Tuesday, August 28, 2007

San Francisco, a city without African-Americans?

To be sure Sen. Larry Craig is due every bit of contempt for putting himself in a terrible position -wide stance and all as a gay-bashing hypocrite. Let the gay Left have its fun and delight in the misery of the Other. But Senator Craig's poor judgment and transgression pale in comparison to what's happening in the bluest of liberal cities: San Francisco.
SAN FRANCISCO — Wayne Cooksey joined the flight of African-Americans from this city last year to escape soaring rents and buy a home. Michael Higgenbotham left six years ago for a safer neighborhood and better schools for his three children. Adell Adams retired and wanted to downsize but knew her home's equity wouldn't go far in a market where decent condos start at $500,000.

Aubrey Lewis was among the first to go, to nearby Oakland in 1977. "We left because of the housing situation," says Lewis, 77. "And that was early. It hasn't gotten much better."

African-Americans are abandoning this famously progressive city at a rate that has alarmed San Francisco officials, who vow to stop the exodus and develop a strategy to win blacks back to the city. In June, Mayor Gavin Newsom appointed a task force to study how to reverse decades of policies — and neglect — that black leaders say have fueled the flight.

Black flight can alter a city's character. "It's important for a city's future that it be a diverse place, and San Francisco is drifting toward being an upper-middle-class city," says Ed Blakely, director of Katrina recovery for New Orleans.

According to Census estimates, the number of blacks here shrank from 13.4% of the population in 1970 to just 6.5% in 2005 — the biggest percentage decline in any major American city.
No doubt some will try to tie to the President Bush. But in the end this worrisome trend will be Newsom's legacy.

No comments: