The eastern shoreline of San Francisco Bay, including esnl’s Berkeley and Oakland, just four blocks away, has become untenable for growing numbers of people, including many of the people of color who used to live in our own neighborhood.
Our own rent was just jacked up by more than half, and we know many others in the same fix.
And so we turn with interest to our QOTD, written by April M. Short for AlterNet, who was driven from Oakland by the same forces that are driving us out as well.
The true culprit behind displacement and gentrification is a complex ricochet effect that arguably began with the tech boom, as large Silicon Valley companies like Google, Facebook and Apple were drawn to this desirable and nearby area. As their money has flooded the city, landlords and business owners have hiked up prices and ultimately life in San Francisco has become too expensive for many artists, laborers and others who don’t receive salaries comparable to those of tech workers. Many of those San Franciscans have moved to Oakland, which remains less expensive (if only slightly). That migration includes many tech startup workers who can’t afford to buy or rent in San Francisco and have heard Oakland is more affordable. As Oakland has been inundated with this mass influx of people from across the bay, landlords and businesses over here have in turn hiked up their prices, forcing longtime locals further into the outskirts.
Another important piece of the problem are the unethical practices of these tech giants. The most obvious example is the tech companies’ corporate shuttles that allow non-locals to be driven into the city from Silicon Valley aboard luxury buses, which have earned the nickname Google buses. Mass protests have gathered to stop the buses, and in response, the city of San Francisco recently forbade those private buses from using public bus stops. But the mass displacement of San Francisco’s people and the white-washing gentrification of its streets have not reversed (Truthout has an in-depth snapshot of the situation).
Another thing to note is the greed of some landlords. As rents have skyrocketed in the last three to five years, mortgages have remained relatively stable, and some landlords have been charging more just because they can. Because of this trend, and similar situations in New York, Los Angeles and many other metropolitan areas, it is officially the worst time in American history to be a renter. A report by the online real estate website Zillow showed in August how rents have never taken up this much of the American paycheck.
From Deutsche Welle:
Europe’s far-right welcomes Austrian election result
Far-right parties across Europe have hailed the victory of Austria’s anti-immigration Freedom Party in presidential elections. The results mean the country’s next president won’t be backed by the two main parties.
It’s one of those stories you just gotta love.
From Princeton University:
The rapid escalation of border enforcement over the past three decades has backfired as a strategy to control undocumented immigration between Mexico and the United States, according to new research that suggests further militarization of the border is a waste of money.
“Rather than stopping undocumented Mexicans from coming to the U.S., greater enforcement stopped them from going home,” said Douglas Massey, one of the researchers and the Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton.
Advocated by bureaucrats, politicians and pundits, the militarization of the U.S. border with Mexico transformed undocumented Mexican migration from a circular flow of predominantly male workers going to a few states into a settled population of about 11 million in all 50 states, Massey said. From 1986 to 2010, the United States spent $35 billion on border enforcement and the net rate of undocumented population growth doubled, he said.
“By the 1990s border enforcement had become a self-sustaining cycle in which rising apprehensions provided proof of the ongoing ‘illegal invasion’ to justify more resources allocated to border enforcement, which produced more apprehensions, even though the actual number of undocumented migrants seeking entry was not increasing,” Massey said.
The research is detailed in an article, Why Border Enforcement Backfired, [$10 for access — esnl] that was published by the American Journal of Sociology in March. The authors are Massey, Jorge Durand of the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económica in Mexico City and Karen Pren, project manager of the Mexican Migration Project at Princeton’s Office of Population Research.
The research was supported by funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development as well as the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
While advocates of increased border enforcement argued it would slow undocumented immigration, Massey said data gathered from communities throughout Mexico since 1987 on histories of migration and border crossings point to the opposite effect.
“Greater enforcement raised the costs of undocumented border crossing, which required undocumented migrants to stay longer in the U.S. to make a trip profitable,” he said. “Greater enforcement also increased the risk of death and injury during border crossing. As the costs and risks rose, migrants naturally minimized border crossing — not by remaining in Mexico but by staying in the United States.”
There’s lots more, after the jump. . . Continue reading
From a new report [PDF] from the Pew Research Center:
From Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker, following the announcement today that African American abolitionist Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the face of the $20 bill:
Andrew Jackson defied a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and forced the removal of our Cherokee ancestors from homelands we’d occupied in the Southeast for millennia. His actions as president resulted in a genocide of Native Americans and the death of about a quarter of our people. It remains the darkest period in the Cherokee Nation’s history. Jackson’s legacy was never one to be celebrated, and his image on our currency is a constant reminder of his crimes against Natives. It’s been an insult to our people and to our ancestors, thousands of whom died of starvation and exposure and now lie in unmarked graves along the Trail of Tears.
This is a small but meaningful vindication for them, and for our tribal citizens today. The Cherokee Nation applauds the work of Oklahoma Senator James Lankford, the U.S. Treasury and all those who recognized the injustices committed at the hands of President Jackson, and worked to replace his image with the image of Harriet Tubman, whose legacy represents values everyone can be proud of.
We’ve known several Native Americans who have refused to carry $20 bills because of Jackson’s image, and we have no doubt that they, too, are troubled Old Hickory’s presence remains on the bill, albeit on on the flip side.
From The Only Democracy in the Middle East™, via the Intercept:
Thousands of Israelis rallied in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on Tuesday in support of an army medic who was caught on video last month apparently executing a wounded Palestinian suspect following a knife attack in the occupied West Bank.
From Eurostat [PDF]: