Local Commentary

The Little City Weed

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The news Falls Church City has been showered with yet another national title, this one as the nation’s wealthiest community as determined by Forbes magazine, leaves The Weed with an empty space which can only be filled by quotes from Kierkegaard.

 

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If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of potential – for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints; possibility never. – Soren Kierkegaard

The news Falls Church City has been showered with yet another national title, this one as the nation’s wealthiest community as determined by Forbes magazine, leaves The Weed with an empty space which can only be filled by quotes from Kierkegaard.

Not to go all emo on my dear readers, but, whatever. Thank you very much for the honor. Put it on the shelf next to our top national school rankings trophies, the crown earned for the most Harry Potter books read per capita in the country, the census bureau sash which declares us the most educated citizens in the nation, the pretty trees and recycled trash recognitions, and all the other collective clap trap of a community which takes an inordinate amount of pleasure in the accident of its location.

So now what?

Through my liberal lenses, the inequity of our community is disquieting. A community which carved itself out of a county some sixty years ago and intentionally left behind the minority-owned haberdasheries which have since been paved over by Route 66, and the rich Hispanic residential neighborhoods which were planned to be inside the city, but which somehow still remain just outside the borders of our city. The politics of place, carefully orchestrated to create a boutique school community several shades whiter than our neighbors, whisper many of our oldsters.

The current political debate in the city oddly does not focus on investing the riches we posses.  The city elected a council of fear mongering opponents to growth in schools, to highly successful mixed use development, to a new city center, to affordable housing for our seniors and working poor. The political initiatives focus now on hoarding a fund balance ahead of a Mayan- like prophesy of doom which will befall us all in 2013 as foretold by local financial shamans with dodgy records of accuracy. We have become inward focused, intolerant of any risk, a clutch of awkward process dilatants that chuckle condescendingly at questioners and denigrate non-believers as “simplistic.”

A liberal perspective invisible (or repugnant) to my dear conservative friends, I am sure.

But even through borrowed conservative lenses, a community gifted with wealth which does not honor its commitment to older residents, school teachers, or city workers and supports a local government which peddles in backroom deals and actively tries to stifle citizens from voting, should not be acceptable.

Somewhere in the DNA of Falls Church City we possess the ability to be more than risk monitors and fund balance zealots. Our lineage is of fearless advocates for good government, innovative progressivism, and community leaders who dared to be a model – rather than an exclusive self-licking ice cream cone peoples stuck in a 1950s walled off city model where polishing trophies is valued more than investing in neighbors.

 


Michael Gardner is a quixotic citizen and founder of the Blueweeds community blog.