A Bay Area Journalist's First-Hand Account Of How Mayor Jerry Brown Screwed Over Oakland On His Way To Sacramento



J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Oakland Unwrapped Column
UrbanView Newspaper
June 26, 2002

Item taken from a larger column...

You ever sit down and try to weigh the balance…how much Jerry Brown’s presence helps Oakland’s future development, against how much his public trashing of the city does us damage?

Add this one to your equation: last week’s Jerry Brown column in the
San Francisco Chronicle by conservative national columnist George Will, also found in the internet editions of the Sacramento Bee, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Jewish World Review, the Washington Post…well, you get the picture.

In his column, Will repeated a 1998 Jerry Brown quote about downtown Oakland: "You have a concentrated, homogenous population—the elderly, parolees, people in drug rehab, from mental hospitals, transients. This is not the vibrant civic culture some might have in mind."

Brown made the remark just after the 1998 mayoral campaign, when he was defending his 10K "plan." They’re probably going to be sitting dozens of websites for however long the internet lasts, waiting for a web search of "Oakland" AND "Jerry Brown." Let us presume that four years from now, Jerry Brown will choose not to seek re-election. Out of all those big-money investors who might have come to Oakland only because Jerry Brown is mayor, how many do you think will still consider coming once Jerry Brown is gone?

This is especially bad, considering that Brown’s remarks are flat-out wrong.

Given the Mayor’s wide definition of downtown Oakland (from West Grand to the Embarcadero), there is a large portion of the downtown area that is vibrant and alive, with a diverse population, full of homes and schools and shops and shoppers and restaurants and banks and supporting small businesses, old people and young, bustling all day and late into the night, all weekend, too, a model for the downtown live-work mix that Jerry Brown keeps saying he’s going to "create." It’s already there. Go south on Broadway from City Hall until you get to 10th or 9th streets, hang a left, and you’ll run into it.

It’s called Chinatown.