My congratulations to our new Chairman and Vice-Chairman, as they begin their third go-round at the helm. This year more than most, we will need their experience, as we confront the challenges Ms. Favola described.
The local impacts of the larger economic crisis and the budgetary realities they entail will indeed constrain the ability to embark on significant new initiatives. Nonetheless, there is much important ongoing work to be done.
I am especially pleased that our Chairman has reiterated the Board’s commitment to the Columbia Pike Housing Initiative, the last major piece of planning remaining to be done for south Arlington’s Main Street, and vital to realizing the vision we have developed in partnership with the community over the past decade. I look forward to working with citizens and staff to advance it this year.
I also expect to devote energy to the continuing work of two other major planning efforts currently in progress, for Crystal City and East Falls Church.
I know I will be kept busy with Metro and the other regional transportation agencies on which I represent the County. Both here in Arlington and regionally, the new federal focus on infrastructure that our President-elect has promised will bring opportunities for long-overdue progress on our transportation needs.
The name of this first month of the year derives from Janus, the god with two faces, who looks forward and backward through time. For Americans, this year begins with two paradoxical outlooks.
On the one hand, there is widespread anxiety throughout the land, as foreclosures, business failures, and job losses mount, with the prospect that things are assured to get worse before they get better.
And yet, amidst the current gloom, we can already see a new spirit beginning to shine through. A spirit of hope and possibility, a sense that this new year may bring the most profound change of our lifetimes. As harbingers of that change, in three weeks time, tens – even hundreds – of thousands from every corner of the country will come here to the shores of the Potomac, filled with that hope and carrying that sense of possibility. A feeling that the challenges may be big, but we are up to big challenges.
That feeling is familiar to Arlingtonians. It’s the spirit that has inspired the very special community that we are all so proud to be part of making, every year. As our County Manager likes to say, “we don’t do ‘easy’”. Drawing on the contributions of all of our people, we know Arlington will surmount the difficult challenges that confront us.
That we may now see some of that same spirit and those values energizing our national public life must give us more confidence than ever that there is yet a bright future for our country, and our County.
Armed with that confidence, it is easy to say, on this first day of 2009,
Happy New Year, Arlington.