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Lodi to Santa: Can you turn gang members into elves? And other requests

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Posted: Friday, December 24, 2010 12:00 am

It's been a tough year for everyone, hasn't it? Fewer jobs, smaller paychecks, weaker sales — even rain forecast on Christmas Day. Don't you wish you were a kid again and could climb up on Santa's lap and just wish your troubles away?

Just think ... we're turning out the lights, just about ready to head home for a little Christmas Eve toddy when a knock comes on the front door at the Sentinel. A customer with a late ad? Better open the door.

What the heck? A guy in a fur-trimmed suit and big old beard. Santa! Just the man we've been wanting to talk to.

Santa-man, thanks for stopping by. You want to know what we'd like this year? Well, kind of you to ask. Here is our list:

  • We know you can't bring peace on earth. But there's one bunch that needs more than anyone else, Santa. Could you maybe bring a little package of peace for the North San Joaquin Water Conservation District?
  • You know, Santa, it's not Christmas without a Christmas tree. We have one Downtown, but its journey was not easy. The first one was hacked and stolen. The second sort of fell apart as it was felled and loaded. So next year? What do you think? Rather than have the Downtown Christmas tree shipped by common carrier, could you bring one in your sleigh?
  • What a sports year we've had, eh Santa? Tokay High swimmers and Lodi High footballers (American-style and the other) brought us to our feet. And baseball and softball pitchers at Galt and Jim Elliot high schools rivaled those marvelous Giants.
  • We know this may be unfair, Santa, but you are, after all, the ultimate bearer of gifts. So here goes. Could you give our next governor, Jerry Brown, a financial magic wand? We need a way to keep our schools and parks going, our roads repaired, our police and fire services staffed.
  • What can we do for those people who want to enjoy the Mokelumne but don't own a riverfront place? Not everyone can afford a boat and, Santa, we're not all good enough to deserve our own kayak. Oh! How about buying kayaks for the Lodi Recreation Department so they can rent them out? What was that, Santa? Only if we promise to wear our lifejackets? OK. It's a deal.
  • Wouldn't it be great if Congress and President Obama would extend unemployment benefits for another 10 years? What's that Santa! Are you saying that not even YOU can borrow that much money? Then how about some more jobs? We'll be waiting by the chimney.
  • We admit there's lots of bad news to think about, but we think we know about one tough problem that only a superhero with flying reindeer could tackle. The neighborhood watch program seems blindfolded. The jail is full and the police paddy wagon is much too small.

But Santa, you've got your magic sleigh and all that industrial/manufacturing space at the polar ice cap. How about hauling a sleigh full of Lodi gang members to Santa's Workshop for a year of work furlough?

Well, old elf, we hope we didn't wear you out. Save some goodies for Lodi next year. Merry Christmas, Santa. You'll find cookies and milk in the break room.

— The Lodi News-Sentinel

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