Breathless is the title of a 1961 French movie starring Jean- Paul Belmondo. Reading my friend John McCaslin’s banner headline in last week’s edition [“Tiny Rappahannock ranks near the top nationally — and it isn’t necessarily flattering,” July 6] I felt as if Jean Luc Godard’s parody of Hollywood thrillers was being replicated in our own community. Only this time, the Rappahannock News was trying to parody the mainstream media.
Quick, convene a citizens’ committee! The sky is falling down. What’s that, income disparity? Age disparity? Folks having to travel all the way to Culpeper or Warrenton or Front Royal just to buy a loaf of bread! An outrage!
Mr. McCaslin writes, “. . . the median age in the county is just under 50 years old, a whopping decade-plus older than the state’s average of 37.6.” Well, we can’t have that can we? Perhaps we can push some of the older folks into nearby out of county retirement homes and provide financial incentives for Rappahannock Millennials to have more children.
Shockingly, the “report projects that by 2040 the number of young adults aged 20 to 24 in Rappahannock will actually “decline” due to lack of jobs and housing opportunities. The largest segment of the population, adults 25 to 64, will remain “stagnant.”
Don’t you just love those choice of words? “Decline,” “Stagnant.” “Whopping.” Get the picture? Doomsday just around the corner. No one must be seen defending decline and stagnation.
There’s an obvious solution to the editorialist’s breathless alarms. In order to get the county’s statistics in line with the Virginia state average, families with incomes above the state median should have their property taxes quadrupled so they are forced to move out. The income derived from those who remain, who can sustain this increase, will be used for subsidized housing for anyone who qualifies as below the state median.
To accelerate this process the county comprehensive plan must be immediately abolished so that twenty-six acre properties currently occupied by just one family can be subdivided into half-acre lots that can be occupied by 52 families. Just think of the building boom and all the employment created in the building trades!
These new median income families will bring in more children, thereby accomplishing the additional goal of lowering the median age. Naturally, the increase in population density will necessitate box stores and strip malls, since no median family should be expected to drive all the way to Culpeper, Warrenton or Front Royal to do their shopping.
Finally, when all this has been achieved and we can all feel really good about ourselves we can change the name of the county from Rappahannock to Fairfax. Just so no one is confused.
A “breathless” but eminently worthwhile goal!