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Peter’s Take: To Reinvent Is To Change

Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

Peter RousselotIn a recent State of the County address to the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, Arlington County Board Chair Walter Tejada was quoted as saying, “Arlington is facing some economic uncertainty. One of the worst things…is to be complacent. It’s time to reinvent ourselves once again”.

I agree. Warning signs cry out for reinvention, adjustment, and change to county government policies and practices. One of the striking signs, noted in Tejada’s own address, is the county’s disturbingly high office vacancy rate of 17 percent –and rising. This is the new normal to which the county must adapt.

However, what struck me was that Tejada’s address highlighted a series of attempted defenses of various current county policies and practices, but did not mention the process the Arlington County government intends to pursue to reinvent any county policy or practice.

For example, Tejada extensively attempted to defend current Arlington County policies and practices with respect to the Artisphere, the National Science Foundation move to Alexandria, and the Columbia Pike streetcar.

I have previously explained the reasons why county policies and practices need to change with respect to the:

Anyone has a right to argue in favor of no change in the county government positions on these — or any other — issues. But, if you are giving a State of the County address in which you advise the audience that the county government needs to reinvent itself, but you fail to provide even a single example of a change to be implemented, how can that qualify as providing the foundation for the reinvention you say is needed?

The definition of reinvent is to change. As one dictionary puts it: “to remake as if from the very beginning: to reinvent government.”

The only fair conclusion is that the Arlington County government is guilty of the very complacency against which Chairman Tejada warned in his address to the Arlington Chamber.

Peter Rousselot is a former member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia and former chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.

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