Kosmicki: Putting a positive spin on 2015

A giant sunflower begins to show the signs of the drought in the garden of Barb Taddeo, a Hollister resident, that plants the huge flowers to help the bee population and conserve water during the drought. Photo By Nick Lovejoy

Since the news always carries such a negative tone, this column will end 2015 with a bad and positive spin on some of the biggest local stories from the past year.
Drought takes over morning routines
To start the year, locals and others throughout the state heard warnings about fines for overuse of water.
The bad news: Locals felt pressure to cut back on use of water in all of their daily activities, spiking local rates of B.O. and halitosis and causing many homeowners to hallucinate to a point where they now see immense beauty in piles of rocks.
The good news: We still had the bottles. They thought they were so smart over there in Sacramento. While Jerry Brown and the boys were ordering us around, telling us how much of the goods we could sprinkle under our armpits, we were bathing in Dasani and tossing back the clear stuff like water. At least I was. What a bunch of suckers.
Solar project sees sunlight
The Panoche Valley Solar project’s long history in this county as fodder for intense debate has brought the venture all the way to … the starting line.
The bad news: It took six years for the project to get past government and legal hurdles—mostly from environmentalists, birders and neighboring property owners worried their juvenile relatives might bounce off trampolines into fields of solar panels.  
The good news: Sooner or later, birds are bound to evolve back into ground-dwelling creatures. That’s because they’ll need to find another hobby once we get our flying cars in the air. Out of the way, buzzards!
Biker rally’s sort-of big name
It was year three in the latest revival for the Hollister motorcycle rally, the city’s signature tradition and claim to a sniff of fame outside of confusion with the fictional, very non-biker Abercrombie & Fitch line.
The bad news: There might have been more people inside Whiskey Creek Saloon than those attending the “Guess Who” concert as the “headline act” Saturday night of the July 4 rally.
The good news: If the rally stays afloat, the “Guess Who” bombing would become a boon for small, local bands because we probably won’t see another “headliner” for quite a while. Meanwhile, long lines of locals waiting for autographs from two “Sons of Anarchy” actors also showed that we in Hollister prefer washed-up TV actors over washed-up music acts any day.
Del Webb’s long nap at San Juan Oaks
A decade after voters rejected Del Webb’s idea for 4,400 homes near the Hollister airport, the company’s nearly 1,100-home development at San Juan Oaks breezed through a county approval process.
The bad news: Union Road already backs up during commute hours like Hollister storm drains in a Sharknado. So what’ll happen when we add 2,000 people to that area of town? Just watch out for the renegade golf carts and say your prayers.
The good news: Any addition to our current stock of reckless motorists is an improvement. At least the seniors at Del Webb will use their turn signals once in a while and won’t try parking miniature buses into compact car spots at the movie theater. And as an added bonus with all the old folks around, we’re certain to eventually get that long-sought-after Denny’s. I remember my first Grand Slam like high school graduation or my first night getting hammered.  
Politicos get high on themselves
Nearly two decades after the state and this county resoundingly supported residents’ rights to grow and buy medicinal marijuana, San Juan Bautista council members banned the activities and county supervisors gave serious thought to the same mystifying idea.
The bad news: Local politicians proved they’re willing to defy the point of representation—to represent—in order to please a few of their land-entitled, backwoods friends. And of all places, San Juan makes the least sense. I’d venture to guess the Mission City’s “stoned rate”—the ratio of people under the influence of marijuana at any given time—is much higher than the average in this county or California. If all the stoners weren’t so nice, they’d have formed a classically Old West lynch mob by now.
The good news: With the state headed toward recreational legalization within a few years, there’s at least a slight chance county supervisors one day might actually play out a real-life version of my prior column mocking their initial decision to ban backyard pot grows. Afterward, maybe we could all head to Johnny’s for a puff and have a laugh while all the drinkers get angry at us.
Local library website hijacked by porn
In early December, a local resident walked into the Free Lance asking why the library website pointed him to a pornographic website. Whoops. The secret was out of the bag for the San Benito County Free Library, which had responded to the disaster by trying to hide it from the wider public by saying nothing to the local newspaper about the problem. Local parents had a right to know their children might inadvertently link to a porn site, but library officials chose to quietly change the web address and cross their fingers that the crisis wouldn’t blow up.
The bad news: Uh-oh … It blew up. See headline above.  
The good news: A lot of parents throughout San Benito County just got out of having to go through that birds and bees conversation.

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