Occasionally public life gets messy. Well, o.k. perhaps it is more than occasionally. Frequently, however, messy is necessary to provide the guarantees of good government and civil liberties we enjoy.
I have known Tim Lovain from a variety of activities for many years. Although I have not been active in Alexandria party politics in recent years, I have had active civic involvements. And like most of us, I am keenly interested in good government and proud of what our elected officials accomplish in this city.
Alice Walker is the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. But Monday, I called her to talk about a true story. The Obamas had just visited the White House. The first African-American elected president of the United States had visited his soon-to-be residence, a house built by slaves. Walker told me: “Even when they were building it, you know, in chains or in desperation and in sadness, they were building it for him. Ancestors take a very long view of life, and they see what is coming.” The author of “The Color Purple,” who writes about slavery and redemption, went on, “This is a great victory of the spirit and for people who have had to live basically by faith.”
During Independence Day weekend in 2005 I bought a brand new Chevy Malibu. It’s such a nice automobile that General Motors now wants me to buy another one, except they won’t actually let me have the car. They, along with Ford and Chrysler want my money, but have nothing to offer in return. The same is true for the rest of American automobile owners and even those who do not currently own a vehicle of any kind.
Alexandria recently received third place in the Virginia Municipal League’s “Green Government Challenge” for Cities and Counties (with population over 90,000) throughout the state of Virginia. The VML initiative recognizes communities that take innovative steps to reduce energy usage and promote environmental sustainability. While Alexandria’s environmental efforts have come a long way in the last few years, we need your help to make a real difference.
For the uninitiated, Ralph Waldo “Petey” Greene told it like it was in his world on the Washington, DC airwaves on WOL during the late 1960s and early 1970s before succumbing to cancer. The ex-con, who described himself in his boss’s word – a miscreant, because it sounded more sophisticated, would no doubt be shocked that his trademark show opener on the DC soul music station would be used in conjunction with the Republicans. Don Cheadle more than adequately portrayed Greene in the enjoyable 2007 film Talk To Me.
Recently, a group known as the Advancement Project did a study of Presidential Election preparations for voting on November 4 in a number of swing states. Virginia was included in the report that found many causes for concern. Alexandria did not fare well as the city was accused of having too few voting machines and too few election workers for the projected turnout. A mess on election day was predicted.
While Ohio resident Joe Wurzelbacher a.k.a. “Joe the Plumber” enjoyed his Andy Warhol moment, don’t lose sight of the fact that Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) had his Mondale moment uttering the words, “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”
A la Nero, fiddling while Rome burned, so too, the nation burns as Congress fiddles while not in session.
As the world focused on the fiscal crisis on Wall Street, Virginians recently learned that the Commonwealth had not escaped the ripple effect of the national crisis. Virginia is facing a budget shortfall that could reach $3 billion over the next two years, according to official estimates.