What will be

My predictions for the coming year, based on the 2004 exit poll, with a plus/minus margin of error of 5 percent:

A local bicycle advocate arranges to relocate Jim Morrison’s grave from Paris to Chico, where it is incorporated into the new Downtown Park Plaza design and includes a statue of Morrison complete with a loudspeaker that plays The Soft Parade 24 hours a day. The pigeons and the homeless leave the park. The Morrison memorial puts Chico on the map when it is featured in both People and Shasta County Parent magazines.

Cal quarterback Aaron Rodgers is passed up by the NFL and instead drafted into the Arena Football League, landing a spot with the new Chico franchise that plays its home games in the Off the Wall soccer facility on E. 20th Street. The team is named the Prevailing Wages, much to the chagrin of General Manager Bob Linscheid. Unfortunately, Rodgers holds out in a contract dispute and the team finishes the season 4-8 with Chico Chamber of Commerce’s Jim Goodwin calling the signals.

Chico’s new professional baseball team sees its home opener sold out in no small part because Southern rock legends The Outlaws hold a pre-game concert and sing their mega-hit “Green Grass and High Tides Forever.” But two weeks into the season, the leaders of the powerful Neighborhood Church instruct their members to boycott the team until it changes its name. This leaves only the local Jewish community, Muslims and atheists to support the team. Unfortunately, attendance is too low to pay the bills. The team announces in September that it is moving to Red Bluff and changing its nickname to the Wild Oaks.

The City Council, under pressure from local auto dealerships, amends the municipal code so that the only privately owned vehicles allowed to travel on the city’s streets are SUVs that exceed four tons. Since these oversized vehicles can’t fit into the downtown parking spots, the spaces are repainted, which results in a 30 percent net loss of parking places. This in turn leads to the construction of three new parking structures, including one erected in the Downtown Plaza Park, which necessitates the second exhumation in less than a year of Jim Morrison’s body, which is moved, along with the singing statue, to the Chico Cemetery for interment right next to John and Annie Bidwell’s relatively modest grave markers. On a related note, the third and last parking structure (for 2005 anyway) is built directly in front of the Bidwell Mansion.

A little-known Indian tribe called the Winsome-Losesome, who once lived on what is now Annie’s Glen, purchases the Senator Theater and turns it into a casino, finally giving Chico a real downtown performing arts center. The first show features a Floater tribute band. During the show DNA wins $5,000 at a nickel slot machine, takes his payoff and promptly moves back to New Jersey.

Butte Community College scraps its plans to install solar panels, much to its neighbors’ delight. A few weeks later, however, school officials announce plans to construct a cogeneration/rendering plant that incinerates used tires for fuel and extracts body fat and other useful products from dead animals. The school becomes energy independent, a permanent smell settles over the campus and the neighbors move away.

A very hip business/music/home improvement ’zine called “Your Ad Here” appears in Chico and captures every penny spent on every print advertisement sold in the tri-county area, sending all other publications, including this paper and the Buzz, to the final recycling bin. But before that can happen, the author of this column gets fired for writing the word SUV one too many times and ends up begging for change with his unleashed pit bull puppy while squatting near the third-floor elevator of the Bidwell Mansion parking structure. The SUV drivers take pity, and his income actually increases.