It's the most wonderful and most awful time of the year. A time for gift-giving, celebrating with friends and peace — if you can avoid the season's unhinged commercialism, parking nightmares and stress. Love it, hate it — or do both simultaneously — 'tis still a time for well-wishing. While you're thinking of friends and family, don't forget our beloved local luminaries — they warrant some consideration, too, you know. So with ambiguous feelings about the season, here is my annual wish list for local newsmakers and notables. It's not likely that many of these wishes will be granted, but — correct me if I'm wrong here — isn't this also the time for believing in miracles?
Governor-elect Pat McCrory Yes, the new guvnah is a pro-business conservative, but while he was mayor of Charlotte, McCrory rarely evinced the full-tilt nuttiness/nastiness of his party's far right wing. But McCrory is beholden to some pretty far-right characters for his successful gubernatorial campaign. So, we wish for Gov.-elect Pat the wisdom to know when his party has crossed the line of angry spitefulness and the courage to temper its extremists and culture warriors.
Paula Broadwell For this Charlotte resident and biographer/love-flame for Gen. David Petraeus, we wish a full year far away from the prying eyes of the FBI — and a copy of What Was I Thinking?: 58 Bad Boyfriend Stories, by Barbara Davilman and Liz Dubelman.
County Commission Chair Pat Cotham Ms. Cotham has years of experience negotiating agreements in the nonprofit and corporate worlds, a quality that should serve her well as head of the historically combative board. We wish her double doses of tact, diplomacy and inner strength for the days ahead. And speaking of challenges for a county commissioner...
County Manager and would-be King Harry Jones It's been one failure after another for King Harry, but his ego is still telling him he's wonderful. After a recent illness, he took up valuable county commission time to pontificate about his spiritual growth, so our wish for His Imperiousness is a long holiday weekend in which he has time to read Humility: True Greatness by Rev. C.J. Mahaney.
Schools Supt. Heath Morrison Charlotte-Mecklenburg public schools' new boss is a hard worker, and we wish him good luck in running such a bloated outfit. Specifically, since students are being prepped to "Bring Your Own Technology" to school, we wish him the foresight to quickly deal with the very real problem of cyber inequality among students. Spreading the use of the Internet in class is a no-brainer. Making sure that poorer students aren't left out is, too.
Cam Newton Yes, he's great, he really is. But without much of a team around him, his mission here is hopeless. Here's wishing Cam good luck down the road with a team that knows how to put together a winner.
Lincoln Harris Vice President Alex Kelly Development company Lincoln Harris' plans to build a drugstore and office building at a busy Dilworth corner were nixed by City Council. Kelly, disturbed by the audacity of a more than 100-year-old neighborhood to expect developers to respect certain architectural standards, let it be known that the company will now go ahead with its original plan, with "none of the softened commercial edges" agreed to in talks with the neighborhood. Here's wishing Mr. Kelly some time off during the holidays to reflect on how much support his Walgreens development will attract, given his asshole-ish insult to an entire neighborhood.
UNC Charlotte We wish our suburban university — which should have been built in town, but that's a long-ago story, so never mind — a hearty welcome to the 21st century, in view of its decision to look into gender-neutral housing, which, among other advantages, would be a major achievement in protecting the welfare of transgender students. We also wish the school success in fighting off the objections sure to come from the usual crew of archaic retreads living in the past.
Rep. Robert Pittenger Lil' Bob, aka The Money Pit or just The Pit, spent more than $2 million of his own money to get a seat in Congress, in the process drawing attention to his history of racking up personal profits from public service. Here's wishing him plenty of opportunities in Washington, D.C., to recoup his campaign expenditures — and fearless reporters to keep tabs on him.
To all of you out there in alternative media-land, thanks for reading and have Happy Holidays, a Merry Christmas and a Happy Merry Everything Else.