’Tis the season for making lists! With 2008 now in the rearview mirror, what better time for a “what’s hot, what’s not” look back at the dysfunctional, ominous, scary yet hope-filled year we just survived in Sacramento and across the country.

HOT: A president-elect with a mandate for sweeping change.
NOT: Mass uncertainty and unease about everything anyway.

HOT: Grant High School Pacers.
NOT: Sacramento Kings.

HOT: California’s worst budget debacle in decades.
NOT: Poor people and children who need public assistance being made to suffer for the obtuse, showtime antics of the state Legislature.

HOT: Attorney General Jerry Brown’s decision to defend the constitution in his legal brief supporting Proposition 8 and same-sex marriage.
NOT: Kenneth Starr and his attempt to null the state’s existing gay marriages.

HOT: Mayor Kevin Johnson’s appetite for change.
NOT: Johnson’s tendency to take unilateral action.

HOT: President-elect Barack Obama’s “Green Dream Team”: With Steven Chu, Lisa Jackson and Carol Browner, the leadership is in place to make giant strides to avert the worst impacts of global warming.
NOT: President George W. Bush’s environmental legacy.

HOT: Sacramento’s secret underground sidewalks.
NOT: Dying downtown malls.

HOT: Sacramento Ballet performers taking to the streets en pointe to hawk Nutcracker tickets.
NOT: The recession-induced decline of tickets sales for performing-arts groups, locally and across the country.

HOT: Legal places for Sacramento’s homeless to camp.
NOT: The fact that more and more locals are going homeless in the first place.

HOT: Sacramento County supervisors coming to their senses and approving the medical-marijuana ID card.
NOT: That medical marijuana is still controversial in the first place.

HOT: Darrell Steinberg as president pro tem of California state Senate.
NOT: A state budget and two-thirds majority vote rule that may hamstring him from an agenda that would otherwise benefit the state mightily.

HOT: Sacramento’s burgeoning role as one of the country’s go-to cities for green-tech startups.
NOT: The economic crisis and job crunch that may hinder green entrepreneurs from getting the startup cash they need.

HOT: A decline in conspicuous consumption as people turn to their family, neighbors and friends instead of piling on material things to attain happiness.
NOT: Less consumption means less jobs, at least in the short term.

HOT: Change is the keyword for 2009.
NOT: Change is the keyword for 2009.