RESPONSE: ‘Man About Town’ Thanks Readers
December 20, 2010
Dear Readers of “Man About Town,”
My heartfelt thanks to all of you who wrote encouraging words on the occasion of my “retirement” as a column writer. I will admit that, after 18 months of Mondays, I have never felt more relaxed!
That said, all staff members of the Falls Church Times have the opportunity to write an occasional opinion piece, and I expect I’ll not be able to resist that myself.
As to whether my “straight reporting” will be unbiased, I quote E.B. White:
I have yet to see a piece of writing, political or non-political, that does not have a slant. All writing slants the way a writer leans, and no man is born perpendicular.
Now, one unfinished piece of business: As I noted last week, my column efforts could more and more be boiled down to a few sentences:
1) Falls Church City suffers from an almost unique nexus of legal and geographic limitations that convinces me the Little City is unsustainable, and this decade will likely be its last.
2) We can either wait for the inevitable and accept what is decided for us, or we can endeavor to manage our own destiny.
3) The best outcome would be to merge with Arlington County, whom we already depend on for a myriad of services. Merging our schools with Arlington would significantly increase course opportunities for our students.
4) Failure to actively work toward a merger with Arlington will result in a re-absorption into Fairfax County.
5) To those who say merger with Arlington is prohibited by state law, I say (with 25 years’ experience in government) that in politics, everything is negotiable.
FIRST HURDLE: “Convincing” Arlington to take us: Piece of cake. Every bureaucracy desires growth, and let’s not sell ourselves short – we are a very desirable piece of real estate. Read John Bennett’s comment a year ago reporting the opinion of a former chairman of the Arlington Board of Supervisors.
SECOND HURDLE: Convincing Fairfax County to “let” us join Arlington. Fairfax could, and would, block us except for one thing: We have something Fairfax wants very badly – a waterworks that services its residents. Joining Arlington should be a package deal that allows Fairfax to buy our waterworks. That should keep them happy. But we need to take action while we still have bargaining power.
THIRD HURDLE: Obtaining the votes in the General Assembly to make this happen. That’s the easy part. If Falls Church, Arlington, and Fairfax County all desire it, there’s really no opposition.
And so, dear readers, I rest my case. As we enter a new year fraught with fiscal peril and an inevitable battle over school funding, remember that there is a way out – maybe not the way that we would choose, but a solution nevertheless.
And that’s my final word.
Thanks again for your kind words!
GEORGE (ex-Man About Town) SOUTHERN
By George Southern
December 20, 2010