Editorial: What Do You Think?

Typically and traditionally, the editorial page of a newspaper like the one you now hold in your hands tells its readers what to think. Not always imperatively and directly: it’s usually more subtle than that.

In a polite yet persuasive matter, the editorial lays out policy positions and opinions with which any reasonable person, upon reading and fully comprehending, must inevitably concur. For the editorial writer is, by definition, reasonable and rational. So if you, the reader, don’t agree, you must be unreasonable and irrational.

But before we can be so presumptuous as to tell you what to think, we want you to tell us what to think – specifically, to begin with, which issues to think about.

On what — in your opinion — should the Rappahannock News be focusing its news coverage? And what specific issues should we be addressing in our opinion pages?

Here, based on informal conversations with local citizens and community leaders, are some of the issues we’ve identified as important to Rappahannock County, in no particular order:

1. Local economic activity. Should farming maintain its position as a viable — indeed, the “highest and best” — use of the land here? Should tourism reinforce and revitalize the county’s agricultural heritage?

2. Environmental issues. Should protecting and preserving the county’s uniquely beautiful and unspoiled natural landscape be of highest priority? Indeed, is this landscape the county’s most valuable asset?

3. Human assets. Are there enough opportunities here to keep and draw creative youth and energy? If not, what can be done? Or should the county simply resign itself to being a sought-after weekend retreat and retirement community?

4. Money. The public’s money, that is. What’s to be done in the face of declining state funding and a problematic local tax base? Specifically, how can Rappahannock public schools maintain their pursuit of excellence and retain quality educators? And what about funding for emergency services? And maintaining a high-level workforce in local government? Is affordable housing part of the dynamic in attracting and keeping quality teachers and government service providers?

What do you think? Are these the main issues confronting the county right now? Or have we missed something?
And if these or other issues are indeed problems that need to be addressed, what in your opinion are the best solutions? Or, at least, what is the best, most productive way of looking at, or framing, the issues — in such a way that solutions can ultimately be achieved?
We really do want to know: What do you think? Looking forward to hearing from you,

Walter Nicklin