Jon Shepherd 
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Recent Comments

Re: “Why Gentrification Is Not Inevitable

Ethan - West and East Oakland basically are Detroit now, and there is no realistic plan with a funding source to fix that. Alameda and Oakland politicians plan is to wring their hands and create a few obstacles to developers/gentrifiers that will slow the inevitable and ensure that housing supply lags further behind demand and cost goes up (Google Paul Krugman's NYT article on why even most liberal economists disagree with rent control and housing restrictions for that reason). I agree on the need for a mix of skills (and since we don't like in a socialist utopia - incomes) in cities but for West Oakland proximity to SF and its desirability to techies is the only motor for lower crime, better environment, more services, more jobs. Yes, rents will go up, services will become more expensive and some low income people will be pushed out to less convenient areas similar in income and costs to how WO was when they moved there, rather than getting to enjoy a better environment at the same rent. That's life as a renter. I have a crappy 50 minute commute to SF and I'm one of the beautiful people! We don't have an inalienable right to live one BART stop from the financial district.

WO's best hope is to figure out how much developers can be squeezed to provide low income housing on the back of higher income developments without scaring them away. Alameda and Oakland politician's responsibility is to recognize a global economic trend when they see one and build an educational system that prepares people for the future, rather than making empty postures. Gentrification is inevitable, and for West Oakland most realists would consider it desirable compared to any of the realistic alternatives.

6 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Jon Shepherd on 04/16/2014 at 3:56 PM

Re: “Why Gentrification Is Not Inevitable

Here's a radical thought: instead of training people how to oppose gentrification through the planning process why not train them to do the jobs that are driving gentrification? Gentrification is what happens when there's a mismatch between the high skill/high pay jobs being created by the Bay Area economy and the low skill/low pay of existing residents in those neighborhoods. Everything I read in the local news on gentrification seems geared towards using rent control and other devices to keep the existing residents in place but poor rather than training them. There really are only three options: skill up in science/healthcare/finance and participate in the Bay Area's growing economy; don't skill up, stay put and stay poor while the price of everything rises around you; or move out to a lower cost area. Sorry to be blunt but I'm not seeing a fourth.

31 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by Jon Shepherd on 04/15/2014 at 7:53 PM

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