Well, 2020 will soon be behind us; it will be remembered as a year dominated by a viral infection that brought innumerable confusing directions from the government, harsh and largely ineffective reaction from politicians, and the loss of many small businesses.

New Year’s Eve was like no other in my memory; restaurants and drinking places were closed; no one witnessed the ball falling in Times Square; and gatherings (parties) in private homes were forbidden by political fiat, although many people seem to have violated the orders.

Although my party days are far behind me, I still watched at 9 p.m. Pacific Time as the ball fell in New York City, and wondered how come tens of thousands of people would stand in the freezing cold for hours waiting to see something they could watch in their warm living room on TV.

News folks have told us there were no restrooms available, no food or alcohol available, no warming stations, and elbow-to-elbow crowds jamming the streets.
Then there was New Year’s morning; the three-hour Pasadena Rose Parade with all its carefully crafted floats, prancing horses, marching bands and huge crowds was a must watch. It was a very pleasant way to usher out the old and welcome the new.

But not this year; two other institutions fell to the dreaded COVID-19. Of course, you can watch the “best of” Rose Parade programs some networks are planning; but it’s not the same as the real thing.

Another institution, the Rose Bowl college football game, appears to be moving from the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena, to Dallas. Well, that makes sense since many Californians have moved to Texas already due to business-stifling regulations and rotted city centers in the now-tarnished Golden State.

So, what will the new year bring? Will we be allowed to return to the freedoms we had prior to COVID-19; it appears questionable as politicians continue to stretch this emergency to the breaking point. For example, while private schools have made considerable efforts to allow their students to return, local public-school districts seem in no hurry to reopen.

Government offices in Lompoc and other cities remain closed. Once again, after nine months, no effort appears the have been made to try to accommodate the public at public meetings or to even allow them access to in-person city services.

In the meantime, all we mere citizens can do is try to figure out how to navigate the ever changing “guidance” coming from Sacramento. The one constant request/requirement is to wear a face mask, stay six feet apart, and wash your hands frequently with hand sanitizer. This is the only reasonable guidance that has been provided throughout the entire year.

Of course, that guidance is good advice to prevent the spread of all contagious diseases.
Well, Happy New Year, everyone and let’s hope that something positive happens soon.

— Ron Fink, a Lompoc resident since 1975, is retired from the aerospace industry. He has been following Lompoc politics since 1992, and after serving 23 years appointed to various Lompoc commissions retired from public service. The opinions expressed are his own.