Look back at your own risk | In Our Opinion, Dec. 31

As 2008 slides into the rear-view mirror at midnight tonight, it would be wise if we all keep our eyes focused straight ahead for at least a couple of good reasons. One, looking back may cause the heaves and lead to your demise as you careen into a ditch. Second, you don’t want to miss anything during your adventure into the unknown, also known as 2009.

But since we’re still slip-sliding along in the last day of the Year of the Rat, let us consider what is past. But let’s glimpse only the state of affairs on Bainbridge Island, where we like to think our world begins and ends.

The economy sucks here, too, but generally it’s different on the island because most residents have a large cushion against recessions and things like that. But we’re certainly not imune to higher property taxes, an inability to sell or buy a house, inflationary prices, failing businesses, spiraling utility rates, a city government that spends more money than it has, an increasing number of solid citizens who can’t afford to live here and a commuter-dependent ferry system that admits it’s having a identity crisis.

Unfortunately, most of those headaches are following us into the Year of the Ox and certainly won’t go away anytime soon. In a perverse way, it’s kind of exciting inching into the unknown, where answers may suddenly appear to such question as:

When will the city’s expenses weigh more than its revenues, causing it to offer a garage sale every weekend in conjunction with the Saturday Market? February, perhaps? The Fourth of July? Wouldn’t that be appropriate. Never? That would be special.

Will the growing number of empty homes and condos on the island be made available at a fire-sale price to the many island employees who live off-island because they can’t afford to live here, thereby, striking two birds with one stone, as they say? Probably not, but it’s a thought since we really don’t quite yet how far down is.

Where is the bottom? Those who have already hit it wonder how deep is the well. To most islanders, the fall has been brief so far, which means they are still hanging on to the rope and believe they can still pull themselves out of the hole. That would be nice.

But enough of that. Let’s think happy thoughts, such as, how your favorite newspaper (we hope) is changing it frequency and format as it maintains its constant goal to remain relevant to your existence.

Newspapers, in case you didn’t already know, are not above recession-caused downturns. Obviously, as businesses cut back by advertising less, newspapers tighten up their belts, too. We’re all in this together, aren’t we?

So, going forward (don’t look back), the Review will be a weekly newspaper, once again, offered in a tabloid form, once again, that is determined to provide readers with the best possible reflection of what’s going on in this community on a day-to-day basis than anyone else. That’s our goal. Among other things, this change will allow us to put more emphasis on our daily online information source while still producing a high-quality, more focused publication every Friday.

While these changes are happening because of the need for our parent to remain solvent at this critical time, we are convinced that it is the right direction to take for the Review because it ultimately will be beneficial for us, readers, advertisers and anyone else who does business with us. Yes, sometimes you have to look rearward, but only momentarily as you speed ahead.