Let me start by saying I was born and raised in Oakland and so was my mom. I am second generation Oakland grown and I came from a poor family and lived in lower class neighborhoods surrounded by section 8 apartment complexes patrolled by the Oakland Housing Authority.
I love what’s happening to my city. It may be the best Oakland’s ever been. But then again I’ve only been around since 1979.
We’ve recently made all sorts of “top list” and places to visit and so on. I’ll touch more on that later.
I actually can’t stand the word and the way people use it.
Now a days when you hear the word gentrification it is often thought of as “white people moving in and pushing out other races of low income”.
The actual definition is as follows:
Definition of GENTRIFICATION: The process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents.
So as you see, by definition it is a neighborhood getting better, prettier, offering more options, more places to work, more companies moving in, better housing and so on(all terrible things).
And what I hate even more is the “opposite of gentrification”, white flight.
They claim white people leaving Oakland ruined Oakland and now white people coming to Oakland is ruining Oakland.
No one is being “pushed out”. I have rent control and while everyone moving into my neighborhood is paying $400 to $600 more than me right now it did not push me out.
No one is being evicted or forced to move(without reason). Sure some people are selling their own homes that they’ve had forever now that the value has increased greatly and choosing to move to other less expensive locations but that’s their own choice. If this is the reason they are leaving in numbers then so be it. They choose to do so themselves and the home has probably been bought and fixed up adding to the neighborhood.
The rent board laws in Oakland protect you really well from false evictions. My landlord has been trying to get me out since he bought the building 3 years ago.
I understand some people lose their place unjustly and can not afford to stay anymore but this is not the typical case and not why Oakland’s demographic is changing.
I myself may unjustly lose my place now that I have a new landlord.
IF for some reason I got evicted then I would be in a situation where I would have to pay a lot more to stay in Oakland. So in that sense I am at risk and I could be displaced from my home town.
He has tried twice now but Measure EE protects me.
Anyways, what about the people who did not sell their house and decide to stay in the now upcoming neighborhood?
They are getting more options, more places to shop, eat at, work at, drink at etc.
But the price of food goes up!
How is this true? Sure now you have the option to get a $15 dollar burger at some new hipster food joint that never even existed before, but you can still get the same old $1 burgers from McDonald’s. Or microwave burrito from the ghetto-mart.
The $15 burger is just one more option that wasn’t there yesterday. You’re not being forced to eat there.
I have seen the price of my favorite burrito go from $3.50 to $6 and that is just the cost of living and demand. Burrito prices the same everywhere.
I guess I should vent that I really do have a problem with $10 Mac & Cheese or $9 waffles and these people are ripping off Oakland residents.
Also a lot of food downtown doesn’t even care about Oakland at all. They pop up Monday through Friday durring work hours, serv the San Franciscoans who BART in and work downtown Oakland, then go home after work closing eveyr food join and store around and they do not return on weekends.
Whole Foods is too expensive!
No one is forcing you to go to the new expensive Whole Foods.
Actually, tell me. Where would you have gone before that?
Sitting here trying to think about it I would say there are zero grocery stores in West Oakland. Maybe it needs a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s?
Oh yeah, I should probably let you know that I do not shop at either.
Safeway isn’t leaving……
You always have the limited Safeway and Lucky’s around Oakland whether or not Whole Foods and TJ’s pop up.
If the price of food at Safeway goes up it’s not because the neighborhood got better or “gentrified”, it’s because the cost of living goes up in general. That Safeway has the same prices here in Oakland as anywhere else in the Bay. So, the price of food has not gone up. You just got more options if you want to pay more and eat healthier. And don’t forget all of the new places to work.