What’s amazing about Oakland is that it steadfastly holds on to a bent toward population diversity.
In 1994, The Montclarion allowed this blogger, then a columnist, to produce and publish a 60-question survey that was placed in what normally would be the op-ed page section of the newspaper. Of all of the questions, one of them asked why Oaklanders lived in Oakland. The answer was not pre-written as part of a multiple choice set of responses. It was a blank line allowing on to fill it with words, or a word.
A whopping 64 percent of the 600 respondents (and this was before the widespread use of email) wrote in one answer: diversity.
Today, and after two decades of work in building market-rate housing downtown and removing institutional investor racism, Oakland is what I predicted it would be then: almost perfectly racially and ethnically balanced.
Merry Christmas to the many people who have come to define Oakland. From artists like Anthony Holdsworth, to musicians like Boots Riley, bloggers like Davey D, politicians like Councilmember Larry Reid, restauranteurs like Doña Savitsky, athletes like Ynez Arce, developers like Phil Tagami and John Protopappas, lawyers like John Burris and Paul Rein, activists like Nola Brantley, entrepreneurs like Cynthia Lee, writers like Matt Werner, bar owners like Peter Van Kleef and Alexeis Filipello, social media mavens like George Kelly and Oakland Elle, and many more who make this space so rich.
Merry Christmas to anyone who dares run for public office in Oakland, win or lose.
Merry Christmas to the people you don’t hear about: the one’s who do good deeds for others, large and small, every day. Merry Christmas to the Oakland Police Officers and the Highland Hospital nurses, and the Children’s Hospital specialists, all who help save a life in our town every day.
And most of all, Merry Christmas to you who take time to read this space, give feedback, and post your own blog entries when you can.
Thank you all.