Key points and quotes by Arlington County Board member Walter Tejada, who sums up my feelings almost exactly, are as follows.
*Today, we have “failed to continue this tradition” of making smart, strategic investments in Arlington County.
*The question is, “will we now become a timid and stagnant community, or will we dare to be bold and innovative and make the strategic investments…that are required to craft sustainable policies for us and for future generations? Time will tell.”
*Apologizes to people who made investments based on Arlington’s promises to build the streetcar system.
*Tejada is “incredibly and profoundly disappointed” at the action that four members of the County Board is taking; it is “a step backwards.”
*The voters have spoken, and he has “heard you.” BUT: “I have convictions and I do not trade them. I do not raise my thumb and see where the political wind is blowing…I value my hometown too much to abandon our carefully-designed strategic plan that will continue to make us competitive in the region. I value and respect having a public process, it means something in Arlington, it means something to me.”
*He understands that the Board “came up short” in making the case for the project, but he remains firmly committed to it, “and I continue to believe that it is in the best interest of Arlington County now and into the future.”
*He takes responsibility for his part if anyone felt “left out” of the process, as this was “never the intention.”
*However, Tejada asserts (correctly) that this has been a “legitimate public process,” with “small meetings, medium meetings, large meetings, larger meetings, charrettes, forums, meeting after meeting after meeting...It WAS a legitimate public process in the finest Arlington tradition.”
*Thanks everyone who worked so hard on this project.
*Now, there are questions that remain: “How much taxpayer dollar will be wasted by stopping the streetcar from moving forward? How do we quantify what the total cost for not going forward is?”
*The challenge now is “can we come together and unite…return to civil and respectful discussions of all topics confronting our community?”