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August 5, 2015

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Scott Dickensheets:

Dear next year: You’ve got a tough act to follow

Dear 2011:

I know what you’re thinking: I sure hope 2010 left a little cheddar for me. After all, this year pretty much wrung everything out of Nevada and Las Vegas. 2010 got to have all the wicked fun — putting us on that dumbest-cities list, punking our economy, foreclosing all our houses, throwing a Tea Party. Speaking of which, you gotta hand it to 2010 — that crazy election was a masterstroke. Driving Sharron Angle straight at us in a game of chicken? That was Stephen King-like in its scary brilliance! If I were a year, I wouldn’t want to follow 2010.

You just missed the splashy opening of the Cosmopolitan, the last high-end resort for leather-wearing animal lovers that’ll be built here for a long, long time. 2010 squeaked that one in. You, 2011, will be lucky if there are three Taco Bell ribbon-cuttings during your tenure.

And look at 2012 — you aren’t even settled in yet, and he’s already collecting love as the probable time-frame for real economic recovery to start showing here. That’s also when the Smith Center for the Performing Arts will open, and when Zappos will turn downtown into a knowledge-workers paradise. We’re all looking forward to that year.

I figure you might be a little miffed, 2011.

So I’m taking this break from holiday shopping — I got Oscar Goodman the Lego™ Mayoral Legacy Kit (“downtown arena sold separately”), and for the Nevada Legislature, volumes of Dickens, with adorable urchins and picturesque slums, so lawmakers can visualize their goal when they start budgeting — to cheer you up.

So cheer up, 2011; you have a lot to look forward to.

Take the legislative session I just mentioned. Very important for a year like you. Sure, it’ll be the usual monster-truck rally of political egos climbing over each other, but that’s just the warm-up act. You need to focus on the budget; that can make or break you. Of course, it’s possible that lawmakers, staggered by a deficit estimated by some to be more than $2 billion, will make it easy for you by working across the aisle to fix it without decimating the state.

Kidding! You’re going to need a good sense of humor, 2011. (At least you won’t be getting texts from Jim Gibbons every few minutes. Drove 2009 nuts.)

And, hey, thanks to the U.S. Census Bureau, you get to accept delivery of Nevada’s fourth congressional seat! Wave that in 2012’s smug face!

Of course, it will require a gruesome redistricting process, in which our politicians carefully redraw congressional and state districts to ensure another 10 years of status quo. (If you would also have them redraw the District at Green Valley Ranch to include a bookstore, I’d consider it a huge favor.) However distasteful, this is also your chance to, as 2010 likes to say, take a lemon situation and make lemonade: You can leave your mark on the whole decade.

After all that heavy action, you’ll want a light diversion, so it’s a good thing we’re electing a new mayor. Goodman leaves office in June. Then someone’s gotta get in there, sweep aside the empties and boldly be one of seven equal votes on the city council. Early candidates include Councilman Steve Ross and Larry Brown, who just stepped down as coach of the Charlotte Bobcats to enter this race.

But those guys are boring, 2011. I have a better idea. You should rig it so we elect the rapper Coolio, who recently told the other paper, “I plan on getting really involved in the betterment of life in Vegas.” A mayor with civic vision and a chill flow? That’s a legacy any year would be proud of.

That’s it for now, 2011. Best not to hit you with too much reality just yet. After all, you still have a week to change your mind.

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