There Goes The Neighborhood...

root - Posted on 07 August 2006

PNN ReViewsForTheReVoLutIoN reviews the recent demographic survey of San Francisco's working class communities of color published by POWER

by Tiny/PNN

“Yerba Buena, Barbary Coast, Bagdhdad by the Bay. San Francisco. This unique Northern Californian city is a city of neighborhoods. From Chinatown to the Mission to Bayview Hunters Point, San Francisco’s strength grows out of the diversity of its many neighborhoods. But the spector of change is looming over many of San Francisco’s neighborhoods”… an excerpt from There Goes the Neighborhood- A demographic survey of San Francisco’s Eastern neighborhoods

After I finished reading the 184 page wire bound book entitled; There Goes the Neighborhood meticulously researched, compiled and published by People Organized to

After I finished reading the 184 page wire bound book entitled; There Goes the Neighborhood meticulously researched, compiled and published by People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER) in collaboration with Urban Solutions, I looked out of POOR Magazine/PNN’s office window. Our office is located deep in the Heart of the Tenderloin (TL) district, one of the neighborhoods included in the book’s thorough demographic analysis of San Francisco’s Eastern neighborhoods which includes low-income communities of color such as The Mission, Bayview and Visitation Valley.

The funny ( not funny) thing is, our office window gazes upon the exact same image that is splashed across the book jacket; a gigantic mile long crane extending above the entire span of 7th street. In its jaws, in a permanent freeze frame of impending danger are 7 1 ton steel pallets poised precariously over the street itself (not the worksite) and the very low and no-income mostly houseless residents who hang out on the 7th street corridor. Ostensibly, these pallets are there for the building of one of the largest Federal building projects I have ever seen, complete with an Alamo-esque base that juts up from the earth later to be used for a 007 maneuver by Homeland Security troups. But, the joke between those of us in the hood are, those pallets are just a threat in case any of us Tenderloin citzenry get to uppity and don’t leave when we are power washed and po-liced away.

Bring on your Army of Bull-Dozers!

Bring on your Engineers.

You Travel from Here to There.

Creating Poverty Everywhere.

Enjoying your destruction.

Enjoying your reconstruction.

Not bothering about replacement.

Only working on displacement…..

Excerpt from Bring on your army of Bulldozers by A. Faye Hicks – from the Houzin Project – words, art and resources on Eviction, Displacement, Gentrification and Homelessness published by POOR Press

In the introduction to There Goes the Neighborhood POWER points out the very critical need for a demographic study of this scale which breaks down the impacted populations into tables and maps for each neighborhood investigation such as
African-American, Asian American, Latino, Female headed households, Residents below poverty level, linguisticly isolated, youth and seniors to name a few. "This study coupled with our anecdotal experiences of these neighborhoods, should give us a better idea of how to move foreword as we look to build vibrant community organizations fighting for economic, racial and gender justice in our communities and in all of san Francisco...They go on to outline the fact that there are several very large development projects planned for San Francisco in the upcoming years and studies like this one can be used to fight the big money developers like Lennar Corporation set to overwhelm, overbuild and overtake The Hunters Point Shipyard with huge, unsafe and unhealthy developments like this reporter wrote about in the November 29th issue of The SF Bayview and PNN

According to POWER, San Francisco has a history of displacing poor communities of color, a process POOR Magazine likened to a modern day Diaspora in the 2003 book; The Houzin Project. They also point out that San Francisco does not have a good track record for sustaining working class communities of color and that indeed due to this fact San Francisco has in fact become more white, more professional and more exclusive. Perhaps the reason our new Mayor is so solidly pro-demolition and anti-homeless using the New York model of homeless policy to lead to what POWER and other grassroots investigators call; The Manhattenization of San Francisco.

As POWER takes you through extensive studies of each neighborhood with colored maps and statistical examinations of the numbers of folks displaced and the people still holding on, I am reminded again of the federal building project set right in the middle of the so-called "Mid-Market district" which is on the development fast track hence the sudden rise in the police harassment of homeless folks in the TL. The thing about those kind of huge kolinazation projects, like the federal building, The shipyard and MUNI is, not only do they displace folks and make life more miserable for the existent communities, as well, unless you keep up a constant, time consuming resistance and vigilance, the Kolinizers don’t even make good on their false promises to bring "jobs" into the community. In the case of the federal building I know first-hand that there is no local workers on that site, in fact, it is a lot of Halliburton-like workers flown in for the multi-million dollar job, sounds like another kolinazation effort on the other side of the world….

Perhaps POWER chose their cover image cause they, too, are located right in Ground zero of the TL, on 7th street directly across from us, or perhaps, more likely to bring home the message that, unless we investigate, report and organize we, the working class folks, families of color, youth and elders who actually "live" in Frisco won’t be here for much longer.

To purchase a copy of There Goes the Neighborhood, contact POWER at (415) 864-8372


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