OK, new year, fresh start. It’s the dawn of 2014 and all things seem possible. Here’s our list of headlines we’d like to see over the coming 12 months – some, admittedly, more likely than others:
JANUARY. State to take over persistently failing school districts. In his annual State of the State address, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo follows through on his pledge to impose a “death sentence” on schools that chronically fail their students, announcing a plan to wrest control from local school boards that can’t do the job.
FEBRUARY. Collins draws primary challenge. A wealthy Republican announces a primary election challenge to Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence. Collins barely won the overwhelmingly Republican district against Democrat Kathleen Hochul in 2012 and, given that level of skepticism, voters should be given the opportunity to register their opinion on his term in office via a campaign against someone able to match Collins’ personal wealth.
MARCH. Spring reaches Western New York – on time. The vernal equinox arrives on March 20. For the rest of the year, possibly excepting December, it doesn’t snow. Immediately, there are tulips.
APRIL. State legislators crack down on themselves. With the state budget safely passed before the April 1 deadline, lawmakers turn seriously toward the matter of each chamber’s reputation for tolerating unethical practices and even outright dishonesty. The Senate and Assembly pass, and Cuomo signs, legislation that cracks down on such behavior and moves, through campaign finance reform, to discourage it.
MAY. A new day for Buffalo schools. Elections for the Buffalo School Board produce a new majority that is dissatisfied with the slow pace of improvement and determined to inject sorely needed professionalism into the school district’s operations. In a related issue, Carl Paladino sends no emails.
JUNE. Buffalo enjoys a perfect month. There is enough rain for the flowers and farmers, but it comes at night to keep golfers happy. Mainly there are blue skies, warm breezes and a long, lingering, blissful summer. No one complains about anything. (Note: June arrives in just 151 days.)
JULY. Independence Day reaffirmed. The nation celebrates its 238th birthday by recommitting to the idea that in a vast and diverse land, no one gets his own way all the time. The need for rational, if sometimes painful, compromise is reaffirmed as the only way to govern a large democracy.
AUGUST. Candidates play nice. As the November elections approach, candidates for Congress, governor and the State Legislature forswear offensive advertising and agree that the best thing to do is treat voters as though they had a brain. In an unrelated development, scientists discover the moon really is made of cheese.
SEPTEMBER. NFL season starts. The Buffalo Bills begin a new season in fine style, winning every game and persuading fans the team is finally on the way to the Super Bowl. (Hope springs eternal.)
OCTOBER. NHL season starts. The Buffalo Sabres begin a new season in fine style, winning every game and persuading fans the team is finally on the way to the Stanley Cup. (Hope springs eternal, part two.)
NOVEMBER. Christmas stays away. There are no Christmas decorations in any stores and no Christmas music on the radio until the day after Thanksgiving. That would be a miracle, but so are the November elections. Voters speak and politicians obey. That’s something to be thankful for.
DECEMBER. Buffalo continues to grow. Buffalo celebrates another year of its revival, as residents and visitors flock to the city waterfront, the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus continues its expansion and new projects keep the momentum going into 2015, which will be here soon enough.
For today, though, Happy New Year. Here’s hoping 2014 is one we all want to remember.