I'm sorry that I can't help you, but I have to say that I agree. The loss of the list of calendars off to the side is a major disappointment to me too. I have been scouring the community here trying to find out how I can make my calendar look like it did in Snow Leopard.
I did ask about the switch to iCloud in the other forums and I did get one response that said syncing on the iCloud worked better than mobile me. I haven't switched yet, but it is just something to consider. Hopefully someone else can help you with an alternative.
I read a little on this forum after I posted this in frustration. Someone mentioned BusyCal, and I have to say that I like it a lot. I think that this was a program that I looked at in the App Store, but skipped it because I couldn't be sure if it was any good or not. However, I looked at the developer's website and found that they offered a trial, which is what I'm currently using. Unless I experience any hiccups, I think that I'll be purchasing...
I've been using BusyCal for almost six months and I won't go back to iCal. I think iCal is fine for a personal or family calendar, but for business use or "power users", BusyCal is the way to go.
The calendar list and ToDos that carry forward are a must for me and syncing with Google is a breeze. I sync it to my iPhone and iPad using iCloud (prior to iCloud, I synced with MobileMe). The ToDos sync to all three (using BusyToDo on the iPhone nad iPad).
Works great and the one question I had was answered the same day by thier support team via email. Go for it.