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Jolly old Santa Mac is heading down the chimney with a bag of gifts for:

The seven Fresno Unified trustees, in the words of Toby Keith, “a little less talk and a lot more action” on student achievement.

columnist mug of Bill McEwen as Santa Claus

Bill McEwen

Opinion

Mayor Lee Brand, one last successful campaign (Keep Fresno Beautiful) before he exits.

The Gap, the corporate heart to do right by Fresno by donating land for a no-kill animal shelter by the airport.

— Derrel Ridenour, Darius Assemi and the late David McDonald, a thank-you for your support and love of dogs, otherwise known as “our furry friends.”

— Derek Carr, Quincy Pondexter, the Brothers Lopez, Sloane Stephens, and all the other star professional athletes who give back to Fresno, keys to the city.

—  California, affordable housing that’s truly affordable.

— NIMBYs, dropping the “N” for a “Y” to become Yes in My Back Yard. (I’m pretty sure this gift won’t be opened.)

Rep. Devin Nunes, a conspiracy theory a month to satiate Fox News — and keep the rest of us laughing off our chairs.

The San Joaquin River Parkway, the kind of public access people have been dreaming about for decades.

Lois Henry, thousands of new readers (and supporters) for her SJV Water website. (Her knowledge of Valley water issues is deeper than a west-side well.)

— Kalen DeBoer, the recipe for Turnaround Ala Tedford. I’m sure his old Fresno State football boss will share it.

California, which is so big and so challenged that it needs two gifts, a variation on the words often attributed to Mark Twain: “Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting.” Let’s try, “Water’s for sharing by cities, farmers, and fish, and the more voluntary agreements the better.” (Alas, a gift that will be exchanged for a water lawyer retainer.)

All who occupy the sanity zone, the rise of a third major political party populated by Blue Dog Democrats and Principled Republicans.

Mark Arax, another year of poking the bear that is California and the city of untapped potential that is Fresno.

Armenians around the globe, an American president with the gumption to stand up to Turkey and say “genocide.” (This comes with a raincheck.)

— Ashley Swearengin, a successful year piloting Fresno DRIVE, the 10-year effort to elevate economic and racial equality in our city.

Fresno residents, passage of a 2020 compromise sales tax proposal that funds more parks and keeps us safer. (This gift was mistakenly delivered in 2018 to a noncompromising city council.)

— Gov. Gavin Newsom, a transformation plan for PG&E that doesn’t cost ratepayers an arm and a leg. (Less focus on Trump, and more on California’s economic divide, too.)

PG&E, the realization that safety trumps profits.

Mark Standriff, a role of a lifetime. (On stage, not in politics.)

— Farmer Devin Nunes, a bigger crop of lemons.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and to all, a great 2020!

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