By Karl Terry: PNT managing editor
It’s time for my favorite annual New Year’s tradition.
No, it’s not watching a giant ball drop in Times Square, toasting my friends with champagne, kissing my sweetie at midnight, watching college bowl games until my brain rots or feasting on black-eyed peas.
It’s time for me to make my annual predictions for the coming year.
If you read closely these tidbits might reveal a little bit about the year past or even stuff that’s still on our plate like that slice of chewy fruit cake. These prognostications are made in fun and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. So laugh a little.
The predictions are:
• The Portales Fire Department will back recently retired Battalion Chief Darwin Chenault for state representative. After failing to get enough knuckleheads in the roundhouse to listen to him about the municipal overtime situation created by last year’s minimum wage law, Mike Miller will temporarily step back from his lobbyist position and become Chenault’s campaign manager.
The main plank of their platform will be red cards (firefighter certifications now required for reimbursement by the state for fighting wildfire) and overtime pay for everyone.
The second part of this prediction is that prairie fires will continue and our brave men and women at the departments in Roosevelt County will keep answering the call. God bless ‘em.
• Mayor Orlando Ortega Jr. will take off his Milk Bone underwear and finally get the public out of his boxers for awhile. I tip my hat to the good mayor for stepping forward and creating public debate.
We’ve talked about dairy smells, waste water treatment plant smells, highway bypasses, extraterritorial zoning and affordable housing. The mayor’s been in everyone’s crosshairs on all of those issues. Look for his next issue to be something safe — maybe repainting the crosswalks, a new water cooler at city hall or something.
• Portales Municipal Schools Superintendent Randy Fowler and the Portales school board will pool their milk money and win $20 million in the lottery. They’ve been so lucky in pulling together a plan for a new elementary school how could they lose?
First they moved to the top of the list for state funding after delaying the issue last year, then after not getting a single bid on the bonds the first time around, they got six bids at such great rates, it astounded the guy handling the sale.
The real question is: Will they chalk their winnings up to clean living and put it toward the new school, or head for Hawaii and open a charter school and surf shop on the beach there?
• Roosevelt County Clerk Janet Collins will lease office space on the fourth floor of the courthouse and open her own business servicing voting machines. After declaring that she could probably service those machines herself with a nail file and the little screw driver set on her key ring at a fourth the cost of the state’s negotiated contract, coworkers finally make her put her money where her mouth is.
• Governor Bill Richardson, after washing out in Iowa and New Hampshire as a presidential candidate will bring his campaign war chest back to a political race a little closer to Santa Fe.
After being told by the state Democratic party that the table has already been set in the race for Sen. Pete Domenici’s Senate seat, he will declare his intention to run for dogcatcher of Santa Fe. He won’t resign his governorship though, reasoning that if he can hold the job down while touring Iowa’s frozen turf in December and January, catching a few strays in the “City Different” in his spare time will be a breeze.
• Republicans will nominate Fred Thompson as their candidate for president and NBC will offer Rudy Guilliani a permanent role as the new district attorney on Law and Order. John McCain will retire from the Senate and become a play-by-play man on the NFL Network with Dennis Miller doing color.
The Democrats will nominate Hillary Clinton who will select Don Imus as her running mate. Barack 0bama will come out of the closet and elope with Bill Clinton.
l The world will continue to spin out of control and we’ll all hang on and scream and laugh like it’s an amusement park ride.
Karl Terry is managing editor for the Portales News-Tribune. He can be contacted at 356-4483, ext. 33. His e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org