Our View: The crystal ball says 2014 will be fun in the Modesto region

December 31, 2013 

2drone crystal ball

LAURIE MCADAM — lmcadam@modbee.com

Today is the start of an entirely new year, a fresh canvas on which we can paint the future.

There is no way to tell what that future will look like. But when we asked members of our editorial board to peer into the short term, they came up with a great many, uh, interesting scenarios. Some are plausible and a few make either too little or too much sense to happen. Mostly, though, our editors had fun with this exercise. If you have any predictions you’d like to share, head for modbee.com/opinions or send us a letter. We’d love your input.

If you’re keeping score, we asked each editor to attach her or his name to each prediction. Eric Johnston is our publisher and president; Mike Dunbar is the editor of the Opinions pages; Pamela Clemensen, Lori Coleman, Tim Glidewell, Richard Haratani and Mike Noordeweir are incoming or outgoing visiting editors.

EAT WELL … – Modesto will boast a gourmet restaurant that serves fresh, locally grown, sustainable fare that is reasonably priced and served on real tablecloths. It will use no sugar, butter, cream or excess salt, yet the cuisine will be tasty, delicious and healthy. Modestans will start living longer and feeling better. – Pamela Clemensen

... OR EAT CHEAP – McDonald’s will add 40 new items to its dollar menu because that is all the people in the Valley can afford. – Mike Noordewier

COUNTY, HEAL THYSELF – Unlike the Measure X debacle, increasing public awareness of the need for Stanislaus County to become a “self-help” county will inspire local cities to work together for a common, beneficial goal on a 2014 ballot. Hello, Turlock … can you hear us? – Eric Johnston

HE’S A LUMBERJACK – After losing in 2014, Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, will be sighted by his campfire while working in his new job as a scorched timber harvester. – Richard Haratani

CHAMPIONS – Central Catholic’s football team will win a third state championship and second in a row. Oakdale High, not to be outdone, will do what it does best – win a 14th consecutive Stanislaus County Academic Decathlon title, then make the final three in the state competition. – Mike Dunbar

EVEN PLAYING FIELD – The San Francisco Giants will repeat their established pattern, claiming yet another World Series banner during this even-numbered year! – Lori Coleman

CLOSE ENOUGH – Baseball umpires will settle on a standard strike zone that includes having the ball cross the plate, allowing hitters to focus more on who is on the mound and less on who is calling balls and strikes. – Tim Glidwell

PERFECT GAME – Modesto Mayor Garrad Marsh will roll three perfect games at his bowling center; he won’t be so lucky on the City Council, leaving a “cocked hat split” on half the issues. – Mike Dunbar

AND A-WHEY WE GO – In the home of the Cheese & Wine Fair, the Riverbank City Council will have a vintage year, working harmoniously for the betterment of the city. – Pamela Clemensen

PRESIDENT SLICK – Hillary Clinton will announce her run for the 2016 presidency, earning her the nickname “Slick Hilly.” – Mike Noordewier

TOPPLED TOWER – The next time Joe Sheley pitches in to do the dishes at a Turlock community event, he’ll break a few – just as he is breaking the image of an ivory-tower-ensconced college president at CSU Stanislaus. – Mike Dunbar

MOTHER NATURE’S CAPRICE – Following a nonexistent winter rain season, the spring months will unleash torrential downpours, wreaking havoc on our valley’s rich agricultural commodities … as well as weddings and graduations. – Lori Coleman

HELP FROM ABOVE – If any driver is on a cellphone or has a car radio thudding, a drone will detect it immediately and swoop down with a citation, simultaneously confiscating the device. – Pamela Clemensen

BEST SHOW IN TOWN – With a new crop of City Council members, the coming year has the potential for some good, and unexpected, fireworks. We’re anxious to see what Kenoyer, Madrigal and Zoslocki bring to the dais – and to the city. – Eric Johnston

TROUBLE BREWING – The tea party will lose much of its financial backing so it won’t even be able to afford tea bags – so the new name will be the Hot Water Party. – Mike Noordewier

CIVIL SOCIETY – The seeds planted by the Stanislaus County Department of Education’s “Choose Civility” campaign will continue to sprout as citizens reach out to others in a spirit of humility, kindness, respect, honesty, generosity and responsibility. – Lori Coleman

AIR WARS – Southwest Airlines and JetBlue will have an airfare war to draw customers to their newest valley destination, the Stockton-Modesto Regional Airport. – Tim Glidwell

POLITICAL WATERFALL – Gov. Jerry Brown will divert enough water to Southern California so we will be able to buy it back at a deep discount. – Mike Noordewier

VACANCY – Turlock politicians will lead the way by opening the empty space in the new Public Safety Facility to homeless folks (no matches allowed). County administrators and the city of Modesto will pay close attention, hoping to find some new roommates of their own at 10th Street. – Mike Dunbar

WITH RELISH – Colin Kaepernick will just miss the Super Bowl win, but make millions endorsing the Kaepernick Hot Dog. – Mike Noordewier

WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE? – Water will have an increased focus in 2014, from the FERC relicensing of Don Pedro to subsidized water rates for agriculture to what is sure to be a serious drought year. Be ready for brown lawns. – Eric Johnston

CHANGE IN DIRECTION – Patrick Koepele will steer the Tuolumne River into new channels, gerrymandering its course to avoid water-hungry developers intent on draining the water table. – Richard Haratani

TWO-BUCK LUCK – Since Trader Joe’s will never have two stores in Modesto, the one on Dale Road will close so a new one can open pronto (the original name in 1958) on the east side of town, preferably in Century Center. – Pamela Clemensen

FISH & FARMS – As more people outside our area make more demands on our water, farmers and environmentalists will learn to work together to protect it. They might not like each other, but they all like the wet stuff. – Mike Dunbar

FANNING THE SMOG – Locals residents will finally tire of the Air Quality Board fireplace restrictions and invest in giant fans to blow the dirty air back to the Bay Area, allowing the locals to use their fireplaces anytime they darn well please. – Tim Glidwell

FIREPROOF CAR – Fremont-based Tesla will come out with a new vehicle completely made of asbestos. – Mike Noordewier

EASY PICKINGS – The nut harvest will just get bigger and the fruit harvest heavier. That will cause farmers to worry that it won’t rain in 2015, that it will rain too much, that there will be too many bugs, not enough bees and that it won’t last. – Mike Dunbar

NEW CEILING AND WALLS – Congress will increase the debt ceiling as long as the Republicans can borrow enough to build a wall around the country. – Mike Noordewier

NOT FAIR – While the Stanislaus County Fair flourishes in Turlock, the San Joaquin County Fair in Stockton will take a one-year hiatus to regroup and rethink what fairgoers want. Perhaps they just want to go somewhere other than the fairgrounds in Stockton. – Mike Dunbar

OPERATION COLLABORATION – The Denair School District superintendent, school board members and the teachers’ association will work together to become solvent, putting aside differences and linking arms to begin functioning cohesively for the prime purpose of educating children. – Pamela Clemensen

SOUND OF MUSIC – Music education will become a priority in the region when it is realized there are no recruits to fill the musical void left by the 2013 passing of Ron DeLacy and Sarah Elizabeth Campbell. – Richard Haratani

TUNNEL VISION – Gov. Jerry Brown will become so enamored of his 40-foot-wide Delta tunnels that he’ll decide to build new ones from San Diego to Redding, and route high-speed trains through them. All aboard. – Mike Dunbar

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