It’s hard to shake old ways, and in this case, it comes to when the unofficial end to summer arrives and the “new year,” roughly coinciding with the start of the new school year, begins. Labor Day, which is this Monday, has long been considered where that line of demarcation came, But now everything regarding the schools, at least, is starting earlier. Classes at all five Falls Church City School campuses began this last Monday, not the Tuesday coming. And the whole shebang began even earlier for neighboring Fairfax County where schools got underway a week earlier on August 22. Arlington’s started the same as here.
So as we pay homage to the special late afternoon vibes of this coming Labor Day, thinking about all the things we did and didn’t get done or enjoy over a too fleeting summer, our batteries are hopefully fully charged to handle what life will bring our way between now and next June. Are you ready?
Despite the pandemic, which is no longer disrupting our lives the way it did for the last two years, whether or not it’s actually ended, the City of Falls Church has hummed along with very strong indicators of financial and economic strength, reflective of surging home values and a well-to-do population that has been able to keep up with rising costs so far.
But we are coming to a very real turning point, and it has to do with housing, the cost of living and the critical factors of fairness and equity. The City’s fate may follow the effect of Arlington’s current struggles with revising its zoning codes to permit multi-family housing in its traditional single family home zones.
There has been a huge push back from homeowners who are crying foul, fearful that the moves will undercut their property values. The News-Press’ terrific columnist, Charley Clark, whose weekly column, Our Man in Arlington, has drawn thousands of our neighbors to our paper, has been writing about this, and promises to do a lot more leading up to a critical vote in November.
It has been pointed out that the concept of status has a lot to do with what citizens perceive as the factors impacting their homes. Folks want to live not only where their home values continue to rise, but where the consensus is that they’re in a classy neighborhood. Too often that translates into “Nimby” (“Not in My Back Yard”) sentiments, and we in Falls Church have a long history of that here, too. It’s really an unsavory proposition because it is usually a thinly-veiled opposition to greater equality of opportunity, etc., although the purveyors of the sentiment usually refuse to acknowledge that.
The challenge here, as in Arlington, will be to elevate a higher notion of status, one which takes pride in living within a diversity of surroundings, demographics and population mixes, and wears such pride as a badge of honor.
This will be the key feature of our coming year.