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Column unfair to Richmond

As a transplanted Virginian who lived in Richmond for many years, I have to say that I found your recent editorial "States bring unique diversity to U.S." to be unfair and somewhat disingenuous.
Comparing Richmond to New England is not unlike comparing Boston to the states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee all at the same time. No farmers' stands in Richmond? How many will you find in downtown Boston? There is a farmers' market in every city and town in Virginia (including Richmond), as well as hundreds along the sides of roads once you leave the metropolitan area.
I found your "faux urban" description of the attempt to rejuvenate downtown Richmond to be unnecessarily critical and unkind. And, by the way, Broad Street is not the "main shopping area" for Richmond anymore than Boston Road is the main shopping area for Wilbraham or East Longmeadow.
You missed all the little local shopping areas like Cary Town, Bon Air, Midlothian, Shockoe Slip, etc. Every city has a Broad Street, just as every city has a Boston Road, lined with chain stores and strip malls. And for every Chick-fil-A you found in Virginia, I can locate at least three Dunkin Donuts franchises around here.
I regret that you didn't find anything positive to say about the place where you chose to spend your vacation. Perhaps you should venture out a little further from your relative's house next time. You never mentioned the fact that people are welcoming and friendly in the South, or that they actually wave back when you acknowledge them driving in your own neighborhood. And saying that people there are "considerably more politically conservative" than many of us in New England is a huge generalization. Virginians didn't elect Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate; people in Massachusetts did.
Articles like yours help perpetuate the stereotypes about the South that people like me find so frustrating.

Martha Santoro
Wilbraham

Editor's response: I based my column on the many visits I've made to the greater Richmond, Va., area since 1987. At no time in the column did I say that Richmond was inferior to this part of the country.
Instead I made the point the varying cultures and lifestyles of different states makes this country a better place.
As a person whose family tree includes many Southerners including a few who fought for the Confederacy I am sensitive to the kind of unfair characterizations made of the South and I don't think I made any of those in that column.