Our local “brain drain” is a cause for concern

While it might be quaint, at least for some longtime locals, for old-timers such as our quaint cartoonist R.L. Crabb to be the heroes in our quaint towns, we’ve got a brain drain going on in our towns like we’ve never seen. And it’s going to impact our future, not our past. It’s the Elephant in the Corner.

We need people who can help our towns grow, but we are losing some of the best:

•Caleb Dardick, who has reenergized SYRCL, which protects the South Yuba River — one of our greatest assets. He is returning to the Bay Area.

•Bob Richardson, the Grass Valley city manager who has moved back to Auburn.

•Mark Prestwich, the Nevada City city manager who has moved on to St. Helena.

•Julie Baker, the executive director of The Center for the Arts who has stepped down, but thankfully will remain a consultant in town. Let’s hope her influence remains strong.

There are others I can think of, merchants and locals who have worked tirelessly for the Grass Valley Downtown Association and made it relevant.

But the challenge is that people can find success elsewhere: Just ask the owners of restaurants such as Citronee Bistro in Nevada City, who now have not one but two thriving restaurants in Santa Barbara. Others in the arts and culture scene have moved on to more prestigious jobs outside of the area.

This is not going unnoticed by astute locals. And it comes in the context of an aging, declining population — and declining school enrollment.

One of the problems in our community is a resistance to change. But without change, you go nowhere.

Let’s hope this attitude can be reversed — for our community’s sake.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

3 thoughts on “Our local “brain drain” is a cause for concern”

  1. But that is the known brain drain. I wonder about the kids who are smart, ambitious, and could create good jobs in this area after they go to college and want to start families. The ones who are going to leave and won’t come back. They will end up going to where the opportunity is, and with the way it is around here now, they won’t be coming back. That is the real brain drain, the future generations of adults who can make a difference.

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