Thursday, January 17, 2008

Braves Are Not The Only Ones Leaving

With the whole metropolitan area abuzz over the “surprise” departure of our beloved Richmond Braves you would think that a great disaster is taking place. Having survived Walter O’Malley killing the soul of Brooklyn by moving the Dodgers to California and Bob Short moving the Washington Senators to Texas, I can assure you that there are worse things than losing a baseball team.

As I write this, the City of Richmond continues to lose its middle class. The city is losing these people mainly because of the widely held perception that their children cannot receive a quality education in our public schools. I would guess that since I moved to River City hundreds of families have departed for the counties. The demographic profile of the city becomes further polarized between the old and the young and between the rich and the poor. What is missing are the middle class families with children of school age. They have all moved to Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico counties and points even farther out from the city.

The city’s constant hemorrhaging of its middle class is an exodus of potentially disastrous proportions. The departure of the Braves, on the other hand, is just an inconvenience and the loss of a few jobs. Yet all the media, print and broadcast, all the city’s leadership, governmental and private sector, wring their hands in consternation over the departure of a baseball team, while they refuse to even acknowledge the much more serious loss of a key part of our city’s population.

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