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A few decades ago, Drew Pearson, a mildly leftist political commentator, had a radio show. Every so often he'd hazard a few guesses about the future, gravely and portentously declaimed by a deep-voiced announcer:

"And now ... (drum roll)... Predictions of Things to Come -- Proven to be 94.7 Percent Accurate ... (drum roll, eerie noises)...!!!"

Unhappily, the predictions were no fun at all, as in "President Eisenhower will visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier this Memorial Day!" But as a kid, I thought that it would be unbelievably cool to be a futurologist, to see into the dark unknown, and make my own goofy predictions.

Dreams can come true -- here's what we can expect as we wrap up the old year and look forward into ... my own crystal ball (green, with bubbles, purchased a few years back in Puerto Vallarta).

Twelve months from now, we'll be three months away from electing a new Mayor. To the surprise of some, Council members Clark and Eastburn won't run. The leading candidates: Vice Mayor Lionel Rivera and Councilman Jim Null. And the winner? None other than the politically conservative, ethnically Hispanic, and former Army Captain Lionel Rivera. Congratulations, Lionel! And as Sting might say, we'll be watching you...

Come November, we'll have a bunch of Newly Rich County Commissioners, ready to oink it up at the public trough. Whose snout will be in the District 3 feedbag -- Bill Guman's or Wayne Williams'? Historically, Republican primaries have been decided much like local races in the Deep South were decided a couple of generations ago. Just as the suspender-snapping pols of rural Mississippi used to vie for the title of true-blue segregationist, so do our local Republicans try to out-conservative each other. It's worked for decades, but I have a sneaking feeling that competence and experience might actually count for something this time. And the check goes to ... Bill Guman!

I have no idea what's gonna happen in Afghanistan, or Iraq, or Israel/Palestine, or anywhere more than a few hours' drive from C. Springs for that matter, but I'll bet that President George, like his Daddy before him, will be struggling with a lousy economy and sagging approval ratings next Christmas.

Osama bin Laden will be found living in Queens, having invested the remnants of his once-vast fortune into a coffee shop, tellingly named "Osama bin Latte." In the subsequent trial, Johnnie Cochran, fighting for an acquittal, will tell the jury: "If the turban don't fit, you must acquit. ..."

Come spring, Colorado Gov. Owens will personally inspect every seed planted in the garden of the Governor's Mansion, hoping to avoid another cannabis cultivation rap. And Governor -- this time you won't get off with a warning ...

Colorado Democrats, having managed to parlay their control of the State Senate into a Dem-friendly reapportionment, nevertheless manage to lose control of that body in the November elections. Why? Alas, because there are just too many Republicans in this state, and they vote ...

City Manager Jim Mullen, his rsum buoyed by glowing recommendations from dissident Council members eager to get rid of him, gets another job. He fails to mention this to his bosses, who agree to a generous severance package, and are politically embarrassed when he skips town with a big fat check.

And who's gonna be the next city manager? Council will spend $100K on a search firm, interview a dozen smooth-talking men and women from all over the country, and finally make a decision. And if we're lucky, Council might even realize that there are a bunch of current city employees who could do a wonderful job, and wouldn't need on-the-job training. They'd settle on SCIP coordinator Elena Nuez, who is smart, witty, supremely competent, and doesn't hate the press.

Our intrepid City Council will succeed in buying Red Rock Canyon. One problem: the deepening recession will so reduce City revenues that Red Rock will have to pay for itself. The solution: Re-open the landfill that was once there!

The city parks department, having cut down a bunch of view-blocking trees in the Garden of the Gods, will turn to bigger and better things: view-blocking rocks! Yes, let's get rid of those unsightly big lumps of red sandstone -- a few thousand pounds of plastique ought to bring those babies down, and open up the views of Pikes Peak!

And finally, none of our elected officials will remember those words of wisdom from former Sen. Gene McCarthy, who once said: "Being a politician is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game, and dumb enough to think that it matters."

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