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A Christmas list for local newsmakers 

Boomer's annual wish list

Love it or hate it or both, the Christmas season is a time for making wishes. Too often, we make impossible-to-fulfill wishes, but hey, that's part of the season, too. With that in mind, here is my annual wish list for local newsmakers and notables. Like they say, this is the time of year for believing in miracles.

For Gov. Pat McCrory: In Raleigh, the effective compromiser we saw in Charlotte turned into His Irrelevance. When Tea Party nuts took over the legislature, they left GuvPat time for cutting ribbons, compiling an impressive list of verbal gaffes, and rewarding his cronies with big fat overpaid jobs — most notably Aldona Wos, a fundraiser he named to head the Department of Health and Human Services. McCrory swore Wos would quickly get the department in order, but months later, nothing she has done has worked and her new Medicaid-payment system is a flop. We wish for McCrory both the wisdom to ditch Wos and budget chainsaw overseer Art Pope, and to tell the ignoramuses running the General Assembly that they're hurting the state.

For N.C. Public School Teachers: Some of the most dedicated, hardest-working and most important people in this city took it on the chin this year from the geniuses in Raleigh, and consequently many of them are leaving. Here's wishing our teachers an enormous raise from a legislature and governor that are having second thoughts. Failing that, we wish the teachers new jobs, preferably in higher-paying Jersey, New York or Connecticut, where they know how valuable teachers really are.

For the Charlotte Hornets and the Carolina Panthers: For our new old basketball team, or maybe it's our old new team, and for the city's suddenly not-so-dull pro footballers, we wish championships in their respective sports within a couple of years.

For Mayor Patrick Cannon: To say the city establishment evinces a dearth of enthusiasm for Cannon as mayor is an understatement. And no wonder; as mayor pro tem, Cannon spent too much time in office as a peripheral figure who was short on imagination, timid in his proposals, making money off contracts with the city, and too hesitant to upset the uptown business community. Maybe he'll be our Chester Arthur. Arthur was a former bag man for a corrupt political boss but became president when President James Garfield was assassinated in 1881. To everyone's surprise, Arthur became a competent, morally upright chief executive who cleaned up the corrupt patronage system in D.C. For Christmas, then, we wish Cannon a case of Chester Arthur Syndrome.

For Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners: New chairwoman Pat Cotham did the county a big favor by canning the arrogant, mildly competent county manager Harry Jones. Sadly, Cotham p.o.'d enough people with her assertive style — including the also arrogant and mildly competent commissioner George Dunlap — to be dumped as chair by her fellow Democrats. For Cotham, we wish a copy of Say This, Not That! by Dave Durand; and for the rest of the board, we wish the gift of knowing a good thing when you've got it.

For Councilwoman Claire Fallon: The feisty Fallon is perceptive, outspoken and the proud owner of a first-rate b.s. detector. No wonder the uptown suits consider her a nuisance. When a newspaper article mentioned Fallon's distinct New York accent, readers either condemned the paper for bringing it up, or blasted all "them damn Yankees" who've moved here. This holiday, we wish Fallon a successful second term on council and the chutzpah to tell any critics of her speech, "Hey, I gotcha accent, right he-ah!"

For UNC-Charlotte's football team: The school has really hit the big time now, with a football team perfectly capable of beating the dickens out of some of the worst college teams in the country. Otherwise, it's still a work in progress. Here's wishing that next season the team will be as exciting as its nifty new marching band.

For U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx: Mayor Streetcar went to Washington and has largely stayed out of Charlotte-related issues in his new post. We wish for Foxx the political skills to funnel tons of federal public transportation money our way. And while he's at it, maybe he could get the slackers who've been fixing I-85 north of Mallard Creek Road for, oh, 50 years, to get the lead out.

For American Airlines: After swallowing up US Airways in the biggest merger in U.S. airlines history, American Airlines no doubt wants to give at least the appearance of wishing to be a valued player in Charlotte. In order for AA to make a grand first impression, we wish the airline gains the foresight to unilaterally lower its passengers' ticket prices by at least one-third.

To all those who pick up the paper and/or see us online, thanks for reading and have Happy Holidays, a Merry Christmas and a Happy Merry Everything Else.

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  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
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