Steve Nash 
Member since Feb 19, 2016


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Re: “Will Oakland Lose Its Artistic Soul?

At its core, this is a political issue. Does the city council support a vibrant arts community or not? Are they willing to step on the toes of the rich and powerful to enact zoning ordinances and funding mechanisms that allow the continued presence of an art scene?

Bay area economics and land use is no mystery. It is a very desirable place to live and gentrification is inevitable as the digirati multiply and invade.

It is the rare and special politician who is capable and willing to fight for the arts underclass. You must seek these individuals out and do what you must to get them elected. Otherwise, you will just be fed pablum and b.s. about "supporting the arts".

A cultural arts commission, acting as a powerful citizen advisory group, would be a start. The commissioners need to educate themselves on the land use process and be powerful advocates before the city council. Don't rely on staff! They are not your friends! Be disruptive but effective. Make proposals such as an arts zone overlay. Demand developers provide an effective mixed-use component. Suggest that when properties that formerly housed artists or galleries sell, there be levied a surtax to provide replacement spaces.

It will always be a battle against the pro-development forces that just want to come in and built maximum profit condos or apartments. But through education and advocacy and getting your own candidates elected, you will hopefully reverse the tide and find a way to save your arts community.

Good luck!

Posted by Steve Nash on 02/19/2016 at 4:17 AM

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