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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Feature: Last 30 Days

Re: “Is the Only Way to Make Housing Affordable By De-Commodifying It?

Ernest Montague on 09/20/2018 at 10:59 AM - Good thing the folks in charge of the for-profit housing market have such a good grasp of basic economics or we might have a huge market melt-down requiring government intervention with enormous public capital at stake...oh, wait a minute. Nevermind!

Posted by Bruce Schmiechen on 09/20/2018 at 5:22 PM

Re: “Is the Only Way to Make Housing Affordable By De-Commodifying It?

Just as an FYI, 60% of the housing in Vienna Austria is "social", i.e. either sponsored by the government or non-profits. And it's for folks across the income spectrum, with rents geared to reasonable % of income so costs may increase incrementally with income, but no pricing out. Having this much housing that isn't part of the market also keeps rents, etc down in the private housing sector.

There are alternatives, including partnered home ownership via land trusts as noted in the article, to housing models dominated completely by the market.

Posted by Bruce Schmiechen on 09/20/2018 at 5:13 PM

Re: “The Forces Driving Gentrification in Oakland

Paul Merr gets the kudos for the best remarks here. Don't stick your hand out and complain, stick your mind out and learn.

Posted by Ernest Montague on 09/20/2018 at 4:35 PM

Re: “Gentrification Changed the Names of Oakland Neighborhoods

Maxwell Park named after it's developer John P. Maxwell. He built his home at 2625 Maxwell Ave. The only home in that area that sits on a double lot. Nice styling!!! Check it out via Google maps. Traveling the area you can find large concrete markers, staking out Maxwell Park boundaries.

Posted by Paul Merr on 09/20/2018 at 12:43 PM

Re: “Can a New Oakland A's Ballpark Help Fight Gentrification?

FACTS MATTER!!! >>preposterous attempt to stop African American men from barbecuing at Lake Merritt.<<< That was NOT her position at all!!! Her complaint, that charcoal grills are not allowed on that side of the lake. She was CORRECT check for yourself!!! Too many people were disposing of the hot coals in shrubs etc. A child was burned and the park system sued for millions at another park location. LAWS NEED TO BE FOLLOWED!!!

It's the gentrifier's that helped curb Oakland's crime problem, not police polices!!! They call the police while many Oakland long time residents accept too much crime as it's the way you live in Oakland!!! And I'm a BLACK man
!!! I want our laws ENFORCED!!!

Posted by Paul Merr on 09/20/2018 at 12:25 PM

Re: “The Forces Driving Gentrification in Oakland

Blame Emeryville, for gentrification!!! That mall off the freeway and all those high rises weren't always there. It was nothing but warehouses and trucking firms in that area with dirt roads. I know because I used to service their computers. That is what started the change on the east bay side of the bay.

Malls built in San Leandro, Hayward, Union City, Pleasanton, Concord etc all contributed to an East Bay Area that helped bring high tech and and prosperous jobs. Minorities can participate it only takes education and many of it can be found & learned online at sites like,, all being very affordable. Plus the many local colleges that are in reach of all of us!!!

What really is hurting the Bay Area is the EXPECTATION people are owed something because they have been here longer!!! It's AMERICA!!! It's a country based on free enterprise, capitalism, and the desire to make something of oneself. Too many have decided to quit on life taking to drugs, yet many of our homeless are not from Oakland but other cities and states!!!

Those Oaklander's that are residences and can prove it that are homeless we need to HELP those people. That is our responsibility, yet those that are not they need to leave!!! Go back home ... get the help you need!!!

Others that are too lazy or just can't figure out how to make it in life ... join the military. They'll feed, cloth, educate you your entire adult life. America is filled with opportunities!!!

Posted by Paul Merr on 09/20/2018 at 12:10 PM

Re: “The Forces Driving Gentrification in Oakland

As a Black man who's family has lived in Oakland for more than 100 yr's I take offense to your column!!! You write >>redlining<< Just IGNORANCE on your part!!!! Look at the old redlining map for Oakland & Berkeley. What you'll find are the homes that Blacks OWNED are now worth more than $500,000!!!! My grandmothers old home at 1045 53st in N. Oakland recently sold for $978,000!!!! What in the HELL is the matter with you!!!! Back in the day everything in that area was about drugs, prostitutes etc!!! Hell, my family members that inherited that property eventually lost it!!! THEIR STUPIDITY!!! Nothing to do with gentrification!!! Our family members came from the south for a better life and housing. Now it's time for those that can't afford this area to relocated else where. Many homes across America are forsale for under $50,000 some in areas under $10,000!!! Yes, crime ridden, but so what ... that is what Oakland was back in the 70's - 90's, they should feel very comfortable!!! West Oakland homes were sold for $5 in the 90's. All we had to do was buy them and fix them up and stay for 5 yr's!!! I for one am GRATEFUL to the gentrifier's for bringing Oakland back!!!

I'll confess at one time I owned 4 homes ... Because of the 2008 crash I thought a few would never come back in value as I had taken money out as did many other Black home owners. I was wrong!!! That has cost me approx $1,000,000!!! I was smart enough to keep my main home!!!

Posted by Paul Merr on 09/20/2018 at 11:35 AM

Re: “Gentrification Changed the Names of Oakland Neighborhoods

"Another nickname is Sem City, a riff on the video game, and there used to be a gang in the area that went by that name also. But this part of Oakland has been rapidly gentrifying."

Newsflash: that gang and many others in this neighborhood are still massively active. And this area of Oakland is not gentrifying in the SLIGHTEST. Come on down and spend some time on Bancroft and Seminary before you report that foolishness.

And... "THE" Fruitvale? Where are you from? No one calls it "THE" Fruitvale, my man...

Posted by TS Edison on 09/20/2018 at 11:18 AM

Re: “Is the Only Way to Make Housing Affordable By De-Commodifying It?

I actually have to comment here, as the appalling lack of economic knowledge displayed needs comment. If you want to de commodify housing, you either need to kill off half the population or apply enough capital. In a market the size of Oakland, I expect that would be a far larger amount that Oakland takes in all taxes combined. Of course the land trust can buy a house here or there and make them available to people who "qualify" ( meet the particular ethnic, political and cultural redlines) but that is basically meaningless. It takes a relatively large amount of capital to provide housing to a very small constituency, and strikes me basically as feel good planning and paying off voters.

Posted by Ernest Montague on 09/20/2018 at 10:59 AM

Re: “The Forces Driving Gentrification in Oakland

Zachary Murray wants to bring the community into the conversation. That's good, although many Oakland neighborhoods are already well represented. But why does he worry that only black neighborhoods need to be "brought into the conversation"? Aren't Asians and Latins worth listening to? And refugees from the Middle East? Don't they have critical housing needs as well?

The Express seems caught up in the racial disparities of the 60s. Your writers are trying to bring back black residents when they should be more attentive to the other people of color who live here now.

Posted by Mike Bradley on 09/20/2018 at 10:27 AM

Re: “Is the Only Way to Make Housing Affordable By De-Commodifying It?

Jean, there are many other necessary expenditures than homeless services.

Schools. healthcare and streets come rapidly to mind.

Those are NOT mitigated and are more general.

Myopia doesn't solve problem, it creates more and greater issues that require solutions.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 09/20/2018 at 10:05 AM

Re: “Gentrification Changed the Names of Oakland Neighborhoods

Let's see. People moved to Oakland and lived here for a while. Now they don't want new people moving here. Doh.

Posted by Ernest Montague on 09/20/2018 at 9:33 AM

Re: “Is the Only Way to Make Housing Affordable By De-Commodifying It?

Let's see. The Oakland Land Trust helped a local coffee house that practices reverse racism and discrimination. They helped them buy their property. Great. Not.

Posted by Ernest Montague on 09/20/2018 at 9:14 AM

Re: “Is the Only Way to Make Housing Affordable By De-Commodifying It?

The author neglects the basic law of supply and demand. You must encourage investment in new housing in order to make housing cheaper. All of this government interference merely discourages new investment, thereby raising the cost of new housing. When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?

Posted by Jerry Udinksy on 09/20/2018 at 9:11 AM

Re: “Seven Longtime Oakland Residents Share Their Thoughts on Gentrification

Let's see. The people who moved here in the fifties and had families don't want anyone moving in. LMAO.

Posted by Ernest Montague on 09/20/2018 at 9:11 AM

Re: “The Forces Driving Gentrification in Oakland

Well, let's see. Prior to gentrification ( in the lower Laurel) I lived next door to drug dealers (three on one block), section eight tenants ( endless problems, noise and litter), youth hanging out on the corners and selling drugs, unkempt homes, scraggly yards, and every now and the, automatic weapon fire. Don't forget the murders, robberies and home break ins.

I was one of the first on the block to remodel ( bought in 1988). Others followed. I called the police multiple times on dealers, fought to get abandoned cars towed, and reported blight conditions. I guess gentrification is my fault. Today all the homes on the block are freshly painted ( except for two old timers), landscaped, nicely kept and safe. The dealers are gone. The cars are gone. The crime is almost gone.

So gentrification is evil. I guess it depends on the point of view, doesn't it? I'm not a multi millionaire. I'm a blue collar guy.

Posted by Ernest Montague on 09/20/2018 at 9:08 AM

Re: “Can a New Oakland A's Ballpark Help Fight Gentrification?

Nice article. Grateful for the A's devotion to the city. I live in Portland, OR now but lived in Oakland 06-08 and have stronger feelings for Oakland than anywhere else. Follow along as best I can.

Posted by Buddy Cushman on 09/20/2018 at 9:03 AM

Re: “The Forces Driving Gentrification in Oakland

Government sanctioned racketeering is why there is such a disparity in wealth and income in Oakland and in the rest of America.
Between 2006 and 2009 MERS and associates put 67 million illegally generated mortgage transactions into the system that came from California based Indy Mac Banks.
Steve Mnnuchin bought Indy Mac out of bankruptcy.
Mnuchin collaborated with Jerry Brown, then Attorney General of California and Henry Paulson, then the Secretary of the Treasury to put the illegal transactions into the system.
After forming MERS and associates, Paulson shut down the Office of Thrift Supervision the agency responsible for overseeing subprime mortgages. Jerry Brown shut down the Attorney General's office in California to homeowners with complaints against the banks as well.
Mnuchin paid Jerry Brown and Kamala Harris a bribe to drop the case against his bank for illegal foreclosures and predatory lending.
Every large bank in America has been fined for processing the transactions that came from Indy Mac but not one person who lost their home has been compensated.
During his two terms as Mayor of Oakland, Jerry Brown cut city services.
Building inspections were halted and street repairs as well as sewer maintenance were put on hold.
The Ghost Ship warehouse, where 36 people lost their lives is one of the 5000 properties that have been "land-banked" in Oakland. The owner of the property walked away with $3 million after the fire and has yet to be interviewed, let alone charged.
During Brown's tenure as Mayor, drug dealers working for El Chapo Guzman ran the city and occupied many of the abandoned properties left because of the cuts to city services.
When Brown left Oakland to become AG, 1 out of 8 homes in minority neighborhoods was in foreclosure or default because of the criminal activity of Indy Mac Banks and their associates.
When Brown became AG Wells Fargo was engaged in an 18 month relationship with El Chapo that generated $378 billion
Ted Cruz has introduced the "El Chapo Act" which, if made law, would force the banks to give this money to the community.. However, because of the conflict of interest between Jerry Brown and the banks, Oakland can't ask the court to enforce the El Chapo Act. Wells has held this money and much more for over a decade!!!
As a result of the collaboration between Jerry Brown, Henry Paulson and Steve Mnuchin there are 6 million homeless people in America and one quarter of these people live in California.
The whole story in on Facebook....
Allen Sanford....…

Posted by Allen Sanford on 09/20/2018 at 8:49 AM

Re: “The Forces Driving Gentrification in Oakland

Sorry, that's politics and policy; bandaid on top of bandaid. If you want to really change things, you'll have to stage a revolution and install a completely new system of governance. But history shows us that even that does not work, because it is always the people with power who rise to the top. Even the substitution of a culture of power with a more equitable form of organization, as might be found in certain religions that emphasize non-materialist values, for example, lasts only so long.

Posted by Francesco on 09/20/2018 at 5:00 AM

Re: “Seven Longtime Oakland Residents Share Their Thoughts on Gentrification

Some of these long term residents could use a little help with their grammar!

Posted by Francesco on 09/20/2018 at 4:55 AM

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