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S1E5 The gang goes to McLean!

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In the last episode, Farrah reveals the source text for the Millennial Myth was written by an economist and a cultural commentator based on light research they did in McLean, VA in the late 1990’s. Farrah and Adam asked themselves, is McLean an appropriate stand in for the entire world? The entire U.S.? As it turns out, it might not be an appropriate representative sample for the state of Virginia. Farrah and Adam compare the U.S. census around the time of this book and since to shed light on possible challenges to the conclusions of the book, and the ongoing crumbling myth. Then, Adam is joined by historians of McLean, Merrily Pierce and Paul Kohlenberger who give a quick history and talk about the unique origins of city and surrounding area.

In The Demo, a podcast about how stories of groups are created, subverted and destroyed. On the first season, we pursue the origins of the Millennial Myth. Farrah Bostic is the founder and Head of Research & Strategy of, The Difference Engine, a strategic insights consultancy focused on helping business leaders make decisions. Adam Pierno, author and brand consultant and managing director of brand strategy at Arizona State University. Our host is voiced by Eliza, a robot created by

Music by 0megaMan under the Creative Commons license. Learn more and find research and supporting materials at

Show outline (which is generated by another robot;
Introduction to the episode.
9:00 Education representation in the United States
12:39 Understanding the demographics of the area
18:36 Looking at voting records for Mclean
25:13 How did the civic league get its start?
30:30 Mclean as an affluent suburb
35:40 What does it take to buy a house in Mclean?
41:03 How did the neighborhood look like then?
46:56 The economic reality of living in the suburbs
50:45 Youth in the clean area
56:30 Protecting your kids from threats
1:00:57 The pressure to succeed in school
1:06:43 Paul’s closing closing thoughts


Eliza T Robot 0:02
Welcome to In the demo, a show about the stories that get told about groups, how those stories got made, what we think those stories get wrong, and why it matters, you hosts. Farah Bostick is the founder and head of research and strategy of the difference engine, a strategic insights consultancy focused on helping business leaders make decisions. Adam, piano author and brand consultant and Managing Director of brand strategy at Arizona State University. You are now in the demo.

Adam Pierno 0:40
I’m Adam Pierno, no Generation X.

Farrah Bostic 0:43
And I’m Farrah Bostic, the Apple IIe Generation.

Adam Pierno 0:48
How many of these are there like you have enough to do the whole season with these nicknames? Your screen, I can tell you in a certain point.

Farrah Bostic 0:56
It’s true. I have I am I’m now taking some artistic license and creating my own. Okay. We can you know, kind of cultural artifacts that seem to define that period. So we

Adam Pierno 1:06
know people, I bet you we could get these injected into the culture and get them mainstreamed. Or at least added to a Huffington.

Farrah Bostic 1:12
It’s true. I would. Oh, totally. Yeah. More More HuffPo articles about the Apple TV generation for sure. Perfect. And how we’re totally shaping culture every day in our late 40s. Every day,

Adam Pierno 1:25
people love people love hearing from us people in our mid 40s. We’re driving culture. Absolutely. When we last left off, Farah, if you remember, yes, we looked at the urtext for millennials, millennials rising. And we had as we usually do some questions about methadone methodology about the way the data was considered and assembled and the narrative that was built on top of it. And some of that is due in part to the way that the data is referenced in the indices of the book, which is well vague. So we did a couple of things. We did some of our own research as we’re wanting to do, because we are nerds. And we also reached out to some people that were participants in the book, we reached out to some people that have a really good background of the area in which the research was done, which is the beautiful McLean, Virginia.

Farrah Bostic 2:30
Yes. Are you I’m so excited. I’m so excited to talk about McLean, Virginia, a place that I’ve I think I’ve driven past.

Adam Pierno 2:40
I have a couple of times. I haven’t been there yet. But I think the more people that I’ve spoken to preparing for this, this episode, the more I would like to visit there. It seems like a lovely pace. And everybody that I’ve met from there’s like gracious and lovely and friendly. So it seems like a nice place to stop and have a cocktail very late.

Farrah Bostic 3:01
We should do that. We should do like a New York Times style, like find a diner. Oh, I love it. If such a thing exists in McLean and just like bring our microphones and talk to people at the diner hired diners in McLean, Virginia, though?

Adam Pierno 3:16
That’s a great question based on the demographics in the economic data that we’re pulling. I’m not sure there are diners. I think there probably are a bunch of like white tablecloth steak houses we could go to,

Farrah Bostic 3:28
perhaps a bistro.

Adam Pierno 3:30
Exactly, exactly. I’m not sure if there’s like a Fox News style or like New York Times diner style highway diner where you can just go get the every man’s opinion. So I think we have to figure I think we’d have to figure that part out. Yes, but we’ve done. So if if you didn’t listen to the previous episode, you probably wouldn’t want to go back and do that. Because in the book, millennials are rising. A lot of the conclusions that are presented there are based on research the author’s did, they did use some national data, but they also did some research into the area in which they lived McLean, Virginia. And as we were reading Millennials rising, and as we were having these conversations fair, and I both came to a pretty quick observation, that is McLean. I didn’t know anything about it. But I thought is that a good representation of the United States or globally, because we’re making some pretty big assertions about what could be 100 million people, we probably want to make sure we have a rep sample. And that led us down this it’s not quite a rabbit hole, but it led us down this path of doing some some research, which is the kind of standard research both fair and I would do as part of our regular work, better understanding an audience better understanding a group better understanding a demographic set, trying to get to the bottom of what works and what doesn’t. So by Before we talk about the Data Fair, I shared a spreadsheet with you that is comparative between McLean, Virginia, Fairfax County, which which is where McLean is located. And the United States Census, both from the year 2000. Around the time, millennials, risin was written, and 2020. So I just thought we could extrapolate out and see like, well, what’s happened since then? And what was what was your reaction upon looking at the data and those rows and those columns,

Farrah Bostic 5:27
I think, I think I sort of instinctively thought about, like, having looked at a map at some point in time that give them the physical location of both McLean and Fairfax, that this was probably not an area that was like a perfect microcosm of the general population of the United States. It’s super close to DC to the Pentagon to major government institutions, federal government institutions. And so just like my surmise, would have been, this is a lot of federal employees or federal contractors or military and, and that it’s just not gonna look like, you know, I don’t know Hillsboro, Oregon, where I went to high school, you know, it’s just not gonna look like that spot. And so when we opened this up, I was like, well, it does not look like America. But the ways it doesn’t look like America are particularly interesting. Like it’s, yeah, that that was the first thing that stood out to me. It looks like and it seems to be looking less like America over time. Yeah.

Adam Pierno 6:33
It’s like it got worse in the year 2000. It looks like a version of America. It looks like the America that was on movie screens in the year 2000. Like, it is totally,

Farrah Bostic 6:43
that’s a really good way to describe it. Yeah,

Adam Pierno 6:46
not that diverse. And I do want to go back to millennials rising, when they credit when they reference the research they did in McLean. And what they did was a some surveys of high school students and educators in McLean, Virginia. And that, that makes sense. That’s a good way to get to that audience. But they would say that I don’t have the language right in front of me. But they say this, this represents a match a demographic match. And I think what they meant was racially, and if you look racially, I mean, if you squint at it, it’s, it’s close, it’s close, it’s close enough that I wouldn’t throw a tantrum, although the percentage of Asian alone is his real distortion, that probably breaks their numbers. But that would depend on knowing what the High School census was. I thought what they leave out is the economic representation. And in some of the early conversations we had with people from McLean and other people, right off the bat, like if we just start scrolling through the, I’m looking at basic census data, this is not genius level research. I’m not making seven lilypad jokes, this is median value of owner occupied housing units. The in 2000, the median for the United States part of the census was $119,000, median value of their home. And in McLean, Virginia, it’s 388,000. So more than three times the amount that is, statistically speaking, I popping, that’s a huge, that’s a huge disparity. So right there, if your house is worth three times the national average, you have a different set of values, a different set of challenges, a different set of fears, different lifestyle. And it suggests other things about the safety of your neighborhoods, the quality of your schools, like we can infer all of that, from starting with that step. That’s not the only step. What’s the next step that jumps out to you that for me, I was like, Oh, that tells me everything I need to know. And then looking at how it’s changed over 20 years, it’s it’s more than it’s almost 5x now. Yeah,

Farrah Bostic 9:00
I think the other thing that stood out to me was the was the education representation. So the, you know, the bachelor’s degree or higher that, you know, that’s been growing in the United States over time, but it’s still like a third of the US has, uh, at this point in time has a, at least a bachelor’s degree in 2000. It’s about a quarter have a bachelor’s degree, but in McLean, three quarters have a bachelor’s degree or higher. You know, the high school graduation rate is near nearly 100% whereas it’s about 80% and 2000 for the rest of the US. So this is a highly educated area as well. And it’s it’s also like outperforming the county it’s in by more than two times. On the bachelors degree Yeah. Like that’s why I pulled that

Adam Pierno 9:52
county data it because yeah, if you’re then if you’re I’m so glad you highlighted this, this stat because they Then if you say, we went to students, and in McLean schools and educators, and that’s where our research ended. What that tells me is you’re getting input from very high performing students with a high persistence and success rate, who have a particular outlook because they are supported by educated teachers, who are living comfortable lives. You know, I’m extrapolating so guilty as charged, but it’s a pretty safe extrapolation that those students will have a certain outlook and certain opinion about learning and about, you know, the future and about what’s possible because of the background they have, you know, there’s a privilege at stake here.

Farrah Bostic 10:38
Absolutely. And we’ve talked about this in other contexts, but like, if you’re, if your parents are working as contractors, or employees or they’re serving in the federal government or the military, like, your attitude towards those institutions, is going to be different than people whose immediate family don’t do that. Yeah. And that’s not to say that, like your cynicism might not grow over time. But like, as a kid, you know, like, look, I mean, my dad worked for a couple of years for ADP. And I still have some sort of like, very way down deep kind of reaction when I see ADP ads, where I’m like, Oh, that’s nice place. Like, I have no idea if it’s a nice place or not, but like it gave my dad a job for a couple of years, had one of those cool, like static electricity balls in the lobby that you can touch and then all the electricity would go to your hand? That’s what I remember. So it must be awesome. at ADP. I think it was when I was eight. That was pretty awesome. And you know, so that’s also an interesting kind of point about, like, how how these economic factors in particular might might influence people’s attitudes to certain other things you ask them about in a survey. And, and they’re going to, and I think I think it is worth saying like it is reasonably with the exception of being more than well, about three times as likely two or three times the rate, the national rate of Asian alone households, which has kind of held steady over time. With the exception of that it’s fairly, racially representative of the US is a little wider. But it’s not not so much to your point that you’d be annoyed about it. It’s, it’s much less black or African American. But it’s, you know, but you could kind of like you say, squint and say, well, it’s reasonably diverse. And so we can, we can say that it’s representative on that basis. But once you start getting into income and the cost of living, it’s so out of proportion to the rest of the country, that that that starts to really inflect how you would even begin to understand any of the rest of the demographics, the way that they’re living the types of homes, the parents, employers, all of that. Yeah, so it’s going to change the way you think about the world.

Adam Pierno 13:05
Yeah, especially if I agree with you the the ends are too small on the the racial demographics to get too worked up about so it especially they their authors new to school, so I’ll just take their word for it that it was somewhat representative. When you look at, I don’t, there is no data for the year 2000. But for 2020, if you look at foreign burn born persons as a percent in the United States, that’s 13% 13 and a half percent. And in 2020. In McLean, Virginia, as a point of comparison, it’s 10 points higher, it’s 23.5%. So just that make up like let’s say we had, let’s say that is consistent, or even if it’s gone up, maybe we would go back in time and say in 2000, maybe it was 10%. That’s a big difference to that you’re surrounded by a global population, or you have access to perspectives from people there. I know that there are diplomats that live in that area, I know that there are people that are world travelers, that having access to that experience, even secondhand is a game changer in how you view the world people who would live in an insulated community. They only can see their small town and you know, whatever’s on the whatever’s proposed through the news or media. So I think that’s also one from a you know, creating a perspective. That’s another metric that that is really telling and I couldn’t find in the 2000 census. I just couldn’t find foreign born persons as a measure that was captured them.

Farrah Bostic 14:39
Well, and I think the other one that stood out for me was the the poverty rate that in 2000 ads just below 2%. For the US as a whole it was 11%. I mean, that’s so a fifth Have the rate of poverty in this area, it’s gone down even since then, according to the 2020 census 1% of people at McLean are living in poverty, versus again, about 11% of Americans. And so, you know, the rate of homeownership is higher than the national average, the rate of poverty is significantly lower, I mean, wildly lower than the national average, what you’re being exposed to on, you know, on one end of the curve is more diverse, more cosmopolitan, more more diverse, quote, unquote, you know, in the sense of like foreign born households and that sort of thing. It’s more cosmopolitan, it’s more affluent, it’s more perhaps, you know, kind of world outward facing. But it is missing the experience of being a renter. Of, of being around kids who live in Section Eight housing, being around kids whose, whose, you know, parents work, multiple jobs to afford rent in a shitty apartment, like, these kids aren’t growing up knowing a bunch of people like that. And, and that, that, again, is going to color the way that they respond to different kinds of questions on a survey, yeah, about how they feel about society and their place in it.

Adam Pierno 16:14
And that point about renting is huge. It’s, it’s in 20, in the year 2000, it was 66%, owner occupied housing rate for the United States and 20 points higher at 5.3%. in McLean, Virginia, to make your point that that does that is a different set of pressures, that is a different set of standards. That is that is a certain type of privilege. You know, that’s a certain luxury that people have in a definitely colors, the perspective that that people would have about what life is and what’s possible in life.

Farrah Bostic 16:49
Yeah, and it’s when you start thinking about the types of things that came out of that 2000 era set of research that they did, where these students in Fairfax County, McLean, Virginia schools were trusting of institutions thought that the government in general was trying to do good, had positive trusting relationships with their parents generally thought that their futures were all up into the right, you know, all going to everything was going to be great. And you know, that they would be better off in there. And all of those kinds of leaves of forward looking positivity and hopefulness. It’s kind of like, well, when you when you look at these numbers, you just kind of go well, sure. You’re already on third base, like what would make you think that you wouldn’t get knocked straight into home? Like, you would think that and, and that’s not what the average experience, or the median experience of people in the US is. And so they’re, they’re exposed to some things lots of people aren’t exposed to, and then they’re just completely not exposed to a whole bunch of things most people are exposed to. And so there’s just some disproportionality there. And, and I think this actually really gets to something we’ll talk about more when we when we dig into the methods of studying these demographic cohorts is like, there’s the on paper diversity stuff, right? That the basic demographics of age and race and gender and ethnicity and those kinds of things. And then there’s like, what are the elements of that that shaped kind of, for one of a better phrase, because it gets used in by unfortunate people, viewpoint diversity like that. That is the thing that That’s tricky. And so looking at some of these more socio economic factors give you some clues about what might be driving the viewpoints that are expressed beyond the basic demographics of age, race, gender,

Adam Pierno 18:49
now that you’re saying that I, maybe we should go look at voting record for McLean versus us to see the split, because I bet the closer you get to DC, the more centrist it is. You know, I wonder probably right. Historically, Virginia has been a blue state. But I think it would be interesting to look at the split over time of how racist have gone because that would be an interesting thing to see from that viewpoint diversity, to see if it’s sort of mushy middle there, where I work there, you work there, we’ll kind of just split our vote here. Yeah. You know what I mean, their personal friends with a lot of people that are or personally familiar with people that are running in the first place. So that could be an interesting thing to dig into as well. Maybe we’ll maybe we’ll do that and put it into another episode and file as a follow up here.

Farrah Bostic 19:40
Yeah, that could be really interesting. That’s an interesting proxy for viewpoint for sure. Well,

Adam Pierno 19:45
we were lucky to be introduced to some very important people that will jump to next in this episode, and I’m really looking forward to those Conversations.

Farrah Bostic 20:02
Yeah, we’re gonna get the kind of lived experience on the historical view, which is going to be really awesome. Yeah, it’s gonna be great.

Merrily Pierce 20:12
My generation doesn’t have a category. My name is Merrily Pierce and I have lived in the McLean community for over 60 years, and I’m a native of Washington, DC. But I have also spent a lot of my adult life living in Europe and other countries.

Adam Pierno 20:30
Didn’t know that. Paul, would you mind saying your name and generation for me?

Paul Kohlenberger 20:34
Hi, I’m Paul, Kohlenberger. I’m a Millennial.

Adam Pierno 20:37
Excellent. And we were lucky to connect because I was looking for information about McLean, Virginia. More context, as it’s cited in Millennials rising, it becomes the part of the central thesis of how millennials are living and existing in the world at the time of that publication. And I did some examination of census records to start looking at it and I wanted to talk to people since I’m located in Arizona, I wanted to talk to people who knew McLean better, who knew some of the history and so could I have found two more qualified and knowledgeable people? Um, maybe not. Would would you speak about the book that you guys have written the history that you’ve written?

Merrily Pierce 21:26
Well, I’ll give a quick overview how it came to be. It came to be out of sheer panic, because 2013 came around, and the McLean Citizens Association was approaching its centennial in 2014. And nobody could pin down the accomplishments of the organization. And I thought, well, you can’t go forward without understanding what an organization has done for 100 years, I happened to have been in an environment committee meeting at the time, and Paul was sitting in the corner, and I was moaning and groaning of oh my gosh, I’ve got to get started on putting this history together. And at the time, I believe, Paul, you were president of the McLean Historical Society. And he said, I will help. And that’s what gave me the courage to jump in with both feet, I had no idea how long it would take us to write the history of the MCA. Nevermind how many hours we spent in the county archives, running around McLean pouring up with nothing. Even our papers to the archives were not organized. So a year and a half later, we we synthesized it all down to me we didn’t summaries by 10 years, so it was easily digestible, and put it into a booklet so that we wound up with 100 years of significant accomplishments by decade.

Adam Pierno 22:45
What is what is your background that led you to even think that you would be the person that would do that merrily?

Merrily Pierce 22:53
Well, I am a former president of the McLean Citizens Association, I had also been the person that everybody don’t previous records on. And I had a close relationship with the Virginia room, the county’s archives, because I used to do legislation for the Fairfax County. So citizens, Federation Citizens Association, spent much time there. They worked with Richmond, so I knew the staff there. And I knew with that, I knew what the county archives did. And so I knew where the material was that we could use to research the history and had the staff support. But somehow, I did not know. But I realized that if anybody was going to do what I was going to have to do it, and would not probably have taken that step of Paul hat and said, I will help because it’s clearly going to be a humongous task too much for too much for one person too much for one person to approach and Paul had Paul had, I think, better better knowledge of the chronology than than I did. But

Paul Kohlenberger 23:55
I was I was completely unqualified in comparison. It was pure hubris on my part. Um, no, but I, you know, I had been on that committee and heard that Marilee needed help. I knew her someone of substance in the community that given a lot and for whom the MCA was important. And as you mentioned, I was I was serving as president of McLean historical society at that time and working with the County Historical Society as well. And I just think that the milestones are important and understanding a community’s history is very important for giving people a sense of, of belonging. And, you know, as we found, the history of the McLean Citizens Association is in many ways, the history of my client as a community. As you can imagine, an advocacy organization that looks at and works for the community interest in governmental senses and charitable senses is going to end up touching sort of anything that relates to the community and and in the case of the MCA, you know, it started as the school and Civic League so It was people that were rallying around the first consolidated Community School in Fairfax County. And it literally been until that point one room schoolhouses dotting the landscape every few miles. So so you know that school changes everything. And then the MCA coming in and you know, fundraising for blackboards and chalk and globes and books for library really started.

Merrily Pierce 25:24
It was an empty building when the first principal came in, and she established the school in Civic League. So she was our founder, basically, because she needed supplies for the school, they didn’t even have desks.

Adam Pierno 25:35
It’s interesting to read in the, in the booklet, that how the the needs of the community changed over the decades from really basic, you know, organizational things to discussions about, oh, we’re going to build a light rail system, you know, and you could see that evolution. It’s like SimCity, you know, you start out in this almost agrarian, like, to Paul’s point we need blackboards, we have these schools and we don’t have chalk in here, we need to figure this part out to okay, we’ve got this amazing city that we’ve built. And we need to figure out how to how to what’s the next evolution of it and how does it expand from there. And hold What’s your what is your background that that you said hubris, but I feel like you are

Paul Kohlenberger 26:21
I am to some extent. Um, so I, I was born in Hinsdale, Illinois, and my family moved here when I was an infant. So I’ve been in McLean since 1985, we moved around a little bit Singapore and Philadelphia and such, but I grown up here and had had had the blessing of having a mother that had been a librarian, but she stayed home with me, and always took me to the local library and the community center and the various historic sites and parks around. So I guess, you know, that’s not professional, that’s merely family, obviously. But the sort of the community was, was always a sort of very important and grounding for me, especially because we did periodically move different places for for a year or two at a time. So coming back was always sort of feeling like, you know, a grounded place. That was important. You know, professionally, I’ve done some work and Public Affairs, I’ve worked in a small private equity firm, I’ve run the greater McLean Chamber of Commerce. So a lot of those things have been working with people locally, trying to, you know, start and sustain their businesses. So it was a good sort of, I’ve been very, I’d say, bathed in the McLean of civic life for many years.

Adam Pierno 27:46
And how do you guys from from your individual and collective perspectives, you know, how do you what how do you describe McLean? And and what are the people that live there? Like?

Merrily Pierce 27:56
I think there are two McLean’s really it’s really interesting because McLean was rural and self sufficient, although closely related across the river from Washington, DC, this the county seat was 15 miles away from McLean. And so people shopped and basically worked in downtown Washington. And so it was the people who did not work professionally in Washington were dairy farmers, so heavily rural community until World War Two, and World War Two. So shortly after World War Two, of course, the government, the federal government expanded exponentially. At that time, many people came to the Washington area to work, but with the establishment in the late 1950s, we’d like to call this the perfect storm. Certainly in our in our chapter, CIA was Langley, which is a neighborhood of McLean was selected as the location that brought in 10,000 employees suddenly where there was farmland. So and not only that, then the interstate highway, we ran the beltway, which basically cut my client in half. Yeah. And then the contractor start moving and then of course, it just development just mushroomed. And so McLean is basically from that particular period. We are and of course the community seeing more and more development that there was an incredible boost for let’s protect what we’ve got. And so we have more Parkland here than other other districts in Fairfax County. But we have basically two McLean’s we’ve got inside the beltway where you have your your smaller lot sizes our business or our community our downtown is in the inside the beltway, the more affordable housing is inside the beltway and outside the beltway. We ever larger lots our custom homes and parkland. So they’re basically the the beltway cuts in half the historic greater McLean community. And all the though we share, obviously a common history. It’s very different now since the beltway came in, and what year was that? That was late 50s, early 60s, the beltway opened in 62.

Adam Pierno 30:21
Okay. Paul, what’s your, what’s your thoughts on on the the people who live there and what I mean, it’s like, it’s like

Paul Kohlenberger 30:29
what Lake Wobegon? We’re all above average. No, it’s, it’s, I think there’s a tendency to see McLean as a sort of, you know, just an affluent suburb. And I think it is, but as Marley sort of indicated, there’s there’s quite as with anything humane as you look more closely, there’s quite a lot of complexity. Yes, you have. I literally have friends to this day, whose families were part of the sort of southern landed aristocracy in the 19th century. And there’s still up until about 1520 years ago, the leaf family of Robert D leafing owned property here and my client. And at the same time, that obviously, as you said, has shifted towards mid century you had a lot of government workers, there’s still plenty of people on that are retirees from the federal or county or state government living on a pension, normal people living in 2000 square foot houses. And then over the last 3040 years, we have, you know, literal billionaires, there’s, there’s quite a lot of diversity of experience. It’s, it’s 25% foreign born at this point, yeah.

Adam Pierno 31:45
Huge, huge impact on a lot of international and then you’ve spent time living internationally as well. So you’re so your perspective, not only on McLean as an American city, but but also as a global city, because you have both spent time outside the US. And

Paul Kohlenberger 32:04
I was just gonna say the Cold War had an enormous effect. I was just reading a book I can’t remember right now, but I’ll let you know that there’s an interesting sort of social history, social history of the Cold War, looking spatially, at the different agencies, the different facilities that were built out, you know, not least the CIA here in town, which has driven frankly, a lot of, of, of population influx from the former Soviet Union from from places in Asia. So I think that’s another sort of thread that’s, that’s, you know, quite quite interesting. We have a queen newer Jordan has lived here in McLean exiles so I think that’s again, another thing where it’s, it’s it’s been a relatively stable community, but you’ve seen a lot of a lot of, there’s a very cosmopolitan aspect, one of my best friends growing up was, you know, British diplomat, son, you know, rents from India.

Merrily Pierce 33:14
The community is stable because of the presence in federal government, and government contractors, which, of course, are very well established in Fairfax County. I think of an example, when we decided to live had an opportunity to live in Europe for 567 years. And one reason we did so was to acclimate our children to living with different cultures. We wanted them to have the opportunity to have people know people of different races and cultures and languages and to have that exposure. And I always think when we came back, and I took my son to the elementary school up the road, and was the price though I shouldn’t have been that above the cafeteria. The word cafeteria was written in 37 languages. So while we were overseas, the world Lexile had moved here. So my son had the benefit of going to school and then basically an international class.

Adam Pierno 34:15
That’s a great experience to have that exposure to all those different influences. Do you think that the proximity to DC the proximity to federal government, the proximity to Langley maybe and those contractors, is that the biggest influence on what what McClane has grown into?

Merrily Pierce 34:36
It certainly has driven the high cost of real estate. Certainly, we have we have undergone in the last 2030 years, certainly since the early 90s, McMansion isation, which has happened in many urban areas, as one generation transitions out and older houses are torn down and replaced. but we also I mean, we have many people who are heads of think tanks and research organizations that are government contractors, basically a number of corporate kids that we’ve got some of them to larger office buildings, Google, Amazon has come to Fairfax County now. So people move for proximity to Washington DC, and their elected officials. But I think I think we have, as a result, people are able to afford more and so the cost of housing has gone through the roof. It takes now today I when we came when we lived in McLean, you could buy a good four bedroom house for under $200,000. And that’s unheard of today, the same the same size house now goes for over a million dollars. And you’re a young family cannot handle that the average rent that you need in order to afford roughly a $500,000 house, which is the average house in Fairfax County, is you need $500,000 or more in order to rent a one bedroom apartment you need income of $68,000 a year. In McLean that’s multiplied in MC lane, you need close to a million dollars to even have a home. So the I would say the community is is characterized by again, those who can afford

Adam Pierno 36:38
it. Yeah, Fairfax. I mean, comparing Fairfax County to the average US county is is an elevated comparison. And then comparing McLean inside of right effects county it bumps up again. Yeah, so those values so you could see it going all the way back to the census in 2000. How

Merrily Pierce 37:02
steps are fascinating.

Paul Kohlenberger 37:04
I would just I would completely agree with Maryland on that question. There’s it has been extraordinarily driven by the the role the growth of the federal government. Federal government has been here since 1789. McLean did not grow dramatically until at least the first World War. And you just track the changes in federal policy in in size, and it lines up almost almost entirely. The expansion during and after the war created huge pressures. And that’s when the suburbanization happened until the Second World War really it was just sort of farming communities

Merrily Pierce 37:52
crossed Crossroads or the consolidated school.

Paul Kohlenberger 38:00
I wouldn’t say that the sort of there’s definitely an element of the sociology about power here in the Klan, but it’s shifted from a good friend of mine grew up in the 50s, over near the CIA or what became the CIA, and she said all of her neighbors, were admirals, generals, Congress, people, agency officials, cabinet secretaries. So there’s always been that sort of cachet since the mid century. But it’s really shifted now to to to more of an economic power. Again, that’s changed really happened in the

Merrily Pierce 38:32
Supreme Court justices these days. These are the you know, the children, your children go to school with the

Paul Kohlenberger 38:39
wind. Yeah. And in the community in the county changed in my, my family moved here when Mobil Oil moved their headquarters down from Manhattan to Fairfax County. That was one of the first sort of broadening of, of, of the economic base. And that, you know, we have been able to draw in other companies just recently to this region, Nestle and StarKist. And Volkswagen, I say, and it’s sort of diversify. But, but frankly, a lot of that has changed when the government as I mentioned a moment ago, when the government during the during the Reagan years, started defense buildups and, and and shifting some of the governmental functions to private sector. Entities. A lot of a lot of the lot of the people were doing defense contracting, for instance, the sort of notion of power that sorts of powers still very directly related to Washington, but it’s, it’s sort of at a whole new level.

Merrily Pierce 39:40
I remember sitting in a restaurant in Tyson’s Corner in the mid aughts. And I was working for Fairfax County at the time and I overheard a conversation of a couple of young men who clearly were working in one of these think tanks was in the middle of the Iraq invasion. One turned to the other and said you know if we if we’d have another war I’ll be able to retire. Because his because it was remunerative for him to, again get a nice for young men usually, I guess mid 30s. But that those were the way they were seeing their career, their career prospects.

Adam Pierno 40:19
If he said the thing that that I fear they think how, you know, if we think about millennials rising, which was written in the in the late 90s. I guess, as I look at the data of comparing the MacLean of the 90s to the US of the 90s, you know, on it, it’s all medians and means and averages, so nothing’s perfect. But if we can go back in time together, did you and Paul, you were you were young? I think when that and new, pretty new and your time there maybe. But how did Maclean feel then, as a, you know, exemplar of the US, do you? Would you say in that at that time period at the turn of the century? Was it a pretty good example of life and culture in the US? Or was it was it different, I mean, home values aside,

Merrily Pierce 41:09
I felt it was very middle class, comfortable middle class. There were of course, McLean’s still had the cachet, and Great Falls had the cachet of being privileged and wealthy. It was not unusual. For instance, 16 year olds to get sports cars or expensive cars were their 16th birthday while your teachers were driving. Lesser models. Yeah,

Adam Pierno 41:38
it’s great. It’s great falls a neighborhood of McLean.

Merrily Pierce 41:41
That’s another suburb that’s just north of us, but also a state home area. Got it. That feeds into the one of the one of Maclean’s two schools, though I, I was conscious. I always thought of myself as middle class, I lived in a typical standard subdivision division. And but I was very conscious of that there was significant wealth around me and my daughter came home from school when one day after visiting a friend and she said, Mom, I was so embarrassed, I had to ask, ask where the front door was? Because the house was the large

Adam Pierno 42:21
2020 bathrooms. You don’t know what you don’t know what

Merrily Pierce 42:24
there was a difference. But, but so I felt very, very community. We have a lot of community organizations that bind the community. And we’re going Citizens Association, of course, from which all the other sprang. So but those those organizations were very well attended, and membership was high in them. And I have noticed as the progress as the years have gone by the membership, waxes and wanes, depending upon again generations and the interest. So in the 80s, and I think, certainly during that period, we had very strong civic associations and very strong member organizations in McLean.

Adam Pierno 43:17
Interesting poll, what are your take, what are your memories of McLean at that time,

Merrily Pierce 43:21
nursery school

Paul Kohlenberger 43:27
McLean, Marley’s, right? In the sense that McLean at that time even had had a had was a privileged community and had been for many decades, frankly, that’s really started with the Kennedys moving out you often Closs and Borba doll and a number of people built by buying, you know, big places. And that sort of drew a number of people starting in the 50s. It was still in the late 90s, I would say a better representation of the country than it probably would be today.

Merrily Pierce 44:00
That I agree with.

Paul Kohlenberger 44:03
It’s it was more of a place that if you had done well, you could move before or as you were starting family today, you you must more or less be established to be here. So I think that has changed some matters. I think there were you know, I think the broad I think it’s representative of the broader sociology, a sociological change related to two parent two parent families both in the workforce

Adam Pierno 44:35
last class structure in general in the US

Paul Kohlenberger 44:37
Yeah, exactly. It’s it’s, there’s there’s a lot of there’s still people taking their kids to class at the community center but it’s largely nannies doing so during the work hours are taking their kids to parts but they’re, they’re not being cared for unnecessarily by their parents. And that doesn’t, you know, there’s no judgment on any of this. It’s just it’s partly just the the land economics are such that you had a greater amount of housing stock that was that was sort of typical for Americans. My wife grew up in a neighborhood of mid century 2000 square foot houses, sort of a typical mid century someone. And I was talking to one of her parents, neighbors, who I also know some years ago and that person had had to had a party for her six or seven year old kids. And one of the kids grew up in another part of playing and literally completely, innocently came in and said, Where’s the rest of your house? So it’s, there’s always been that

Merrily Pierce 45:48
you can’t find the front door.

Paul Kohlenberger 45:51
So there has it, I would say just like a lot of those, you know, the extent to which there’s, there’s income inequality, even with the client, I think within the client has widened. There were people that you know, in the 80s, and 90s. And, and such were working I know, one family that one worked at the community center, and one was the was a biology teacher at the local high school, and they could afford a house, they could raise a family comfortably. It’s not even it’s unthinkable unless you have unless you have family money or some other support.

Merrily Pierce 46:24
And that’s it. So I don’t like to describe McLain this way. But I think the two words that come to mind are privileged and wealthy.

Adam Pierno 46:34
Yeah, it’s consistent with growing metros across the country where that that divide of privilege has sort of stepped in and then created a little bit of a chasm for people on one side or the other and merrily to Maclean’s. But you were talking about geographically the inside and outside of the beltway, right. There’s also it’s not exclusive to Maclean. There’s also the economic reality of you know, when home prices get at that out of hand, to Paul’s other point, you do have to be established to get into those neighborhoods, and that creates an aspiration and creates a little bit of a separation in a lot of cases.

Merrily Pierce 47:15
It’s interesting, we had a meeting at Zoom meeting last night, and it’s one on one of the committees with the McLean Citizens Association with county staff. And it was about protection of trees because that’s a huge issue now that the smaller homes are being torn down and we’re losing our Urban Canopy, tree canopy, which is really important to quality of life for many people and county staff with noting the size of homes that even he found it hard to believe we’ve got some homes now they’re, what 35 40,000 Square feet that are. Really, yeah, they’re really, really, really, no unimaginably large.

Adam Pierno 47:58
You mean 4000 square feet?

Merrily Pierce 48:00
No, I’m we’re talking. What would you say some of those problems? Were 1000 square foot house, wouldn’t you say? 30,000? At least no.

Paul Kohlenberger 48:10
20,000 Or there are entire neighborhoods actually that were built.

Merrily Pierce 48:14
next door neighbors are next door neighbor’s home is 9000 square feet.

Paul Kohlenberger 48:19
There are plenty of homes in the in the 12 to 15,000 square feet right

Merrily Pierce 48:26
we get 20 to 30 Oh my god, there

Paul Kohlenberger 48:28
might be one I’m not trying to

Merrily Pierce 48:32
30 at least is

Paul Kohlenberger 48:34
it? Let’s put it this way on lots that were developed with 1500 square foot Ramblers they are putting eight to 10,000 square foot house.

Adam Pierno 48:42
Right to the right to the edge of the lot. Right? Yeah, that’s common here too. Yeah,

Merrily Pierce 48:48
that’s a three acre lots. We’ve got much, much larger homes and well over 10,000 square feet. Wow.

Adam Pierno 48:58
Yeah. Marilee, you you mentioned. And you’ve both talked about and in the the booklet that you produced, there’s a lot of community ties, a lot of community fabric. And I wonder going back to the 90s, you know, when we were looking back, you mentioned how strong those were. I wonder over the past 20 ish years, as the economics have changed, has has that community fabric held has it? How has it evolved? Is it is it pretty? Is it still pretty strong, you’re both obviously still involved.

Merrily Pierce 49:33
Again, it ebbs and flows and I found its age separated segregated, you find that your PTAs obviously your school age. Your parents who have school aged kids, are community organizations now tend to to gravitate toward that retired because it takes a two income family a lot of our organizations use to be heavily Only women who stayed home who did not work basically formed the core of our of our earlier Civic Association. And that’s definitely not the case that women have basically gone to work or spend their time their jobs now, and that has taken away some of the power a lot of the obvious things still have participation with PTAs. It seems seems to be age age segregated, where we have the the expertise and the institutional knowledge with our older and retired people. That I wouldn’t say that’s the majority of our of our civic organizations. But dear rotary Paul, and members of the chamber are but McLean Citizens Association. Just wanted to say in the last four or five years we’ve gotten a young younger cohort cohort has come in.

Paul Kohlenberger 51:02
Yes. Um, but again, I think it’s my view is that it is not as strong as it was. I think. I don’t know how to turn off these notifications. I’m sorry.

Adam Pierno 51:20
I don’t hear them. Okay, good.

Paul Kohlenberger 51:22
Um, the, I would say, the McLean area retains a surprising network and fabric of organizations that help establish identity and provide some sense of grounding for being a place that is more or less a zip code, or two. Insofar as granite is not an incorporated town or city or municipality, it has suffered from the changes we discussed earlier, to earner families, from the broader decline in the adjoining culture, the Bowling Alone thing from a change technologically driven obviously in as to how people connect, and what is important to them from a location or geographically based identity or forum in which to act to more specialized interest base. You know, the, you know, what I’m getting at? Yeah,

Merrily Pierce 52:32
such a mix of cultures here heavily Asian is our is our next largest proportion, and are and then Hispanic. And cultural organizations, such as the ones that were that we’ve been associated with aren’t necessarily part of that culture. And we’ve tried recruiting broader to increase diversity, and we do have some diversity in going Citizens Association. But I would not say not as representative of the community as we would like,

Adam Pierno 53:06
got it. That makes sense. So I have a question that will probably you’ll both have different perspectives, because Paul was just maybe in the in that millennial cohort at the time, but going back to the 2000s, when people were thinking about millennials as the generation so Paul, you were probably not actively thinking about yourself as a generation. You’re probably just trying to get through high school and college, but merely maybe we’ll start with you. And and when they talked about the youth, I believe you said you meant you had read Millennials rising or talk to Bill Strauss at the time he was working on the book. How did you think about the youth, then in local to McLean. And based on what you knew about, you know, the kids in the neighborhood?

Merrily Pierce 53:52
Again, they were just coming out of guests. Drugs had been a problem earlier in the 70s, in the 80s. And there was, people were very, very conscious of keeping kids safe and trying to make certain that you didn’t have huge house parties on weekends. That’s still that’s still, that was a big thing.

Paul Kohlenberger 54:17
That didn’t work. Yeah.

Merrily Pierce 54:20
No, word got out, the word always got out. But that that kind of thing was going on. But also it was the initiation of the internet, too. And everybody, including parents at the time, everybody was sort of naive as to the potential that we had seen realized, with the internet today. There was a tremendous feeling of optimism. And you had young people that the internet was going to bring everybody together. It was going to be a great source for education and particularly in the schools for teachers. and people, a lot of people did not have computers at home, but the internet, but that that was coming, people were beginning more people are beginning to get computers. And Harry Potter was really big. So you had a generation that was heavily into reading the next the next adventure. But you also had the pressures, that the international pressures, I always think of the growing up in Washington, I always got the Washington Post on my doorstep every every morning. So the world was literally at my front doorstep. And you tend to think 10 More internationally than you do local, even though we used to get our local papers. So international events tend to impact not only families because people are involved in the various agencies of the government, but the kids to absorb what’s going on around them and they absorbed the evening news. And of course, you had y2k, which had everybody was hysterical at the end of the century. Yes, I remember going to collapse and but that, you know, permeates the to with the family. And then you had 911 where suddenly everything was protected, protect me from terror, and build real estate real suddenly, in real fear. And suddenly, every everything was what became locked down. And you had to have IDs to get in anywhere. And our young people absorb this, and parents dorms and become more protected. And us. We want to protect your kids from all of the threats that are out there. So that’s combination here, community, the security and the stability of your community, versus the Maelstrom beyond your view, the radius of your, your neighborhood, but that’s happening because your parents are involved in State Department, or your if you’ve seen the headlines in the newspaper that came on your front porch that morning. So it was I think it was a very confused must have been a very time of turmoil for young people heading beginning to go out on their own, to face a world that probably from the Washington point of view, was perhaps more frightening than if you were in the middle of another Midwest or elsewhere. I always know when I go visit my uncle in San Diego, how different the world seems, because things are so much different issues and the newspapers are different. So a different perspective in Washington, I think gives you that international government component that young people grow up with, that I don’t think is so prevalent in the rest of the country.

Adam Pierno 57:49
Yeah, that’s a good point. And and, Paul, were you aware of the, the millennial identity at that point?

Paul Kohlenberger 58:04
No, forgive me, but no, it’s it’s, I think, I think the 90s in McLean and elsewhere, were sort of an interregnum between, frankly, a lot of turmoil internationally and domestically in the 80s 70s and 80s. And, and the last 20 years we’ve had here with 911, et cetera. It was, I think, a time of conformance. It’s, frankly, of conformity of, of, yes, safety, but things were things were good in the 90s. i And it was a great time to grow up. I think, in a way it did a disservice to the generation given the upheaval of the following decade. Both both internationally and obviously economically, which has been, you know, the great recession was very difficult on millennials. I think, you know, I remember not a lot more than 911 we had, you know, black Suburbans whisking away a salad a son of a Saudi prince from our school. It was it was very, it was it was quite different. And as Marley said, I think it shifted the sociology to tomorrow, one much more, you know, various things. I think the the, the change, I see, you know, locally is I think beyond the sort of upheaval overall is, is there’s no I don’t know where I’m going with that. Cut this part out.

Adam Pierno 1:00:03
I do want to ask about how if the the issues that you thought about the youth then merrily, or and, Paul, how you view the youth today, you know, maybe your own kids or the kids that are graduating high school? And, you know, in that phase, do you think how do you think about the concerns, the defining issues around that group compared to the millennial generation?

Merrily Pierce 1:00:29
Oh, very definitely, I would say major difference. The we were just they around the the arts, the county was just sort of getting parents were, of course, parents have always been very ambitious for their children in this in this community. And educational excellence is, is probably a priority in every family. And kids are pushed kids are questioned. And but they also they push the public school system to one more gifted program. And we have a special high school that can start in tutoring classes at the age of three, so that they’ll qualify in high school. But I have noticed now that speaking of institutional sports, that kids are much more organized into basically a success track. You you pay significant monies to participate in traveling teams, so that you can excel in sports from a fairly early age, in many cases, with hopes that you’ll win a scholarship, because the cost of college has just gone out of sight. Now, if you compare college costs between 2000 and now, it’s just a mean, it’s that even when I was going to school, even when our kids were in school, and college was expensive, we never even considered taking out a college loan, a student loan, whereas now that’s almost you have to have loans in order to afford a $70,000 a year college if you’re going to private college and even our state schools. So the cost of college I think is driven parents to to make certain that their kids get the most out of public schools. And so you’ve got more AP classes, or advanced classes. So some kids are taking two, three and four, you know, advanced classes hoping to, again, get into a better school or not have to do do so many courses to take so many courses in college. So, institutionalized sports, I’m seeing I’m seeing students with much less free time on their hands, because they’re studying so hard and working so hard. And the younger kids are tutoring, and the older kids are no, it’s you’re a parent. We certainly wanted the best for our kids and our kids all took music lessons and belong to this, but I don’t remember the pressure that I see you buying my friends, you know, children under these days,

Paul Kohlenberger 1:03:13
we’ve had over the last 10 years a rash of suicides at McLean and Langley high schools. It has become a frankly, a quite a big problem.

Adam Pierno 1:03:25
Terrible. Yeah.

Paul Kohlenberger 1:03:28
And I don’t know if that feeds directly into its, I guess these are Gen X parents. So they’re typically seen as a little bit more laid back. So I think it’s, I think it’s more of a global pressure. You’re you’re trying to compete on a global global stage, you’re seeing, you know, with social media, you’re seeing peer comparisons. So there’s that added pressure. And I think, as I said earlier, like this, this particular community has always been, you know,

Merrily Pierce 1:04:02
highly competitive.

Paul Kohlenberger 1:04:04
There’s certainly been at achievement focus in this in this particular community, for sure.

Adam Pierno 1:04:08
Do you think it’s amplified? Because you have an international community in McLean? I think it’s worse there, or do you think because you’re both well traveled? Do you think across the country, it’s like I can say a lot of what merrily described sounds consistent with what I experienced here in Arizona. But I wonder

Merrily Pierce 1:04:26
it’s true in urban areas in general, I think but yeah.

Adam Pierno 1:04:29
Do you think it’s even amplified, though? Because, Paul, to your point about global competition, like they are actually seeing people from other parts of the world and realizing

Merrily Pierce 1:04:40
they’re going to school with kids from other parts of the world. Right. And

Paul Kohlenberger 1:04:45
yeah, I don’t want to sound xenophobic, but I do think there there is an aspect of that, that that your overall horizons are have been broadened, I think with with with a greater mix of international people here And with a sense of, you know, it’s no longer good enough to be, you know, a great athlete and at McLean High School, you could be playing internationally. I think there’s I’ll leave it there. But

Adam Pierno 1:05:17
I understand it’s like, the more we’re exposed to the world more, we see that somebody’s always going to be better.

Merrily Pierce 1:05:23
But there’s also the large house syndrome, there’s the push to, to have more, to have more basically. And I think that puts a tremendous amount of pressure on young people, for those kids whose parents can’t afford a lot of the things. But there are a lot of kids who have a lot and are very privileged. And I think another thing and they want to be able to maintain that lifestyle. A friend of mines daughter recently asked how a mom, where do I go to college so I can be rich. Because I want to, you know, because it is it’s, it’s frightening, because you sort of want to go to school, you want your kid to go to school, so they learned learn a profession or learn to love learning,

Adam Pierno 1:06:14
they will be in rich,

Merrily Pierce 1:06:16
but rich, very academic, then you’re focused on the academics and and accomplishments. But there’s, again, I’m seeing more and more, we’re seeing more and more people want to be able to maintain the lifestyle in which they’re living. And that’s where I come down to privilege and wealth. And I don’t like to really describe my community like that. But I see an element of that. But I also see an element of that. families that are worked very hard husband and wife every day, and they are not very, very as you would say overly wealthy they don’t live in, in 10,000 20,000 square foot homes. And they live for us the way I remember the life during much of McLean in the 80s and the 90s.

Adam Pierno 1:07:11
Yeah, Paul, closing, closing thought from you.

Paul Kohlenberger 1:07:16
Um, I had something else I wanted to say. I was gonna say in terms of the pressure, I think it relates to also the fact that the broader trend of having as societies get richer, they typically have fewer children. And so sort of all of the sort of hopes and dreams of the parents are focused on fewer and fewer children. So I think that grades the thing I was driving by near your house, yesterday, Marley, and there’s probably 100 cars waiting to pick up kids at the elementary school when I was going to ask my wife, she’s a few years younger, he walked or you took the bus? It’s, I think I Right. Um, so yeah, and that’s, that’s, that’s one of the elementary schools I want to I’m so sorry, this is not a good closing thought. But it’s just sort of an anecdote in terms of like, there’s a lot of sort of care and focus on fewer kids. And I think that sort of increases the pressure under which they’re, they’re living. I don’t have any great closing thoughts, but

Adam Pierno 1:08:27
okay, I’ll, I’ll cut this into

Merrily Pierce 1:08:30
your convenience for young people as well. I think it’s, it’s a different difficult called environment because you see a level that you would like to be able to aspire to, which is well beyond the level that other people in other places had the opportunities. I mean, we have incredible opportunities in this area, but people also have the, the means to enjoy those opportunities.

Paul Kohlenberger 1:08:59
Yeah, I think that’s the that’s the downside of, of being surrounded by so much privilege is a skewed expectation of basic questions of what is the good life? What is education for what is success in life? It really isn’t necessarily to be the boss or to make the most money that these are, I think there are I think they’re just a different mentality than then there once was,

Adam Pierno 1:09:35
yeah, that’s, that’s not exclusive to MacLean, by the way, but you

Merrily Pierce 1:09:39
have a career and a useful life and

Paul Kohlenberger 1:09:46
exactly and an honorable life and I think it’s become harder with, with with the slow decline of citizens civic associations and of, of a, of a civic life makes it

Merrily Pierce 1:10:00
Everybody works together for the wherever one knows

Paul Kohlenberger 1:10:03
where people know each other and see each other as humans and say, I know that guy, oh, he’s, you know, maybe absent minded, but he’s a real person, and he’s a good person. And you know, we want to work with them. And we’re stuck with him because he lives down the street.

Adam Pierno 1:10:19
So we’ll figure out how to solve this problem to get exactly whatever

Paul Kohlenberger 1:10:23
everything is sort of siloed. And both both siloed within your house or, you know, everywhere. So I think, I think that’s a major social change. That hasn’t been to the good.

Merrily Pierce 1:10:36
Let me bring up one other other thing. And that’s the decline of our local newspapers, where our organizations basically used to be focused and activities used to be focused, and so you knew who the community leaders were. And now, when, and those those were the leaders from whom your elected officials arose, we basically had a hierarchy, you belong to this Civic Association, and, or you belong to the school board, but there was a hierarchy, which you sort of participated in, and then you were ready to run for office, but the community all knew because he got the newspaper every day or every new leader, leader, you’re basically the leaders in the community were so that there was an identity.

Adam Pierno 1:11:23
And it was a, it was a real person that you knew how to get a hold of this

Merrily Pierce 1:11:27
person. And, and also our elected officials were held accountable, because everybody paid attention to what they were doing, because it was in the news in the local newspaper. We don’t have that anymore. And so now when we have people running for office, the question is, where are you know, what kind of experience what kind of civic experience in this person have? Where is this person coming from? And why is this person running for office? So I think we have in the last 20 years, I think we have erased, I think one of the more valuable cohesive aspects of certainly that brought McLean together, where everybody had a common common theme of conversation because it was in the local paper. And you had, again, a common more common community. And I think with the disappearance of our local newspapers where we have lost some degree of a sense of community that certainly we used to have in McLean.

Adam Pierno 1:12:22
Excellent Merrily. Paul, thank you so much for making time. This was very rich discussion. I’m so grateful to have your knowledge, context and experience. I really appreciate you joining me for this conversation and filling me in on a lot of this valuable information.

Merrily Pierce 1:12:39
I’m glad to be introduced to your podcast, we talked. Excellent.

Paul Kohlenberger 1:12:45
Thank you, Adam. Appreciate your work.

Adam Pierno 1:12:47
Thank you guys. Appreciate it.

Eliza T Robot 1:12:49
On the next episode of In the Demo, Farah and Adam talk to a person who was there at the beginning of the Millennial Myth–the very beginning–about her role and her view on the generation and where it sits today. I’m your robot host, Eliza, please be kind. In the Demo is produced by Farrah Bostic, and Adam Pierno with support from the Difference Engine music by 0mega Man under the Creative Commons license. Go to in the demo for behind the scenes research and supporting information

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