Santa gets help from naughty editor

Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

I’ve never had the chance to do it here in Portales, but each Christmas season I set aside one column to help Santa Claus with a few ideas for some of our favorite public figures.

Being so close to the news and the newsmakers, I think I can maybe lend jolly old Saint Nick a perspective that might not necessarily come across all the way up at the North Pole. Mr. Claus may know who’s been naughty and nice, but I’ve been making a little list of my own.

Let’s start close to home with Portales Mayor Orlando Ortega. Santa should bring him a pair of disco platform shoes. I’m sure he had a pair in the ‘70s but he’s outgrown those. With a little lift in his shoes he would at least be taller than the short, chubby newspaper editor across the street. We need him to be at least a head taller than the kids around his Mayor’s Christmas Tree, so he doesn’t get lost among the kids. Because of good efforts like the Christmas tree, the shoes he fills are big — go for at least size 12s.

Eastern New Mexico University President Steven Gamble desperately needs some new buildings on his campus. With enrollment at a 30-year high, university officials are starting to eye Gamble’s office with the thought of holding classes there while the Science Building is being remodeled. Luckily they found a home for the caiman at the museum, ‘cause rumor has it they were going to send him to the president’s office for a while there. New buildings are on the way; they’ll just be a little belated I guess.

Roosevelt County Commissioners would like another nativity scene for the courthouse. We’re thankful they have the backbone to stand up and say a little religion is OK there. There is this matter of a new county attorney, however. Santa needs to send a new lawyer just in case they have to defend having baby Jesus on the lawn.

For Cannon Air Force Base, the word is it’s in desperate need of a new fire extinquisher. OK that’s maybe a little bit of a low blow … but maybe they deserve it. We also hope Santa overlooks that one black mark and delivers the base a new mission. That would be a good present for all of us.

For all our local firefighters, Santa should make sure their stocking (or maybe they hang up one of those big fire boots) is overflowing with whatever will make their holiday bright. Had it not been for them late last month when the fire at Cannon’s Melrose Bombing Range spread onto thousands of acres of private property, the holiday season would have been somber for a lot more folks.

Would it be asking too much to grant our governor, Bill Richardson, what he really wants this year? No, not the oval office or an NFL franchise in the state. We think he needs one of the first seats to outerspace on Virgin Galactic’s space tourism venture. He’s done a pretty fair job of being governor from all over the globe; we think he can handle outerspace too.

The folks in New Orleans and other hurricane-ravaged communities along the Gulf Coast need a wet/dry vacuum, our prayers and support as they rebuild and a dry martini for Mardi Gras.

For Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield: We hope Santa brings them a new retirement villa in south Baghdad. Things are going so well there now, we’re sure that’s where they want to be in the new year.

President George Bush only really needs one thing for Christmas — an exit strategy. This would be more of a present to the U.S. people than to our president but it sure would be nice. A few decades ago, Santa sent one to President Nixon and the darned thing never worked too well.We were at least 20 years cleaning up the mess after we plugged it in and it exploded. Let’s hope Santa shops with care on this one.