The Right Note: Opposing Views Are Important

by Mark Kelly February 22, 2018 at 3:45 pm 0

The Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Larry Roberts recently gave up his duties as “editor” of the Progressive Voice to take on the role of Chief of Staff for Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax.

In his farewell column, he made the case for why the column he headed up was needed.

Based on his words in the column, the authors who have participated, and the opinions expressed therein, it was to give a voice to those who generally embrace the direction taken by the Arlington County Board.

Since all but one of our elected officials in Arlington are Democrats, it is fair to say that those who share Mr. Roberts views are already well publicized throughout the community. Democrats not only control the outcome of all the votes, they control all of the information flow as well.

With near universal control by the Democrats, it is good for the public discourse for someone on the right to continue talking about the issues from this perspective. The 300-500 words written through the prism of fiscal conservatism in this forum each week may be the only time some in Arlington ever read that type of perspective.

While the voters have generally continued to provide big margins for Democrats at the polls since I started writing this column, they have elected an entirely new County Board. Included in that new roster is the first non-Democrat to be elected to a full term in nearly three decades. The County did withdraw from what many residents felt was a boondoggle streetcar project.

Instead of pushing for even more funding for a pool project, the County scaled it back. The County hired a new auditor, albeit one who needs some additional support to truly be effective.

These were “wins” for the taxpayer, but there are still many ways the County could improve the way it serves Arlingtonians.

Roberts’ column also caused me to look back over the past five years and scroll through roughly 250 columns or 100,000 words. Looking all the way back to my first column, I wanted to end with a reminder about how the right views local government:

What cannot stand is the notion that all, or even most, fiscal conservatives are anti-government.

In fact, we believe there is an appropriate role for each level of government. The most important of which, outside of self-government, is local government. It is where our tax dollars meet the asphalt. It is where our children attend school, our homes are kept safe, our water is dispensed, and our trash is collected. It is where we can most easily and directly petition our elected officials for assistance. And, at least theoretically, it should be the most responsive to changing community needs with the smallest amount of bureaucracy and red tape.

We just want to do it in a way that makes the most fiscal sense, is accountable, and serves people efficiently. That is why I continue to write.


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