SF Gentrification Article From 1985 Could Have Been Written Today

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Photo: Wiki Commons and Mark Andrew Boyer / KQED
Photo: Wiki Commons and Mark Andrew Boyer / KQED

Evictions, rising rents, a tech boom, declining Latino and African American populations, unstoppable "croissantification." All realities of what's been happening to San Francisco recently, but, as a 1985 Los Angeles Times piece entitled "Gentrification's Price: S.F. Moves: Yuppies In, the Poor Out" attests, this gentrification has been going on for more years than many of the incoming techies have been alive!

Take this paragraph, for instance, that could easily fit right into any of the recent essays about San Francisco:

"San Francisco has become perhaps the most gentrified large city in the nation. Districts that a decade ago were blue collar are now ghettos for young urban professionals, who have spawned a consumptive economy in which one highly successful new chain mass markets croissants, sort of a Yuppie version of Winchell's doughnut shops. ... City Planning Director Dean Macris calls it the 'boutiquing of San Francisco.'"

Reading the article is like opening a time capsule that's waited for us, locked and buried, for decades and finding a note that says I TOLD YOU SO! The piece also brings to mind San Francisco's long history of tumultuous transformation: from the Spanish arrival and subsequent attempt at "Christianizing" the Ohlone people to Americans seizing the land from Mexico to the population rise from 1,000 to 25,000 in one single year during the Gold Rush, and on and on. The city's current situation is just the next in a long lineage of conquest. Does placing San Francisco's latest sea change into historical perspective make it seem less dramatic? Or does it bring up a sense of horror that this class war tradition could be so rooted into our city's framework that it's become our destiny?

Read the full LA Times piece:

Gentrification's Price : S.F. Moves: Yuppies In, the Poor OutSAN FRANCISCO - After living 35 years in the same North Beach apartment, Frances Brandolino and her husband discovered there was no longer room for them in this city. A group of lawyers bought the 17-unit Victorian building in which they had been living to convert it into offices.

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