and attractive residences at Whitney Plaza.
• That the Town Commission hires Interim Town Manager David Bullock as its permanent town manager with the proviso that he also create a succession plan. In this instance, with Bullock appearing to be a three- to five-year manager, it would be better to have a trusted performer in the bullpen than have to do a national search for a stranger who doesn’t know the town.
• That a new technology or new location suddenly emerges that would negate the efforts to erect a cell tower on Longboat Island Chapel’s property.
• That the Sarasota Open tennis tournament and Longboat Key Triathlon continue to grow, attracting more and bigger sponsors and more and bigger (pro) names, adding more to the attractiveness of Longboat Key.
City of Sarasota
• That the fledgling improvement in attitudes toward businesses would take root. Sarasota has suffered from an anti-business, anti-growth attitudes for too long.
• That the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall would become an independent entity, no longer owned and operated by the city of Sarasota. Governments should not own and operate theaters.
• That the city government and commissioners treat St. Armands Circle and downtown for what they are — two of the city’s rare, economic jewels! That means do what it takes to make it easier to draw more shoppers and diners.
• That Gil Waters’ vision of a Vienna-like downtown, complete with a walkover over Tamiami Trail, comes to fruition.
WISHES THAT CAME TRUE, SOMEWHAT TRUE AND SOME THAT DIDN’T
• That our streak continues: A fourth consecutive year of no direct hurricane hits.
• That a definitive, new plan emerges to redevelop/renovate the Colony Beach & Tennis Resort — a plan that includes re-establishing the property as the first-class, elegant but friendly family tennis resort that it once was …
DIDN’T COME TRUE
• That the Longboat Key Club and Resort’s expansion and redevelopment project obtains the approvals to proceed and we actually see the start of construction in 2011.
• That the Federal Reserve Bank quit printing money.
• That the Town Commission has the courage to adopt a strategy that converts the town’s taxpayer-draining employee pension plans to a new system of defined contribution plans. (Commissioners tell us: Stay tuned in 2012.)
• That St. Armands Circle property owners and the city figure out a way to construct a parking garage on St. Armands Circle.
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Correction: Heitlers to net 75 years in April
In its Sept. 18 issue, the Longboat Observer featured Plymouth Harbor resident George Heitler, a lifelong tennis player who has played tennis for most of his 99 years and is a regular at the Longboat Key Public Tennis Center.
Win big in two Observer contests
Starting in October, the Observer will now offer prizes for winners of the weather photo contest, sponsored by Manasota Flooring Inc.
Mar Vista begins dock construction
Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub is on track to have a new dock by the end of October.