Oak Park being rebranded, not renewed
Re “Oak Park residents rue cost of renewal” (Insight, Erika D. Smith, Aug. 9): I have observed the gentrification of Oak Park for more than 20 years, as distressed properties were bought and rehabbed at the city’s behest and offered to first-time buyers, often white, educated folk.
The Bee has noted this process, most recently in an article praising the taking down of fences in an Oak Park neighborhood, thus promoting good neighborliness. From the photos, the property owners involved were white and the neighborhood was under gentrification.
The proliferation of more upscale food establishments began on Mayor Kevin Johnson’s commercial corner, with a coffee house that has never had an owner of color, seldom had many nonwhite customers and even more infrequently had employees of color, especially not African American.
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This is neither new nor unique to Sacramento. I just think it is vitally important to understand that Oak Park is not undergoing a rebirth. It is being rebranded at the expense of an existing and traditionally disenfranchised community.
Sunny de Koning, Sacramento
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