I have been writing columns either for a newspaper or the City’s web page for close to 20 years, and I reached the age a few years ago where I don’t remember all the subjects I’ve covered. I know I have attempted to make a few predictions around the first of most years, but I don’t recall whether any of them came to pass. Given that I can’t remember and no one has held me accountable, I feel emboldened to continue the practice. The following is my list for what will happen in 2016:
Albany will gain new residents. The city continues to defy its critics by attracting new residents.
- New houses and apartments will be constructed.
- New businesses will open.
- Some businesses will close.
- There will be a little less crime.
- Ambulance calls will increase.
- Water rates will stay the same.
- Sewer rates will increase.
- Property taxes will increase slightly.
- Many issues and offices will be decided in the November election.
Albany has a bright future in store as long as people care enough to keep investing in it. I think that’s probably true for the country as a whole. We can complain, criticize, and otherwise be negative about the future; but if we continue sinking our resources into education, infrastructure, environmental health, social capital, health care, the arts, scientific inquiry, and security, we should pass along a positive legacy.
I place great faith in the electoral process even when I don’t like the results of a particular election. The rhetoric of election time has more often than not been discouraging; and yet it somehow has produced great leaders and a powerful, prosperous nation. Apparently, all the good things that have happened in our country over the past two hundred plus years happened despite politicians and bureaucrats. I believe, however, that our votes matter.
We will have several opportunities to exercise our franchise in the 2016 special, primary, and general elections that will decide everything from school board positions to the presidency. Millions of us will vote, and the outcomes will be the product of our decisions. I know I have made mistakes in the past, and I’m sure most others have, too; but I greatly prefer having the chance to contribute for good or ill. We are fortunate to participate in shaping our future, even if we don’t get to decide it as individuals.
I think our hopes have greater value than our predictions for the year ahead; so I will close with the hope of a peaceful and prosperous New Year, particularly in places where the need is greatest.