[This article was featured in the Santa Clarita Valley Signal found here]
Christmas is a time to gather with friends and family. It’s a time to give thanks for all the year’s blessings, and to look to the future with renewed faith and hope.
For the past 33 years, Vanessa and I (eventually with our kids) make our Christmas Eve trek to my parents’ house in Lancaster. On the return home we point to the lights emanating from Mountain High ski resort and convince the kids it is Santa’s sleigh and they better go straight to bed! Part of that tradition is listening to our favorite Amy Grant Christmas CD that includes the song “Grown Up Christmas List.”
While my kids’ days of writing volumes to Saint Nick may be gone, I think we should all still hope and dream during this season. So keeping with that tradition I’ve come up with my very own grown up Christmas list. Rather than write to the jolly old saint from up north, my wishes are directed toward the man in the Governor’s Mansion and his elves in the Legislature.
First, I wish that my colleagues in Sacramento would stop playing political games and simply pass common sense policies to help all the people of our great state, regardless what party the bill’s author belongs to or how their special interest friends tell them to vote.
I wish lawmakers in the majority party understood that two out of every three jobs are created by small business owners and we have to quit crushing their dreams and workers opportunities with oppressive taxes and regulations.
I wish Sacramento would embrace entrepreneurship rather than hinder it. California is the birthplace of Intel, Apple, Amgen, Uber and so many other leaders in technology that have changed our lives. And while entrepreneurs continue to strive for a better world through advances seemingly straight out of science fiction, many legislators continue to favor regulation over innovation.
I wish our representatives would move toward action, rather than lip service, on fixing our roads. Despite paying the highest taxes, we drive on the most dilapidated roads and highways in the nation. If only our elves in the Legislature would work half as hard as Santa's and actually take action to fix our crumbling infrastructure. How nice it would be to wake up Christmas morning to an additional lane on the I-5 freeway or Highway 14.
Speaking of transportation, I wish the failed High Speed Rail project would be abandoned and the billions in funding be dedicated to real improvements to enhance our way of life. New or better roads, water storage or school facilities could be fixed with the money earmarked for Governor Brown’s personal pet project.
I wish every child would have an equal opportunity in education, regardless of their race or zip code. Parents know that every child learns differently. Yet, Sacramento imposes a one-size-fits-all government formula for classroom instruction. We must stand up for equal opportunity in education by giving every parent the right to choose the best school for their child.
Lastly, I wish California would build new infrastructure to manage our water supply. We have been fortunate with recent rainfall, but all the rain in the world won’t solve our drought unless we find ways to capture, store and convey it. In 2014, Californians passed Proposition 1, committing $7.5 billion to water projects. Two years later, not one dollar has been allocated to water storage. Instead it’s been held up by Governor Brown’s California Water Commission. The commission is on the brink of passing new regulations that will cause even further delays in building much needed dams.
So, when Santa embarks on his late night jaunt across the world Saturday evening, I hope he'll cast a moonbeam (pun intended) of hope down on the Golden State and inspire our governor and his little helpers in the Capitol to take some action on these critical issues.
I’ve always loved Christmas, but the best years were when our children were small. Scotty J and Alison would diligently “work” on their Christmas wish list. Nothing gave us greater pleasure on Christmas morning than seeing their eyes open wide when unraveling a gift from Santa that was on their wish list. I sure hope Santa — or Governor Brown for that matter — reads the Signal; it’d be great if just one of my Christmas wishes came true in 2017.