How did we get here?
Nia King reports from the After Ghost Ship preconference at the 2018 GIA Conference in Oakland:
The After Ghost Ship panel was organized by Claudia Leung, outgoing senior program associate at the San Francisco Arts Commission. She began the panel by giving a shout out to Nadia Elokdah (Deputy Director at Grantmakers in the Arts) for all her hard work moving the conference at the last minute. The conference was originally set to take place at the Oakland Marriott, but since Marriott workers are on strike nation-wide, the conference had to be moved at the eleventh hour. Claudia then introduced the panelists: Katherin Canton of Oakland Creative Neighborhoods Coalition and Emerging Arts Professionals SF/Bay Area, David Keenan of DIY Safer Spaces, Devi Peacock of Peacock Rebellion and the Liberate 23rd Ave Collective, Eric Arnold of the Oakland Creative Neighborhoods Coalition and Black Arts Movement District Community Development Corporation and moderator, journalist Chris Zaldua.
Eric Arnold spoke first and gave a presentation called “How did we get here?” which attempted to sum up to last 20 years of gentrification in Oakland. He provided a lot of important background information for the discussion, so I’m going to take some time recapping his presentation.
In 1999, then Oakland mayor Jerry Brown (now California’s governor) instituted an initiative called 10K with the goal of bringing 10,000 new residents to downtown Oakland. Between 2000 and 2015, Oakland’s population rose by about 44,000 but only 1,000 units of “affordable housing” were built. (According to Eric, affordable housing is defined on a federal level as where a resident/tenant does not have to spend more than 30% of their income on rent. For some reason, in Oakland, even housing where you are spending up to 60% of your income on rent is considered “affordable.”) The housing built as part of the 10k initiative was all market rate.