David Reynolds: The summer knows

Not much has happened over the past summer. Our solar system still works (even when it turns up the heat) and our planet still rotates. But more importantly, you and I are still above ground.

That’s right, the sky and the seasons change, but our lives on earth remain the same. Not a bad deal. They move, we stay put. I’ll take it.

So what happened during those lazy days of the hot summer? As we said, not much. Nonetheless, this is a newspaper and we have an obligation to report news whether there is any or not. As with past policy, no names, just the facts — and, if you don’t mind, some opinions.

Keep in mind that we are all shoppers in the marketplace of ideas. It is just that some are just better shoppers than others. This is what we found at the store this summer:

– Our independent cities remain very independent. It’s a “Made Only in Virginia” sign of civic pride. Our fair commonwealth created these unique jurisdictions to see how long they can stay financially afloat within a surrounding sea of duplicative efforts. Will common sense ever overtake dollars and cents? Who knows. The luxury of keeping the cities alive is up to its taxpayers.

– In spite of having a new governor from a different party taking over the old dominion, Virginia remains stuck in its kudzu. If we need to close liquor stores as a means to fund transportation, Virginia is in greater gridlock than any of us realize. Any chance of trading Bob McDonnell for New Jersey’s Chris Christie? I’ll throw in a first round draft choice.

– Trucks are still rolling on I-81. The “Rail Solution” folks have yet to find their silver bullet for moving finished goods from manufacturer to market with lower costs, faster service and no warehouses. Let’s give them another decade or two. Of course, we have two choices on who to blame for not finding a rail solution: Bush or VDOT. In the meantime, I’ll call a truck, not a train, to deliver my new TV.

– For endless summers to come there will be no armies of boy scouts on our side of the Alleghenies That other Virginia, the one we consider as a poor cousin, printed thousands of “Welcome Boy Scouts” greeting cards. On the back, Governor Joe Manchin wrote, “We’re excited to be the new home for the Scouts.” Congratulations! Joe, if West Virginia gets too excited, send some scouts our way.

– Buena Vista’s city attorney reminded a Wall Street Journal reporter that the “moral obligation bond” that promised to pay if the golf course’s revenues couldn’t was only a moral, not a legal obligation. Spoken as a true lawyer. What a relief! Here I thought Buena Vista had a fiscal problem. It only has a moral problem! No need to hock city hall and the police station. Meanwhile Moody’s Investment Services knocked down BV’s credit rating several notches because too few golfers are knocking down little white balls into small cups.

– The valley’s information technology job market has failed to take off. Could it be that too many of the valley’s adults have never finished high school?

– Thousands of valley homes remain unsold in spite of historically low mortgage rates. Washington has done it again. Its bright economists knew that lowering interest rates would get the housing market moving again. It shows once again that those from elite colleges know how to get things done.

And so it goes. These past few months may not have been the “Summer of ‘42,” but “The Summer Knows.” The earth spins, we don’t. But isn’t that why we are here? We have kept our distance from government planners. We may not have all the answers – but neither do they.

Keep those comments coming. But, please, don’t tell us how you did it up North.

Column by David Reynolds.

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