Arlington, VA

The Right Note is a biweekly opinion column. The views expressed are solely the author’s.

At this month’s September 12 meeting, County Board members initially expressed general support for changing the county logo.

At the September 15 recessed meeting, the Board announced it would start a process to not only change the logo, but look at any name throughout the county that may need to be renamed or symbol that needs to be changed.

After three days of reflection, the Board seems set to move forward with the logo change. Instead of moving expeditiously to do so, the Board decided to make it part of what is almost certainly going to be a drawn out decision making process.

There are two practical questions that have to be answered considering the extensive use of the logo throughout Arlington: how much would changing it cost and how long would it take?

Once the Board knows the answer to these questions they should be able to announce the process, timeline and cost to select a new logo and put it in place. Instead, we are weighing into a nebulous timeline of the “Arlington Way” which will not start until 2021. It will drag this process out and almost certainly ensnarl it in controversy with any number of other things people will want to see replaced or renamed — see the renaming of Washington-Liberty High School.

As part of this process, one can only imagine that the name of our county will also be up for debate. We are named after the Arlington plantation that contains the house the County Board is now objecting to as a logo. The County Board will almost certainly face that question as part of this process. And if they think the same logic does not apply, then they should state why.

Hopefully the County Board members will rally around the idea that our foundational principles give us the opportunity to redeem past failures and move forward to create a more perfect union. Arlington County can stand as a place that does not need to change its name in order for it to be known as a place that unequivocally rejects racism. We can focus our time and efforts on lifting people up in our community by providing access to educational opportunities and reducing governmental barriers to economic opportunity.

A final note on the logo. At the Board meeting, Takis Karantonis held up his business card to the camera and said the logo “doesn’t represent me.” If Mr. Karantonis or any of the Board Members object that strenuously to the logo, they should stop using the taxpayer-funded cards immediately and purchase their own without the logo until the change is made. That would be a real protest.

The Board also received an update on the budget impacts from the pandemic. The projected slow down in revenue is within a range where the Board can make smart financial decisions utilizing close-out and contingency funds without piling a tax increase on our community as we continue to recover next year.

Mark Kelly is a long-time Arlington resident, former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.

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