Happy (it’s a) new year!

No. 18 – Published 12.31.09

My Thoughts, Exactly

By Jim Chase

To be painfully honest, I’ve never been so happy to see the end of any given year as I am the one that ends at midnight tonight. On a scale of one-to-ten, 2009 was a big, fat, zero. The year should’ve had Hoover, Dyson, Kirby and Oreck logos stamped all over it. It was that bad.

On the economic front alone, this year has been like weapons-grade kryptonite to the financial health and well-being of so many businesses and workers, myself included.

And that’s not to mention the more-polarized-than-ever political climate, or the global-warming-record-cooling-cooking-the-numbers “Climate Gate.” Or the Nobel Peace Prize that left the world giggling, the cash-for-clunkers charade, the government takeover of American banking and auto industries and very soon the health care industry, or the Swine, er, H1N1 virus hysteria. Just this week we had a fruit-of-the-loom fanatic/terrorist bomber on no less than two high-alert “watch” lists and yet who was issued official clearance to fly into the heart of our country.

However, because my mom always told me that if I can’t find anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all – what follows is a list of everything that was nice about this past year.

Hold on. I’m still thinking.

Okay, here’s a good thing that came from something not-so-good. When the mega-minds that run the LA Times/Glendale NewsPress decreed that we in the foothills didn’t need our own newspaper, they unceremoniously shut down the Crescenta Valley Sun. That was a bad thing. But then in early September, when intrepid former CV Sun editor, Robin Goldsworthy, marshaled the forces of goodness and light and gave birth to the new Crescenta Valley Weekly newspaper – that was a good thing, indeed. Today, eighteen issues later, enlightened readers across the valley are once more able to get local news with a local point of view each week. With the new year, comes fifty two new opportunities to report, review and react to the news that’s all about how and where we live.

Still focusing on the positive, we (the collective communities of La Cañada/Flintridge, La Crescenta, and Sunland/Tujunga) dodged a very fiery bullet when the Station fire burned itself out at the curbsides of so many of our hillside neighborhoods. Had there been even the slightest wind – as we almost always get in late summer/early fall – the loss of property and even lives could have been both historic and tragic. But it wasn’t, so chalk up another item in the “good” column for 2009.

I can’t help but feel that the runaway truck accident this past year on Angeles Crest Highway, tragic as it was, could have been much worse. What if that driver hadn’t turned his big rig to the left, and instead plowed straight into the Hill Street Café – a place that’s almost always filled with diners any time of day or night?

On a lighter note, are you used to dialing 818 before every local call yet? Neither am I. However, I’m still glad they didn’t force an entirely new area code on us this past year, so I’ll consider it all good. On top of that, we all seem to have made the all-important switch from analog to digital-only TV signal without the world-as-we-know-it falling apart. I gotta tell you, that one had me worried.

So what’s ahead in 2010? You tell me and we’ll both know. I do know this – as much as I hope and pray the new year is less stressful and more prosperous, I also know that it will soon be rushing by us whether or not we’re ready for it. And – God willing – I’ll be here each week to add my two cents worth, poke a few well-deserved holes into local happenings and honchos, and toss around the occasional subversive opinion now and then.

And with that, I’ll wish you and yours a very happy, prosperous and productive New Year. I’ll see you ‘round town.