Thursday, January 15, 2009

Get a life, local electeds

My colleagues helped me put out a request for local officials' New Year's resolutions and boy, was that a waste of time.

Where are the vows to end secret midnight raids on the bag of Snickers hidden behind the couch? What about the promise to go cold turkey on Guitar Hero? Or that plan to end the chat-room love affair with the gross fat guy who purports to be Angelina Jolie?

Instead, state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier wants to learn Spanish and fix the budget.

Buena suerte, amigo! When he is fluent in Spanish and the financial bleeding stops, he can take up Russian and end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor says he will read more history books, including that new hefty Andrew Jackson biography. Bob, there will be a test. Take notes.

Wordsmith Martinez Councilman Mark Ross will lobby people to "pay for more plays."

That would be the theatrical kind of play, of course.

Duh. The city loaned the Willows Theater Company $100,000 and it needs to sell lots and lots of tickets.

Contra Costa Supervisor John Gioia will schedule time for exercise rather than try to fit those stomach crunches between meetings.

Oh, and he, too, wants to fix the state fiscal nightmare and avert the looming financial crash here in Contra AdvertisementCosta County.

Well, let's look on the bright side: If the county has no money, Gioia won't need meetings and he'll have plenty of time for the treadmill.

The fitness theme continued with Antioch Councilman Brian Kalinowski. He wants to "keep dust off the Wii Fit board by actually using it."

And his newly appointed colleague Martha Parsons had a knee replaced in November — ouch — and will hit the gym.

Here's a thought: Bring the Wii down to City Hall. If the whole council takes a turn, it's bound to shorten those long meetings.

Walnut Creek Mayor Gary Skrel and Councilman Kish Rajan will work to balance demands between the city and their families.

And their council colleague Bob Simmons should see whether DeSaulnier wants a study buddy: Simmons wants to learn a second language.

Lafayette Councilwoman Carol Federighi resolves to learn Spanish, too.

Over in the People's Republic of Berkeley, Councilwoman Linda Maio will be more generous. Does she have time to teach Spanish?

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates vows to walk 10,000 steps every day and leave the car home as often as possible.

Oh, and he will provide leadership on global warming. (Hey, it has to be easier than defrosting state legislators' frozen ideology.)

Berkeley Councilman Gordon Wozniak wants to cut his 72-mile bicycle ride around Lake Tahoe from 10 hours to fewer than eight. Show off.

Berkeley Councilwoman Susan Wengraf offers two resolutions: In her personal life, "Keep my sense of humor," and at City Hall, "Keep my sense of humor." Excellent.

Martinez Mayor Rob Schroder, who lost his wife to cancer in the past year, offers a poignant personal resolution: "Remember that each day is a gift and to remember what is important in this short life. It is not our position and our possessions. It is our health, our friends and family."

Pittsburg Mayor Nancy Parent says she won't break any resolutions she didn't make.

She's got the idea.

If you don't resolve to put a stop to those late-night Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey binges, there is no guilt, right?

GOT POLITICS? Read the Political Blotter blog for the latest happenings at

It's wedding bells times three in the East Bay. Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, is engaged. Assemblyman Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch, announced plans to marry Ambrose Park and Recreation District Director Mae Cendaa. And state GOP Vice Chairman Tom Del Beccaro of Lafayette will wed this year.

Martinez Councilman Mark Ross ponders a run for Assembly in 2010.

AND FINALLY: Incoming Contra Costa County board of supervisors Chairwoman Susan Bonilla awarded her colleagues a special gift dedicated to the basic elements at the county's traditional January kickoff luncheon.

Bonilla gave Supervisor Federal Glover a potted tree to represent the earth.

Yawn. Fortunately, it got better.

For the feisty Supervisor John Gioia, Bonilla chose fire and presented him with a basket of oversized matches. He promptly passed them out like cigars to the firefighters at the Local 1230 table.

Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho, who made news last year in a dispute over a water skiing ban, received a gift of water in the form of a super-soaker toy water gun. It was loaded, too.

Bonilla saved the best for last when she gave her gift to the wordy and notoriously risk-averse Supervisor Gayle Uilkema: Wind in the form of a decorative hot air balloon.

"Gayle can hang it in her backyard and see which way the wind is blowing," said Bonilla with a completely straight face.

No, no, Bonilla said over the laughter. Uilkema sits on the regional air board. It's all about clean air.

Yeah, I resolve to buy that story as soon as I finish up the Chunky Monkey.

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