Happy New Year to you all! We are in January, and in the wake of this new year, I can hardly believe that we are in 2012. For most people, the New Year represents predictions of what is to come and resolutions to accomplish — once again — what in the past has already proven to be just a bit less than impossible. Losing weight, becoming a millionaire, buying our dream house (or at least the car that we think we deserve), or even sending our job (and our boss) to hell are among the most popular desires expressed every New Year. The most optimistic may think that this is the year when we will start recovering from this seemingly never-ending recession. Others, in agreement with the ancient Aztec culture, predict that this year will be the end of times.

Silvia Uribe

But, for most of us, whatever we think the new year represents, it is for sure a time to renew our commitments, to think big, to dream of all that we want to see happening in our lives, in the lives of our loved ones, and, in general, of what we want to happen around us. No more wars, a lower cost of living, increased living standards, lower unemployment rates, the possibility of a salary increase, a nice vacation for the family, a cleaner environment, and justice for all. The thought alone of the possibility of achieving these wishes gives us the hope of a better, more comfortable, and more enjoyable future.

With this in mind, I did one of my nonscientific surveys and asked random Goleta residents of different ages and occupations, “What’s your wish for Goleta in 2012?” In no particular order, these are the responses they offered me:

A vibrant downtown. A crosstown shuttle stopping every 15 minutes. Better lighting around Cathedral Oaks. Coordinated traffic lights at the Glen Annie overpass. Kmart staying in town. The view of the mountains and agricultural land to not be blocked. A sign telling drivers that there’s a continuous right turn at the southbound on-ramp at Glen Annie. Fewer sexual assaults in Isla Vista and a friendlier I.V. Foot Patrol. Agricultural land to be preserved.

People were not shy in expressing their wishes:

The Goleta Community Center to become City Hall. Another Elephant Bar at the Camino Real Marketplace. No more construction on the Goleta Bluffs by UCSB. Visible signals at the on-ramp of the new Winchester Overpass (which is very dangerous at night). A local newspaper and radio station. For the Hallmark store to stay in Goleta.

Very creative ideas were offered:

For the Kellogg Project to become the “Kellogg Community Sharing Grounds,” where community members can share once or twice a week their own produce, their thoughts, their news, and their concerns, and get to know their neighbors and elected officials on a personal level. The historic gas station at the end of Hollister to be restored for tourists to visit, obtain information, and buy souvenirs. To identify rooms in the city that community members can use free or at low cost for meetings. For City Council to offer Spanish interpreting services at their meetings. To have a space at the airport dedicated to exhibiting memorabilia of the Marine base that once was there. For new constructions to be self-sustainable.

Always present, of course, opposing opinions on some well-known issues like Bishop Ranch and Target.

And the most mentioned wish is one that I would have to agree with: Activities for kids 13-18 years old to do after school and during weekends.

Here we have quite a comprehensive list. And, although I’d say not everything seems possible to accomplish in one year, at least some things seem quite viable.

We’ll see if anyone is listening.

Have a great year my fellow Goletans (or Goletanos)!


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