Tim Whyte | Where Tim Was Right, and Where Tim Was Wrong

Tim Whyte
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Let’s flash back a year. Remember the end of 2019? People couldn’t wait for 2019 to be over. The consensus was, it was an awful year, especially locally. We had natural disasters, a school shooting, political strife… 

All of it combined to produce the popular refrain: “Bring on 2020! It has to be better than 2019.”

Boy. Talk about being careful what you ask for…

So here we are at the end of 2020, and I’m thinking back on my “New Year’s column” of a year ago. I had a little fun looking ahead at 2020, and I made some predictions for the year that was then ahead. The headline was, “Telling 2019 to Kiss Off and Predictions for 2020.”

How did I do?

Let’s just say I’m no threat to bump Carnac the Magnificent out of his job. 

To wit:

Second paragraph: “I’m ready for good stuff to start happening.”

A year later: Still waiting.

I made some sports predictions. I predicted the L.A. Kings would miss the playoffs, which actually turned out to be true. It was a rare moment of prognosticative success. Because I also predicted the Dodgers would not win the World Series (they did), the Baltimore Ravens would win the Super Bowl (they didn’t), the Clippers would win the NBA title (a happy miss, because Lakers…), and finally, on a local level, that Hart High’s football program would slip with the retirement of longtime head coach Mike Herrington, and that Valencia High’s football team would win another Foothill League title, thanks to its practice of recruiting all the best players to go to one school so they can take Conversational Latin or whatever other obscure course they offer over there at Valencia High to give athletes an “academic” excuse to transfer.

Neither the Hart nor the Valencia prediction came true. Because COVID. 

No high school football, period.

Oh, and speaking of COVID… I didn’t predict the COVID-19 shutdowns — not the mask-wearing, not the social distancing, not the distance learning, not the mass unemployment and business closures… 

None of it. 

I didn’t even mention the virus, which was still thousands of miles away from our homes and our thoughts as it ravaged Wuhan, China, and had yet to begin dominating our lives.

In politics, I predicted Christy Smith would get elected to Congress not once, but twice — in the May special election and the November election. 

Wrong, and wrong again. 

I also predicted Ken Dean would at last win a seat on the City Council, but I admitted in the column I was really just taking a flyer on that one, so I’m not counting that as a real miss. Some predictions are, really, just for fun. Sorry, Ken.

I predicted a local government would violate the state’s open meeting laws and no one other than the newspaper and Steve Petzold would care. That actually happened more than once, as far as I can tell. (I’m looking at you, Hart High School District.) 

I’m calling that a win for my predictions, a loss for transparency in local government.

I predicted homeless encampments would spread from the Santa Clara River into more public, visible places. I’m calling this a push, because while we don’t have homeless encampments in random, obvious places around town — yet — we did move the homeless shelter’s patrons to the Newhall Community Center — because COVID — and we had a motel in Canyon Country that was entirely devoted to housing the homeless — again, COVID.

I predicted we’d have a snow day. We didn’t. Maybe I was really just hoping for one.

And, I predicted 2020 would end on a high note. Sure, the vaccine is on the way, but our hospitals are bursting at the seams, businesses are shut down and the government canceled Christmas and New Year’s because of, what else, COVID. Not calling that prediction a win.

So. For those of you keeping score at home: That’s 2 wins, 10 losses and a push. Don’t bring me to Vegas, folks.

Which brings us to 2021: What will my predictions be for the year ahead, you may ask? 

Nothing. I’m not predicting a damn thing. My days as a prognosticator are over, at least until next year. Meanwhile, let’s try this one more time: Kiss off, 2020, because 2021 has got to be better than this. 

Doesn’t it?

Tim Whyte is editor of The Signal.

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