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West Oakland Citizens Fight "Jerry Brown" Gentrification

In their blog of the same name, Brooke and Lian point to a growing movement in West Oakland to reduce the tide of social change driven by gentrification. They point out that since 2000, 20 percent of Oakland's black population has left Oakland, and -- they claim -- most of that departure from West Oakland.

There's a campaign to stop this and the leaders of the effort have posted signs and even a large billboard in protest of what is called "predatory development."

This has been ignored in the mainstream media, with people like the East Bay Express' Chris Thompson calling retailers like Walgreens champions of urban development, but offering no proof to back his claim.

Still, the drive -- as uncoordinated as it seems to be -- moves on. My prediction is that it will eventually lead to the first full scale riot Oakland has ever seen. All of the drivers are in place: wildly disparant income levels, high crime, poor neighborhood job opportunities, angry police officers, unwelcome development, and a growing digital divide. Oakland's not for burning, but if this keeps up, someone in West Oakland might change their mind.
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