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Photo by Eric Kilby, Flickr

“I hope and trust that our city will continue to thrive as it has for the last 18 years.”

May the coming year (or two) be the last ones in which this damn pandemic hangs over the entire world like a never-ending plague. I hope that in the next few years, enough effective vaccines and boosters will be available to everyone, in every nation, on this small planet of ours.

I also hope that the gov’ts and the people of the United States, Russia, and China will wake up and bring a halt to the insane 3-way nuclear arms race that, unless it is stopped, will once again bring the world dangerously close to a cataclysmic end-game. What climate change can/will do over the course of the next several decades, a nuclear war can “achieve” in a single afternoon!

And speaking of climate change, I hope that somehow, some way, the industrialized nations of the world will finally get serious about reversing the environmental destruction of our planet. But since they don’t seem to be willing or able to do what obviously needs to be done, it’s up to all of us, in every country, to keep on pressuring the world’s leading polluters to change their ways before it is too late.

I also hope that 2022 will bring greater progress towards the U.N. goal of ending what is called “extreme poverty” by 2030. After that goal is reached, I hope that the U.N.’s more ambitious pledge “to implement programmes and policies to end poverty in all its dimensions” can be achieved in the not so distant future. Given the obscene amount of money that is controlled by a small number of people and corporations the world over, along with the equally obscene trillions of dollars spent on the weapons of war, ending all poverty in our world is not only a moral imperative, but it needs to be seen as a goal that really can be achieved if enough political pressure can be mobilized against the powers that be.

Another hope I have for 2022 is that a lot more Americans than is presently the case wake up and realize than our democracy is in serious danger of being ripped to shreds by the Trump dominated Republican Party. Republicans all over the country are now openly planning to make sure that Trump and his favored candidates will be declared the winners of elections to the presidency, congress, and many key state and local offices regardless of whether they actually receive more votes than their opponents. The fix is in and it’s up to the American people to stand up and fight like hell to save our country and our democracy! We are in a Code Red emergency. If you believe in free elections and the other basic freedoms in our constitutional system of checks and balances, now is the time to get active, to rejoin “the resistance” and do what we can to stop Trump from pulling off the “legal” coup he and his collaborators are in the process of planning.

And then there is Somerville. We are only a tiny speck on the map of the United States, let alone on a map of the world. But 81,000 or so of us live here, each with our own hopes and dreams for the next year and beyond.

Here are some of mine: I hope and trust that our city will continue to thrive as it has for the last 18 years under the leadership of Mayor Joe Curtatone. As for “Mayor Joe” himself, I hope that he will enjoy a happy and healthy new year. I wish him all the best in his future ventures and hope that he will be able to enjoy more down time with his family and friends now that he won’t be working around the clock, day in and day out. Joe Curtatone put his heart and soul into serving our community – especially during the ongoing pandemic, and he deserves a big “thank you” from all of us.

Naturally, I also wish the best for our incoming mayor, Katjana Ballantyne. As anyone who has had any contact with Katjana over the years will attest, our next mayor is a warm and caring human being as well as the kind of public servant who is totally dedicated to doing her best to improve the lives of the people in our community. A happy and health new year to you, Madame Mayor-elect.

I also want to wish a happy and healthy new year to the outgoing members of our City Council and School Committee. Mary Jo Rossetti, Bill White, and Mark Niedergang are all stepping down after serving many years on the City Council with honor and distinction. Mary Jo had been a member of the School Committee for 14 years before serving 8 years on the City Council. Mark served 8 years on the School Committee and then 8 more years on the Council. And Bill White served 20 years on the City Council. Carrie Normand will be leaving the School Committee after 8 years of dedicated service to the community – especially to the all the kids in our schools. We all owe four of them a big debt of gratitude for all the time and energy they have sacrificed to make Somerville a better place to live work, play, and go to school. The same goes for all of the people who will be serving on the City Council and School Committee in 2022 and 23.

There are so many other lesser-known people in our community who I’d like to wish a happy and healthy new year to. All of them deserve our thanks for making Somerville a better, safer, and more convenient place to live.

In no particular order: our city’s teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, nurses, security staff, custodians, and cafeteria workers; our police officers and firefighters, our crossing guards, all of the doctors and nurses who work at the Somerville Hospital and in the many other medical offices around town, all of the people who work in the mayor’s office and related city offices, all of the 311 operators, and the staff at all three of our public libraries, the people who work at the polls at every election, everyone who works at the DPW or come around once a week to pick up the trash and empties the recycling bins, all of the people who work at Market Basket, Stop and Shop, CVS, and all of the other stores – large and small, all of the people who work in restaurants, pizza and sub shops, cafes, coffee shops and convenience stores, all of the barbers and hair stylists, all of the people who work in Somerville’s many non-profit organizations, all of the painters and the people who work on construction projects, all of the artists and musicians, all of the people who get up so early to deliver our newspapers, and the people who drive the UPS and Amazon trucks to deliver whatever it is that we ordered online, all of the people who work in the post office, at our gas stations and car washes, all of the people who volunteer their time to coach youth soccer, little league baseball, and other sports and the people who sponsor those teams so that they have fields to play on and uniforms to wear, and to everyone who has slipped my mind at the moment – my sincere apologies.

All of them and all of us make Somerville what it is today: a city with more than its share of problems, but more importantly, a community of 81,000 people who are doing their best to lead happy and productive lives while also doing what they can to make Somerville a better place for everyone who lives or works here.

Happy New Year, Somerville!

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