Sunday, January 01, 2006

Crystal Ball Time again

It's the start of a new year - the time when writers traditionaly reflect on the past year and make predictions on the future. The reflection part is easy on this blog. All I have to do is point you to the side bar where our past is on display. So now I guess it's time to run CrystalBall v2.0 beta and see what comes out.

There will be changes in driving in San Angelo. Sherwood way will be widened, with the accompanying irritations as construction is underway. Traffic patterns around ASU will change. There will be major changes all around 29th street as the new super center is built, complete with additional traffic lights and road work. Maybe this will be the year when the city finally starts to properly synchronize their traffic signals.

An easy prediction is that the election season will provide more of the low theater we have come to expect. One area that could provide some drama is the new electronic voting machines that will be used here for the first time in the next elections. Looking at the history of these DRE machines, the county picked one of the better machines, but there have been major problems with all of them. If there is a close race that requires a recount such as we had last time, the result will not be as simple as last time. We will be posting more on this later.

Expect changes in water. Water rates are likely to stay the same. At the same time, the first steps in a long term solution based on using underground water will be started. It is also unlikely that we will have a third wet year, but we know how mother nature likes to keep us guessing.

Some economic predictions are now in order. Expect to see the retail building boom continue through 2006. Some of the building should happen around the new super center in the north part of town, but the building around sherwood way will keep going. This will help the construction industry here, but will really just move jobs from one business to the newer one. This is not a sign of economic growth. Primary jobs will come here, but not in the industries we had in the past. Call centers like Sitel and DCS will continue to grow because we have the resources they need: good communications infrastructure and people that love to talk on the phone. The next real business success story is more than likely going to come from a local, home grown business that finally gets its inovative and creative act into overdrive. It will not be a correction facility.

This is the point where my crystal ball program crashed. If I can get it going again I will add more. If your crystal ball is working, feel free to add its output in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. I suppose I ought to put a few predictions in print, test of the mettle and all that. All of the following assumes that Iran and Israel manage to avoid going nuclear, in which case all bets are off.

    I agree with Jim, this should be the year the city is shamed into actually doing something about traffic lights. Between the disruptions on Sherwood and northside around the new Wallyworld, they might figure out we deserve a break on something traffic related.

    Texas/USC will be one of the best bowl games in recent memory, nod to Texas. USC gets the Heisman, we get bragging rights. The Texans "won" the Reggie Bush Bowl, we get him anyway.

    Oil will remain stable, maybe even a small dip, but high enough to keep the industry perking along here without killing the economy nationally. On a related note, Southwest Air will finally use up its hedged jet fuel, air travel will go up some, but that has really been an underpriced bargain this year.

    Wallyworld North will be nice to have, might even tease HEB into a North Bryant location, but these are retail and convenience moves, no significant overall bump in San Angelo's "GDP". Somewhere in all this Dwain Morrison gets his sidewalks, and in my opinion overdue.

    Our general economy locally will stay strong, construction and oilfield will be good areas to be in, along with telecom.

    I don't know exactly what sticking point, but I have faith the faithed-based prison will crater, probably for the old reliable, lack of money. No denigration of the boosters, best of intentions granted, but the closer I look at this, the stronger the odor of snake-oil.

    My faith in the basic decency of this town is such that I predict the impact of the Klan and its mentally challenged local spokesperson will be exactly zero. Our redneck image notwithstanding, San Angelo has quietly, without making a big production of it, gotten to a point where ethnicity is closer to a trivia question than a determinant for public office.

    Possibly as early as next year, the new library effort will get enough support to move from the drawing board to bricks and mortar.

    I feel fairly safe in predicting at end of '06, most of us will be able to look back and say, "not a bad year".