Berkeley Daily Planet columnist Jesse Douglas Allen-Taylor has a pretty soft gig: Read the newspapers, and think deeply about them. So it’s hard to imagine how he could have blown it as badly as he did today. His most recent column spends a lot of time bitching about traffic, then segues into some fatuous race-baiting before getting the gist of his entire story dead wrong. See if you can follow this: Jerry Brown’s big development binge has jammed so many people into Oakland that parking and traffic problems have driven people into a murdering frenzy.
Meanwhile, the racist daily newspapers make light of the problems just like they did under Jim Crow. How does he know all this? ‘Cause there’s a lot of cars parked on the sidewalk in his neighborhood. Meanwhile, some guy named Samuel Navarro was murdered in what the papers call a dispute over a parking space. “Of course, no one gets shot and killed only over a parking space,” Allen-Taylor wrote, “just as nobody ever got killed only over a watermelon, despite what the old segregation-era Southern papers used to assert in their nigger-stories about hot-times in old darky-town.”
Who really killed Samuel Navarro? Allen-Taylor thinks it was Jerry Brown. The mayor’s so-called 10K Plan and other development pressures apparently left Oakland so overcrowded that people are going bonkers from the stress. “In trying to pack more and more people into the finite geographical space that is the Oakland city boundaries,” Allen-Taylor wrote, “not enough attention was paid by city officials to what effects that packing in was going to have. … ‘Elegant density,’ Mr. Brown used to call his development policies, in one of those cutesy flying phrases so loved by the press, but void of meaning in the real world. There is nothing elegant about packing more and more people into confined spaces, until the spaces become unbearable, and the people explode.”
Yikes!!! Thank God none of this is true. According to the Census Bureau, Oakland’s population actually decreased by more than 25,000 between 1999 and 2005. But if Jesse’s so horrified by overdevelopment, what do you suppose he’ll write if his man Ron Dellums actually unveils his promised 100K Plan?