Coming to a City Near You: Middle-Class Flight

The latest to be vandalized: The Richmond Howitzers Monument.

by James A. Bacon

As the City of Richmond becomes increasingly ungovernable in the face of continued protests and vandalism, a lot of people are saying to themselves, “I’m out of here.” Here’s a prediction: Middle-class flight will become the next big thing.

Richmond, like many other cities around the country, has enjoyed a strong economic revival in recent years. The city offered walkable streets, attractive neighborhoods and a lively cultural scene that attracted many young people. Businesses followed their creative-class employees to downtown, Shockoe Bottom and Scotts Addition. Taxes were higher and schools were problematic, but violent crime rates had fallen and people felt safe. Richmond seemed so much more vibrant and exciting than the suburbs of Henrico and Chesterfield Counties.

Everything has changed. Public order is eroding. As the state capital, Richmond has seen weeks of protests, destruction, and now vandalism unchecked by law enforcement. Yesterday, even though Governor Ralph Northam and Mayor Levar Stoney had proclaimed their intention to remove Civil War statues within the scope of the law, “protesters” couldn’t contain their rage. They tore down a third statue.

Stoney’s response: Fire the police chief.

You won’t see members of the silent majority organizing counter-protests. They won’t even post yard signs, for fear of being vandalized. They’ll just vote with their feet. They’ll sell their houses and move to the suburbs. The ‘burbs may be sterile, but they’re safer.

The sacking of Police Chief William Smith will open the floodgates. While saying that Richmond has a “good police department,” Stoney said the police need to do better. “We have to do more to elevate voices of our community, and I believe we have to do more to take a human services approach to public safety. And I believe that we have to do all this using a restorative justice framework.”

Stoney gave the clear impression that he was acting to appease the mob. Police came under withering criticism by protesters for a couple of incidents: one in which the police deployed tear gas, and another in which a police car pushed through a crowd of protesters blocking its path, causing some minor injuries. Yet police have taken a largely hands-off approach to demonstrators defacing statues, pulling them down, and vandalizing nearby stores and residences.

Will letting the militants dictate policing policy make the City of Richmond a safer, more equitable place? Will it calm the mob and restore order? Obviously, some people think it will. Most likely, they won’t move. But others will disagree, and many of them will act on their convictions.

I know of one gentleman living on Monument Avenue who is distressed to see the destruction of the Civil War statues, which he predicts will drive property values lower. His front door was spray painted with graffiti during a recent demonstration. Despite having invested significant money and creativity into designing his house, he is seriously thinking of moving to Henrico County where sanity (for the moment) appears to rule.

Left-wing militants will go from denouncing gentrification as racist to denouncing middle-class flight as racist.

It’s not racist to want to live in a safe and orderly neighborhood, however. Don’t be surprised if middle-class black families lead the exodus. As Jason Riley observes in the Wall Street Journal today, America has a silent black majority. Not all African-Americans buy into the narrative of America as an irredeemably racist society. They just want to live normal lives.

The radicals may be relatively few in number, but they have the power of their convictions. And the Stoneys of the world are too ambivalent in their feelings — they’re of the establishment but they share many of the assumptions about systemic racism — that they cannot stand up to the militants. Will the city become ungovernable? It is too early to tell. But many people aren’t going to stick around to find out.

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78 responses to “Coming to a City Near You: Middle-Class Flight

  1. So mob, radicals, left-wing militants is how you choose to paint all the protestors? What do you even mean by left-wing? Do you mean the millions of your fellow Americans who do not happen to subscribe to your way of thinking? Where does this rhetoric come from and does it encourage civil discourse? I am so tired of this stoking of culture wars and actually of the use of the term “war” to describe honest differences of opinion. Maybe you are talking once again about “white flight” but I think that the younger generation has moved past that. Do you not think that there is systemic racism in America?

  2. Exactly. The events have been concentrated in a relatively small part of Richmond. The targets, if you think about it, are precise. The point is that Richmond is the living space for many young people who reject the honor your elders world view of past generations both black and white. They don’t give a damn about ancient standards, especially old style rich whites who reside in their lively homes along Monument Avenue.’why should they care about their property values?

  3. Tom,

    What is systemic racism in your mind?

    >>So mob, radicals, left-wing militants is how you choose to paint all the protestors>>

    You have engaged in argument known as the informal fallacy of “extension”, a subdivision of the straw man arguments frequently seen on this blog. This error consists of extending or exaggerating the opposition’s point for the purpose of making it easier to attack. Here you say that Jim has chosen to “paint all protestors” as left wing militants, radicals etc., when he made no such choice. Indeed, he says “The radicals may be relatively few in number” A far cry from “all”, don’t you think?

    • Yes, I have not been impressed by Tom’s recently posted comments here. They have an odor about them that is increasingly found these days in certain precincts inhabited by people I call snots.

    • JD – As a sometime (ofttimes?) purveyor of fallacious arguments I appreciate your willingness to referee the blog comments and your willingness to throw penalty flags where appropriate.

      Jim Bacon’s point was pretty straightforward – he believes that the lawlessness of some which attended the peaceful protests of many was at least tolerated by Mayor Stoney. He further believes that the combination of lawlessness and the tolerance of it will motivate some people leave the city. That has certainly happened in Richmond and other cities in the past. I’m not convinced. At least not yet. The riots in Los Angeles in 1992 didn’t stop the City of Los Angeles from continuing to grow. Meanwhile, the protests and violence in Baltimore in 2015 did not accelerate that city’s long running loss of population. Between 2000 and 2010 Baltimore lost 4.4% of its population while between 2010 and 2019 Baltimore lost another 4.4% of its population.

      In my mind the bigger question isn’t about the generally peaceful protests punctuated with a considerable level of criminal violence but the “defund” the police philosophy. Riots come and go. If you look up riots in Baltimore you’ll find 11, the first being the Doctor’s Riot of 1807. However, a systematic reduction in traditional policing (along with an increase in non-police social services) is a grand experiment, especially in the cities. If this results in an increase in petty and major offenses we might well see a large number of people leaving America’s urban centers. Whether they would move from Richmond to Henrico County or from Richmond to coastal Georgia (for example) is a real question given the success of work-from-home approaches in white collar occupations.

  4. As the City of Richmond becomes increasingly ungovernable in the face of continued protests and vandalism,

    Everything has changed. Public order is eroding. As the state capital, Richmond has seen weeks of protests, destruction, and now vandalism unchecked by law enforcement.

    The sacking of Police Chief William Smith will open the floodgates.

    Stoney gave the clear impression that he was acting to appease the mob.

    Will letting the militants dictate policing policy make the City of Richmond a safer, more equitable place? Will it calm the mob and restore order? Obviously, some people think it will. Most likely, they won’t move. But others will disagree, and many of them will act on their convictions.

    Left-wing militants will go from denouncing gentrification as racist to denouncing middle-class flight as racist.

    The radicals may be relatively few in number, but they have the power of their convictions.

    so we’re talking about “ungovernable”, erosion of public order, militants, and mobs…. but then we say “few in number”.

    explain that Crazy…….

    • Crazy is absolutely right.

      The protesters run the gamut from well-meaning, peaceful liberals who want to reform the system to enraged militants who want to destroy it. A lot of people on the streets are on the cusp. The militant extremists are a minority, but they have a lot of sympathizers. They make more noise than everyone else, and Stoney is truckling to them.

      • Is what is going on in Richmond , that different than all the other cities?

        Do you think the non-violent protestors are having an impact also?

        At least you moved away from the “Antifa” narrative but even now – you seem to focus on the vandals and like rather than the bigger group of protestors and what impact they are having…

        I think the small number of vandals and firebrands are not what is actually happening…they are a distraction, and pointing to them is just avoiding the bigger picture of what is happening.

        • >>Is what is going on in Richmond , that different than all the other cities?>>

          Larry, here you are engaging in that other subdivision of the straw man argument usually known as diversion, but what I call the “And so’s your momma” argument. “Others are doing it too, so no foul.”

          • In addition, Bacon’s example was a move from the City of Richmond to Henrico County making it irrelevant what other cities are doing. I presume that Jim would speculate that any exodus from Richmond would be repeated in a lot of American cities.

            Two questions Jim Bacon didn’t ask:

            1. Who will move? Richmond has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the country. A relatively small number of departures of relative wealthy people could cause outsized fiscal problems.

            https://www.whsv.com/content/news/Data-show-poverty-and-income-trends-in-Virginia-561907531.html

            2. If people move, will they move to Richmond’s suburbs or get out of Dodge altogether? Many high earning individuals are finding that working from home (at a time when all of their colleagues are working from home) is more productive than could have been imagined. Facebook has decided that WFH will become a permanent pattern. I know another massive technology company that has banned all internal (not customer-facing) meetings until mid-2021 unless a vaccine is developed and distributed before then. At the same time the cultural attractions that led people to the cities – restaurants, bars, plays, sports events, concerts, etc are significantly degraded and will remain so for some time. Finally, housing costs in cities have been sky high for years. Why move to the suburbs? Why stay in Virginia?

      • “The protesters run the gamut from well-meaning, peaceful liberals who want to reform the system to enraged militants who want to destroy it.”

        Yes, yes, and many of those enraged militants want the statues to stay. Oh, you didn’t mean THOSE enraged militants?

  5. I take it as a sign of success that so many jump so fast to argue with me, Jim and some of the others here. Our reach must be growing if so many must work so hard to refute us….

    Jim’s right, and likely Stoney fears it. A mutual friend who still has an office downtown forwarded a message last week he had sent to city officials pleading for some action to restore order, and I told him to just bug out. He likes having an office near the Capitol, but bug out. After 2017 I knew my office on Stuart Circle would become untenable, even unreachable, whenever the statue was under attack again, and the lady in the office next to me also bailed out, and in her case also sold her Monument Avenue house (a stunner) while the prices held.

    The absence or prevalence of systemic racism does not justify rampant vandalism, looting, assaults (some murderous) on police, destruction of property. The equation remains wrong plus wrong equals more wrong……

    • Welcome to the snark side. Being universally attacked for bad puns and mean jokes has its advantages. Now, little grasshopper, to work on your snarkness…

      You do realize that with housing, like equities, when they start running for the exits is when you want to start looking to get in?

      Don’t know much about Richmond, so how does Monument Avenue compare to Ghent in Norfolk?

      • I assume you own considerable real estate holdings in Baltimore. People have been bugging out since 1950. Plenty of vacant row houses to choose from. You could probably pick up an entire city block of vacant row houses at a bargain price. Of course, people have been waiting 70 years for the turnaround so it must just be a matter or a little more time, right?

        • On the other hand, you don’t see me buying GM.

          Does this mean Monument Avenue really ain’t so hot?

          Balimer? That would mean I’d have to live in MD. No thanks.

          • MD feels the same way about you.

          • Nancy_Naive

            It’s true. You are MD snooty. Actually, there are some nice places in MD. I do enjoy the Annapolis waterfront. Is it Fran O’Brian’s that serves the best prime rib in the East?

    • I not sure what you are talking about but you seem pretty proud of yourself so congratulations. Glad if I was able to help in any way.

  6. Besides, Larry, it really doesn’t matter how you characterize the protesters, or how I characterize them. It matters how the property-owning, tax-paying residents of Richmond think of them. If they perceive the city as descending into lawlessness, they will leave. We can flap our jaws all we want, and it won’t matter one whit.

    • I agree, but I think you fail to see what is really happening and go straight to the doom and gloom narrative.

      Young people will populate the cities – the older and those who have kids may flee…

      but again – are you characterizing Richmond or all cities across the country here?

      come on.. step up… are you saying that cities across the country are “descending” into lawlessness and middle income folks en masse are leaving?

      • Try reading what I actually wrote. And try real hard not to engage in what CrazyJD, in a comment above, calls the “fallacy of extension.”

      • Some cities have been growing over the last 10 – 15 years. Some have been shrinking. The cities that have been growing generally have been gentrifying as well. That’s certainly the case in DC. Probably Richmond too. Will the people who moved into the growing cities stay there given the lockdown and related lack of cultural events, the sky high real estate caused by gentrification and now the unrest? It’s quite possible that the relatively recently arrived will leave the growing cities.

        As for “all cities” being the same – not really. Baltimore’s protests have been very peaceful. I get the distinct impression that the good people of Charm City had their fill of senseless violence in 2015 and see no reason to repeat such stupidity in 2020.

  7. Middle class flight? Anyone who would voluntarily board an airplane in the pandemic is nuts. Besides, life’s to short to fly coach, or whatever middle class is.

  8. Tom has a legitimate point. Jim is clever at how he words his missives.. but if you read them carefully – you can hone in on his real points.

    You really can’t reasonably claim that a small group of vandals are causing entire cities to change the way they are doing business – but then again that’s what Jim is saying.. and he’s focusing just on Richmond.

    The same dynamics are going on across the country in dozens of cities… and yet – we are to believe that it’s really just a small group of vandals and such that are causing all these changes…

    I think some live in denial… they start off with little denials than events progress – they fall into bigger and bigger denials and just refuse to admit the realities.

  9. Again, Larry, since you have failed to miss the point: What does it matter who or what is responsible and to what extent? When folks are afraid their city is under attack and/or disorder reigns, they will leave, and that progress, that revitalization of Richmond Jim talks about, will be sent down the crapper. How do you suppose Richmond was gradually replaced as Richmond by Short Pump before the revitalization of downtown? Two steps forward, four steps back.

    Oh , and let’s just read into Jim’s clever missives what we want to read in and ignore what he actually says.

    “When I use a word,” said Humpty Dumpty in a rather scornful tone, “it means exactly what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less” –Charles Dodgson, “Through the Looking Glass”

  10. Jim is right. The “protests” will set the city back 20 years. People will quietly vote with their feet if they feel the city is not safe and ungovernable. I have spoken to many people who say they will no longer go downtown. Mayor Stoney has shown no leadership and has sided with the mob. This will not make Richmond an attractive place to do business nor attract development. Keep-in mind the city was facing a huge economic challenge from coronavirus in and of itself, adding this to the mix makes the problem all the more difficult.

    Other cities have bigger problems. People are leaving New York in droves and their tourist industry is essentially dead. Atlanta, Seattle, Tampa, quite a few cities.

    • ‘The “protests” will set the city back 20 years.’

      The small-mindedness of its leaders and residents have held Richmond back for 40+ years. Same goes for the surrounding counties.

      Take down the statues.

  11. Urban living was already being reconsidered, including by young people, because of COVID even before Minneapolis. It is not hard to understand that recent events might boost the numbers some.

    From PYMNTS.com, May 14
    “The COVID-19 pandemic is prompting many Americans to consider moving from urban areas to the suburbs or rural locales – a potentially bad sign for businesses like offices and downtown restaurants.’

    ‘A Harris Poll of 2,050 U.S. adults conducted from April 25-27 found that 39 percent of city residents said the COVID-19 crisis has prompted them to consider living in less crowded places.’

    ‘Perhaps most surprisingly, 18- to-34-year-olds – who are considered to be at a low risk of dying from the virus – were more likely than other age groups to say they’re considering a move.’

    “Space now means something more than square feet,” Harris CEO John Gerzema said. “Already beset by high rents and clogged streets, the virus is now forcing urbanites to consider social distancing as a lifestyle.’ “

    • Exactly. Epidemics + riots will make many reconsider urban living.

      Jim, you haven’t frequented the blog long enough to know this, but I have been a huge proponent of urban revitalization and a foe of “suburban sprawl” for twenty years. I am rapidly reconsidering my beliefs.

      • And I’ve been debating you on this for 15 years. The issue isn’t urban vs suburban it’s low density vs high density. A 60,000 person, well planned, well executed enclave like Reston can provide walkable, mixed use living well outside the boundaries of any city. Money Magazine rated Reston as the best place to live in Virginia back in 2018. Having worked in the Town Center for 11 years I agree.

        You can have absurd sprawl alongside high density, walkable locales within the same county. I’d hold out West Springfield in Fairfax County as an example of the former and Reston, the Mosaic District and (perhaps) Tysons in Fairfax as examples of the latter,

  12. Another factor is the Zoom-era which makes tele-work from rural areas more possible. On the positive side, if the reforms lead to more community-focus police forces (eg; per the Camden NJ example, which we lived near there and my social worker spouse actually worked in Camden) then there could be further positive atmosphere in the cities, given the passage of time and healing. Hard to say just now, but we can speculate either way.

  13. White flight. I remember those days. It was the last time there were marches for civil rights. Funny, how nothing ever really changes. Oh, one thing has changed. Then, whites were about 87% of the population. Now, they’re maybe 60%. More chance that any changes won’t be just lip service and will work this time.

    • Not just white flight. Significant numbers of African-Americans left big cities for their suburbs starting in the 1970s. For example, “Godfrey Hodgson of the Guardian reported that 100,000 African Americans left Chicago for the suburbs during the same period, more than 100,000 in Atlanta, and 224,000 in Washington. Chicago’s largely black Woodlawn neighborhood went from 80,000 residents (in 1960) and 800 commercial establishments (in 1950) to 24,000 residents and about 100 commercial establishments in 1990.” https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2020/06/22/rioting-again/

  14. Jim says the (white?) middle class will leave the city. Hot flash! They left 50 years ago. What he means is that the white UPPER class people who can afford Monument Avenue abodes may leave. So tragic! Jim always defends the rich. Good dog!

  15. As Larry would say: Geez, Peter.
    How do you manage to pack so many fallacies in a four line post? You combine the verbal fallacy of impromptu definition with the straw man extension AND oversimplification arguments in the same breath and then top it all off with the fallacy of neglected aspect. Wow!
    You seem to think that because the middle class left the city 50 years ago that the new urban middle class is the same bunch of people (neglected aspect). Then you extend Jim’s argument by both redefining the meaning of middle class as Jim uses it with oversimplification to mean only the white middle class. Well done, Peter. You da’ man. 😉

    • Crazy, if liberals didn’t have illogic, they wouldn’t have any logic at all!

      (Pardon my ad hominem attack. I couldn’t resist.)

      • “….if liberals didn’t have illogic, they wouldn’t have any logic at all!”

        Well, to paraphrase Orson Welles, “The Republicans have laid sole claim to moral certitude and intellectual superiority for the last 50 years, and what have they given us? Donald Trump!”

        Well, at least the Swiss gave us the clock. The Republicans just gave us the bird.

  16. CrazyJD and I do mean crazy. Do you know Richmond? Do you understand the changes that black and white younger people have made? Many of them are likely protesting. Bacon does not understand this either. He’s white elite and if you don’t agree count the number of African Americans who contribute to this blog. It is primarily wealthy, elderly white guys from the West End and Henrico.

    • And here we go changing the subject.

      I have to run to the post office before it closes. But fear not, there are only 3-4 fallacies in your last post.

    • Well, this *IS* the blog where the clientele is of such an age that Woodstock warranted a blog post.

    • Richmond –

      Population by race …

      “As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 204,214 people living in the city. 50.6% were Black or African American, 40.8% White, 2.3% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.6% of some other race and 2.3% of two or more races. 6.3% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).”

      Income …

      “The median income for a household in the city was $31,121, and the median income for a family was $38,348. Males had a median income of $30,874 versus $25,880 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,337. About 17.1% of families and 21.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.9% of those under age 18 and 15.8% of those age 65 or over.”

      Income inequality …

      “The Gini index for Richmond is 0.5413. That ranks No. 16 among the 3,143 counties included in the American Community Survey. (The U.S. Census Bureau treats Virginia’s independent cities as counties.) Manhattan (New York County) has the biggest income gap in the country, with a Gini index of 0.5994.

      Moreover, Richmond had the third-highest level of income inequality among counties with at least 150,000 residents. Of these 401 localities, only New York County and Orleans Parish, La., had a higher Gini index than Richmond.

      Richmond had more income inequality than San Francisco and Los Angeles counties in California; Suffolk County (Boston), Massachusetts; Miami-Dade County, Florida; and the New York suburbs of Fairfield County, Connecticut, and Westchester County, New York.

      Richmond has the greatest income inequality in Virginia by far; the runners-up are Northampton County on the Eastern Shore, with a Gini index of 0.5291, and Charlottesville, at 0.5138.

      Among Virginia’s 134 localities, incomes were more equal in Henrico County, which ranked 49th with an index of 0.4385, and Chesterfield County ranked 102nd with an index of 0.3979. Craig County has the lowest income inequality in Virginia, and one of the lowest in the nation, with an index of 0.3375.”

      Peter – how many wealth people (of whatever race) leaving Richmond will cause a financial problem?

      https://rvanews.com/news/richmond-ranks-high-income-inequality/107293#:~:text=The%20Gini%20index%20for%20Richmond,Virginia's%20independent%20cities%20as%20counties.)

      • Really good post about just how deep the divide in Richmond is. None of these protests should surprise anyone in Richmond.

        Of Virginia and its neighboring states, Richmond feels, by far, the most segregated of the major cities. In 2018, I went to one of the top 2 or 3 (depending on who’s doing the ranking) restaurants in Richmond. There were about 50 patrons…all of whom were white except for one East Asian lady. The entire wait staff was black or Hispanic. It really felt like you were back in 1950s Virginia.

        In the past decade, I’ve never experienced anything like that in Raleigh or Charlotte or DC or Charlottesville or Nashville (all cities I’ve visited in the past 10 years). Richmond’s de facto segregation is overwhelming.

        I can’t imagine why these protests are occurring…

        • The whole attitude in Richmond is bizarre. I met my first native Richmonders in the year Joe Biden said he didn’t want his kids growing up in a racial jungle – 1977. I had just graduated from a completely integrated public high school (maybe 25% black kids) and matriculated to UVA. When I met the first rubber shoes, khaki and lime green gator shirt wearing Richmonders I thought they were pulling my leg with The Lost Cause, War Between the States or “those people”. No, they were serious. Poorly educated in expensive private schools these preppies were convinced that Richmond was the center of the segregated universe. My first year roommate was a white guy from my high school football team. Across the hall lived two black guys who grew up together in Richmond. They were former football players too so we hung out together. I asked them once why they didn’t hang out with any of the white guys from Richmond that lived on our hall. “That isn’t going to work.” said one. “No interest” said the other.

          I assume the attitude of wealthy white Richmonders has changed over the years. At least I hope so. But back in the late 70s and early 80s (when Eastern Shore native Ralph Northam was in blackface with a date in klan robes) the plantation elite in Virginia were about as racist as it gets.

    • Peter, I’m *wealthy* and a member of the *white elite*? Wow, I didn’t know. Will you be my publicist?

    • Some elderly and not wealthy.

  17. I would love to. What are the rates? An occasional tuna salad at Paneras doesn’t count.

  18. I think that the young that “gentrified” Richmond are becoming middle age and would have moved anyway. They are also becoming middle class.

  19. JD
    You clearly missed the main point of my post. It was not so much about the subject but rather about Jim’s choice of terms. His terms were not only emotion laden but very sweeping. Only with regard to “radicals” did he attempt to clarify. I do find it interesting that he is unable or unwilling to explain what he meant by the terms that he chose. He has not even answered a straight forward question regarding systemic racism. Jim appears to be someone who perhaps has a need to be provocative.

  20. Well, this may come as a shock, but actually, nationwide, the flight is back to the cities and has been.

    “According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program, there remains a general migration from rural areas to urban cities, with cities in the warmer states of Florida, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Arizona seeing large increases.”

    https://www.thespruce.com/map-shows-where-people-are-moving-2435876

    There are links provided to Forbes population map, alas 2012 update and Census data results (2017) within.

    Now, will the epidemic and civil unrest change those trends? Not likely. Some pressure-washing and the city will look brand new, well, as new as Richmond could ever look, which means like a poorly maintained AMC Pacer.

    • Poorly written article. ” … a general migration from rural areas to urban cities …” Urban cities? As opposed to rural cities? Jim’s example was somebody moving from the City of Richmond to Henrico County. No doubt an “urban city” to “urban city” move by the article’s standards.

      People have been moving from rural to urban areas for 300 years. But not all urban centers (i.e. cities in the legal sense) are created equal. Detroit, Buffalo, Baltimore, St Louis have all been hemorrhaging population.

      My hypothesis … Given that Virginia is the only state where cities are never in counties the movement of wealth from the City of Richmond to Henrico County would have more significance than a similar move from the City of Chicago to a suburban area inside Cook County.

      The City of Richmond has utterly failed to thrive for the past 100 years. In the early part of the last century it was bigger than Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, etc. Over the past 100 years, the City of Richmond’s population growth lagged that of the United States and dramatically lagged the growth of many other southern cities. Recently the City of Richmond has begun to grow. Continuing that growth would be very good for Virginia. However, I suspect that the early stages of a city’s growth are tenuous. It wouldn’t take much for Richmond to move back into contention as the most irrelevant city in the south.

      • That’s why I included the Pew Center paper below.

        Like Balimer, I don’t stop in Richmond. Just take the 295 around it and take the 95 or continue on the 64. I cannot honestly say that if I were driving on the 95 from Maryland to North Carolina that I still wouldn’t take the 295.

        Like the man said, “There are only 3 cities in the US; New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. The rest are Cleveland in various sizes.”

  21. https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2018/05/22/what-unites-and-divides-urban-suburban-and-rural-communities/

    Page 7 is very illuminating on why BR’s contributors are so pessimistic.

    “In urban areas, Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents are about three times as likely as their Republican or Republican-leaning counterparts (31% vs. 9%) to say all or most of their neighbors share their political views.”

    Before you call Mayflower, you might want to read the paper in detail. It is true that the grass looks greener; keyword “looks”.

    • I’ve lived in Manhattan, the City of Chicago, urbanized areas in the DC suburbs, suburban areas of the DC suburbs and rural Maryland. The only place where people of different income levels routinely interact in social situations is rural Maryland. As I recall, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote about the depth of social interaction among Americans “of different stations in life” that he observed on his journeys through the US. No more. Richie Riches in Richmond interact with other Richie Riches in Richmond while Moneybag Marys in McLean interact with other Moneybag Marys in McLean.

      Once upon a time professional sports were an exception. You would see people in Range Rovers tailgating with people in beat up pickup trucks at Redskins games. But the price hikes in professional sports has increasingly made those events a rich folks only venue.

  22. CrazyJD,
    I am interested in what you have to say but please be advised that I ignore your debating tips. I am really not interested in your advice. I do not know why you think you should be the referee here. I’ve only been participating on this blog for about 15 years or so. Thanks!

    • Not meant to give you debating tips. It’s meant to call out your reasoning, which most times is fallacious beyond belief. I really don’t care whether you consider it advice or tips, or whether you pay any attention at all. Somebody else called it referreing, not me.

  23. I guess “fallacious” translates to you don’t agree with it. Your opinion. Don’t really care

    • JD is right. When I call Ralph Northam “Coonman the Con Man” I’m not really responding to his policies. When you criticize Jim Bacon’s arguments citing his being an old white man from the West End (whatever that means) you are not addressing his argument. Of course you are free to post whatever you want. However, JD is also free to point out where people on this blog stop dealing with the issue at hand and drift in fallacious argumentative styles. Personally, I welcome the criticism from JD. I think I know when I am intentionally avoiding the matter at hand in order to be theatrical but I may have gotten to the point where it’s now unconscious.

      • Appreciate the support, DJ. Engaging in fallacious reasoning gets all of us off the mark at times, including Crazy people. Now, if I can just get folks to understand what they’re doing when they so engage… But on this point, I’m reminded of that old Steve Martin skit, Theodoric of York, on SNL ……Nahhhhh

  24. Fallacy of impromptu definition when you “translate” fallacious to agreement with opinion. Makes it easier to avoid the problem of the fallacious reasoning in the first place. Fallacies are a little like math. 2+2 = 4, unless fallacious reasoning is being used, in which case it equals whatever you say or want it to equal.

    “When I use a word,” said Humpty Dumpty in a rather scornful tone, “it means exactly what i choose it to mean, neither more nor less” Charles Dodgson, Through the Looking Glass

    • The are an infinite number of rings and fields wherein 2+2 is not 4. But continue.

      • Maybe at higher levels of math, but not usually at the level ordinarily referred to when making this kind of argument. But if you want to define away the problem in that manner, feel free.

  25. Ripper. Blogging should be fun with some kidding. This is not a courtroom. BR is taking itself too seriously these days. I’m not exactly doing this for the money.

    • Really? I get a very large check every month from Bacon, Inc for my contributions. At $1 per conservative comment it can really add up! Lol. I’m with you on the fun part and Jimbo is a great writer and strong commentariat but not quite a comedic genius. But he does write the vast majority of material and has kept this blog alive during periods when he was writing virtually all of the material. So I guess we won’t vote him off the island just yet.

  26. Peter,

    You may think that BR is “taking itself too seriously these days”, but “un-serious” or “kidding” is surely not the tone and tenor of most of your remarks. But, as others have said, you’re free to post what you want.

    I rather like the real information that I get here from DJ, Steve, Dick and others who cite authorities, preferably with links. Larry sometimes falls into this camp, though I probably disagree with him most of the time, and his use of the information in argument often defies logic. Anyway, BR is different from the obviously biased sources on TV who seem to prevaricate an awful lot of the time.
    I think BR should run with the “serious” format. It could be built as a real news site to which subscribers could turn to for the best information. It wouldn’t hurt that both sides are presented in a fair way.

    Absolute fairness is a laudable if elusive goal. In another context, I remember the independent testing outfit in Akron, OH that tested…wait for it….tires. Every so often back in the day, tires used to burst on the road and cause a wreck. Not so much any more, but it used to be fairly regular occurrence. The lawsuit that went to court was very rare, because the offending tire(s) would be sent to this independent outfit for their opinion. Both the tire companies and plaintiff’s lawyers trusted the independence and credibility of this outfit, and the cases were usually resolved based on what it said about the tires.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to have such an outfit for news and information? BR could be that outfit, just as the New York Times used to be the paper of record, but everybody would have to up their game with respect to their reasoning. Just sayin’

    If you find BR too serious, I suppose you could take the avenue you took a while back and not bother with BR.

  27. I’m not sure why Jim’s column has generated so much heated criticism.

    There are several comments to the effect that it’s not a problem if current, older residents will move out because they will be replaced by younger people. This is a fair response to Jim’s comment.

    But a lot of other comments seem to wander far from the point Jim was making.

    My understanding of Jim’s premise seems simple enough – people have alternatives to living where they live. If they don’t like what is happening where they live, they can move. Jim concludes that a significant number of middle class residents (together with upper middle class and upper class) don’t like what’s happening and will move out, and this will be detrimental to the city.

    A fair critique explains why you believe a significant number of residents will not move out or why it won’t be detrimental if they do.

  28. Fairfax County has seen a significant number of people with middle incomes (obviously the the middle is higher here than in many other places) leave the County over the last 10-15 years. They have been replaced with more lower-income people. This is not to suggest the latter are less industrious; they just bring fewer skills to the market. A lot of higher income people remain and will likely remain unless they decide to retire elsewhere.

    But as everyone except the MSM and many young people know, there aren’t enough rich people to pay the freight. To do expensive things, lots of other people must pay more. And unlike the federal income tax, lower income people pay real estate (directly or indirectly in rent) and sale taxes.

    Before COVID-19 hit, Fairfax County was displaying its wokeness by proposing a big spending budget to reflect its “values.” But even there, Jeff McKay was smart enough to worry publicly that the increased spending and higher real estate taxes were going to make housing less affordable to some, many of whom had lower incomes. Needless to say, that budget died as COVID-19 grew but the economics remain.

  29. Regarding Richmond, I believe there are factors that mitigate any flight out of the city. The Richmond real estate market is very tight right now. There is a very tight inventory of single family homes. They sell very quickly. My dentist is retiring and he had six offers as soon as he put his home on the market. In the city, rents have skyrocketed. Many young people in their 20s and 30s can’t afford decent apartments. My daughter was in the market for a house a few years ago and lost out on several good prospects. In fact, Richmond has advanced so much that both of my children want to stay here. When I last lived in Richmond in the early 1980s, I couldn’t wait to leave since the atmosphere was so oppressively conservative. In any event, the unrest will die out. We never discuss Trump on this blog but his endless abrasive tweets are really fueling the current mess (can’t wait to read Bolton’s book.Does Britain have nukes? Is Finland part of Russia?)

  30. CrazyJD. You are talking about turning BR into a real news service. I have some experience having worked as a freelancer for Bloomberg News and CBS. To do that, BR would have to start paying people. I can easily do straight, detailed reporting but I can’t do it for free. I have bills to pay and mouths to feed. BR is a very small part of my workload. Also, blogging is commentary. I have blogged at Bnet, CBS and the WaPo. I don’t know what your definition of blogging is.

    • I’m not sure that I’m talking about a real news service. That would seem to imply simply dealing with news, usually defined as what happened in the last 24 hours or so. The “bloggers” on this site seem to be good at going behind the immediate “who shot John” stuff, and delving into stuff that gives context. I’ll defer to you on the point.

      I’m thinking along the lines of what WSJ does in its editorials, which tends to be more along the lines of stating a bunch of factual information and letting those facts speak for themselves. (BTW, I don’t subscribe to the notion that everyone is entitled to their own facts, though I do subscribe to the notion that everyone is entitled to my opinion ). Credibility of information would be absolutely critical, though I think it adds value to then have those facts interpreted differently by either side, if such is possible.

      Does anyone who posts on this blog get paid? Yet we get some pretty good stuff. If what I’m envisioning were to get going, eventually there might be some money, but I never heard of anyone in journalism who got into the business because he thought he might make the equivalent of a Goldman Sachs salary.

      Really thinking out loud here.

  31. “I don’t subscribe to the notion that everyone is entitled to their own facts.” You’ve certainly never read editorials from the Post. They may not make them up but they regularly suppress facts that aren’t consistent with their opinions.

    • That’s where I think commentators on this blog can provide a service by supplying those other facts, as long as they don’t make them up.

  32. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    I examined this source for 2000 and 2010 Census in Richmond. If you look under the tables for Age and Race there are some revealing facts. Richmond has a large bubble of black and white residents between the age of 20 and 35. If a large portion of that bubble leaves the city it will be a generational setback. You can also see an interactive map. I thought that was revealing as well. Richmond looks just as segregated now as it was a half a century ago.
    http://censusviewer.com/city/VA/Richmond

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