All I want for Christmas

The Examiner predicts what The City’s leaders, losers, and movers and shakers want from Santa.

Dec. 24, 2009

Who: Barry Bonds
Holiday wish: A clean drug test
To get the federal government off his back
Why: Baseball’s reigning home run king is reportedly retiring from the game, but there’s still that pesky federal perjury case hanging over his head. Prosecutors charge that he lied when he told a grand jury that he never knowingly used steroids. Evidence that could be used against the super-slugger includes positive steroid tests. The question of “Did he know?” or not could be over if Santa could go back in time and just clean up those drug tests.

Who: Sam Singer
Holiday wish: A major scandal in The City
’Cause when it comes to crisis, he’s your man
Why: The public-relations guru leaps into chaotic situations that even many seasoned spin doctors wouldn’t want to be involved with. Among his work was being the point person for the San Francisco Zoo after the fatal Christmas Day tiger attack. One more media-grabbing event could have Singer’s name written all over it.

Who: Chris Daly
Holiday wish: For the high-speed rail train to extend to Fairfield
To make his commutes environmentally friendly
Why: The Board of Supervisors member announced in August that his family was living in Fairfield in one of the two houses the couple had purchased. Daly, however, is still living in District 6, as required by the City Charter. The supervisor, however, was spending about three nights a week in Fairfield, according to a City Attorney’s Office audit. Those trips would be quicker — and greener — if the proposed high-speed rail network extended to Fairfield.

Who: Carole Shorenstein Hays
Holiday wish: One more Tony
Because she deserves the applause
Why: The president of the SHN, the organization that brings San Francisco the Best of the Broadway theater series, Hayes is a champion of the arts, but also contributes to school arts education causes and other civic minded efforts. She has five Tony Awards for Best Play under her belt.

Who: Gary Cavalli
Holiday wish: A sold-out Emerald Bowl
The more the merrier
Why: It’s been just eight years since college football came to San Francisco with the first Emerald Bowl. This year’s game at AT&T Park pits USC against Boston College. For Cavalli, a lifelong sports fan who founded the Emerald Bowl, the sight of a great game and a full house at the stadium Saturday will be a Christmas wish come true.

Dec. 23, 2009
Who: Dede Wilsey
Holiday wish: Another major project she can devote her talents to
The City could use her fundraising power
Why: It’s been four years since the de Young Museum reopened to rave reviews. Wilsey led the capital campaign to rebuild the museum, wrangling more than $200 million from private donors for the cause. Now she’s raising funds for UCSF’s new Mission Bay hospital complex, but perhaps the civic-minded philanthropist is up for a little multitasking.

Dec. 22, 2009
Who: Ex- “Beach Blanket Babylon” diva Val Diamond
Holiday wish: A new starring role
Because we expect her second act to be bigger than her first
Why: Without much notice, it was recently announced that the woman who held up the production’s signature San Francisco skyline hat is leaving after 30 years and 11,500 shows. The centerpiece of the popular revue, she brought unbridled talent and energy to the stage. The details behind her departure are unclear, but we’re choosing to look forward to seeing what the versatile comedic songstress will do next — from the front row.


Dec. 21, 2009
Who: Al Davis
Holiday wish: A quality general manager
He needs to just win, baby.
Why: The legendary and sometimes controversial owner of the Raiders is showing every bit of his 80 years on this planet. Unfortunately, that isn’t a good thing. Once one of the brightest minds in football, Darth Raider has made some terrific blunders that keep his fabled Silver and Black franchise from escaping the depths they sank following Super Bowl XXXVII. Exhibit A, JaMarcus Russell. Exhibit B, Darius Heyward-Bey. Hiring a strong personnel evaluator would make the Black Hole once again a feared venue.

Dec. 18, 2009
Who: City Attorney Dennis Herrera
Holiday wish: A big court win on either Healthy S.F. or same-sex marriage
Because everybody loves a winner
Why: When it comes to legal battles, Herrera is a knight in shining armor, defending The City’s affordable health care program for the uninsured and arguing on behalf of same-sex marriage, a movement that got a jump-start in San Francisco. Both are big cases, so the proceedings have been long and full of detours. A win in 2010 would certainly make him the courtroom king and help his expected run for mayor.


Dec. 17, 2009
Who: Toby Gerhart
Holiday wish: To be taken in the NFL draft’s first round
His skills say it should be so
Why: While finishing second in the Heisman Trophy voting and being named a unanimous All-American doesn’t necessarily translate into pro potential, the Stanford running back’s brute force is a trait all NFL teams desire. Scouts look for size and speed; checking in at 6-foot-1 and 235 pounds and watching him pull away from defenders all season en route to leading the nation in rushing yards and touchdowns should be all the evidence needed.

Dec. 16, 2009
Who: Gavin Newsom
Holiday wish: A day job for 2012
The mayor will need one
Why: The birth of his daughter is clearly the year’s blessing for Newsom. But looking ahead, the 42-year-old mayor may be asking St. Nick for the gift of a job come 2012, when he’s termed out of office. Newsom dropped out of the governor’s race, citing a need to be with his family. The mayor could return to his former career as a restaurateur, but perhaps the man in red has a political appointment up his sleeve for Newsom.

Dec. 15, 2009
Who: George Gascón
Holiday wish: A computer system that works
Another tool in the arsenal.
Why: San Francisco’s reputation as a dot-com ground zero probably gave San Francisco’s new police chief reason to believe that he’d have the latest tech-tools at his disposal to help fight crime in The City. Then he discovered the SFPD’s antiquated computer system. An updated system would help department communication, as well as sift through crime data to target problem areas. Gascón, like Santa Claus, just wants to know who’s been naughty.


Dec. 14, 2009
Who: William Hambrecht
Holiday wish: More fans
To keep the United Football League on the field.
Why: We’re fans of competition, particularly competitive sports, so when the San Francisco investment banker decided to form the United Football League, our thought was, “Go team!” Like most start-ups, the four-team UFL reportedly lost money in its inaugural year; additionally, attendance wasn’t strong at local games for the California Redwoods. We believe good things are ahead next season — fans should fill the seats so they don’t miss out.

Dec. 13, 2009

Who: Dave Eggers
Holiday wish: A vacation
Because it doesn’t appear he’s had one in a long time
Why: Call it a staggering amount of work — in the last decade, the local luminary has published numerous books, founded a literary quarterly and wrote the screenplay for “Where the Wild Things Are,” all while nurturing young writers at his nonprofit, 826 Valencia. He even recently published a special-edition newspaper. Santa sees you when you’re awake, Eggers, and he knows you can’t be sleeping much.


Dec. 11, 2009
Who: Mark Zuckerberg
Holiday wish: Profit
Because Facebook’s great, but it still ain’t paying the bills.
Why: Sure, 300 million “friends” are great, but for the 26-year-old Harvard dropout, having the social media phenom Facebook turn a profit would be the ultimate Christmas present. Recently, the Palo Alto company announced its stock was being restructured into a two-tier system, widely seen as a precursor to an IPO. Zuckerberg has said Facebook is making money, but profit is what investors will want.

Dec. 10, 2009
Who: John Cota
Holiday wish: His meds back
To take away the pain of his sentence
Why: The captain who piloted the Cosco Busan into the Bay Bridge in November 2007 is serving a 10-month sentence related to the resulting environmental disaster. As part of a plea deal, federal prosecutors dropped charges that he failed to disclose the numerous prescription drugs he had been taking when he renewed his pilot’s license. Cota’s likely replaying the incident in his head, thinking, “If only I’d …”

Dec. 9, 2009
Who: Steve Jobs
Holiday wish: Another must-have gadget
The man just won’t rest on Apple’s laurels
Why: With his health reportedly improving, we expect that Jobs is back at Apple with maximum drive, pushing folks to keep him king of the technology hill. The Mac, iPod, iPhone and iTouch are products that have changed the way many people live. What’s next, we’re all wondering? Geeks are predicting a lower-cost tablet. Maybe an iBook? Perhaps a little North Pole magic will make our Apple dreams — and Jobs’ — come true.


Dec. 8, 2009
Who: Frank Chu
Holiday wish: More galaxies
Because 12 just doesn’t seem to be enough for Frank
Why: The City is a haven for folks embracing a multitude of beliefs, with none so representative of this as Chu, the man who can be seen at public gatherings, be it promotion or protest, holding his 12 Galaxies sign. He’s also frequently seen strolling along Market Street. It’s said that the now-shuttered 12 Galaxies bar was named in honor of Chu, who has been known to riff and ramble on about any number of subjects, political and personal — and always with a nod to the galaxies.


Dec. 7, 2009
Who: Lance Armstrong
Holiday wish: Bigger, stronger bike lock
So nothing takes his concentration away from next year.
Why: The seven-time Tour de France winner will once again be hitting the roads for the fifth annual Tour of California cycling road race in May. Always a crowd pleaser, fans were aghast when someone had the audacity to steal Armstrong’s bike from a team truck just hours after he rode it on the first day of this year’s race. We’re looking forward to seeing him hit the roads in 2010 for the 750-mile ride — and we’re hoping Santa sends him a double-strength U-lock.

Dec. 4, 2009
Who: Nathaniel Ford
Holiday wish: 85 percent Muni on-time performance
To take the public’s attention away from agency’s other problems.
Why: When Ford arrived in 2006, he promised to improve Muni’s on-time rate, finances and safety. Currently, your bus will show up on schedule less than 75 percent of the time, not quite the 85 percent goal. The agency also is struggling with a $47 million deficit. Worst of all are the crashes this year that injured dozens and the two stabbings that happened on Muni. Perhaps new service changes this month will at least get Muni to your stop on time.

Dec. 3, 2009
Who: Warren Hellman
Holiday wish: A gold record
What do you give a man who has everything?
Why: Hellman is the chairman of his own investment firm, is involved in numerous civic and philanthropic efforts, and has for years offered The City his free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. He’s widely respected by bike advocates, school supporters, music fans and business leaders, to name a few. A record deal for The Wronglers, the band in which Hellman plays banjo, and a gold record for his wall could be the one thing he doesn’t have — yet.

Dec. 2, 2009
Who: Santa Clara Mayor Patricia Mahan
Holiday wish: The 49ers
To take the NFL team away from San Francisco
Why: It’s been three years since the team announced it was moving to Santa Clara, which wooed it with the chance to build a state-of-the-art stadium next to Great America.
The team spurned free real estate in The City and $100 million from developer Lennar Corp. With Santa Clara voters getting a chance to weigh in on the matter in April or June, Niners fans could be rooting for the Santa Clara Gold Diggers.


Dec. 1, 2009
Holiday wish: A pulse
Who: “Trauma” producers
Why: The show’s producers have called the NBC series a “high-octane medical drama” set on the streets of San Francisco — but “Trauma” quickly began to flatline. After just 13 episodes, the network announced it was pulling the proverbial plug on the show. Weeks later, the network announced it had ordered three more episodes, but the show’s long-term health is in question. The City hasn’t had a hit TV series since “Nash Bridges,” and it needs the revenue generated by the entertainment industry.

Nov. 30, 2009
Holiday wish: A haircut
Who: Tim Lincecum
Why: The Giants' ace pitcher already apologized for being caught with marijuana in hand in October, but a new look would show he is moving away from such youthful indiscretions. Mind you, we’re not saying he needs a buzz cut, just something with a little more style. A look for the 25-year-old baseball sensation that says, “I’m hip, I'm hot and I'm the reigning Cy Young winner.” Next up on the wish list, a new nickname: “The Freak” just doesn't fit anymore.

FILE - This is a June 29, 2009, file photo showing San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum throwing during the third inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, in St. Louis. Lincecum...

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