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Fighting erasure: A conversation on gentrification and displacement in San Diego

 December 9, 2021 at 3:08 PM PST

Speaker 1: (00:00)

Finding the erasure of gentrification. We need to sit

Speaker 2: (00:04)

Down at the table and make sure that everybody is accounted for at that

Speaker 1: (00:08)

Table. I'm Jade Henman. This is KPBS midday edition Today on midday edition, a special exploring the impact of gentrification. People

Speaker 3: (00:30)

Move things, shift infrastructure changes, but what makes it devastating is the loss of culture. And that's really where I kind of center my conversations. And my advocacy around gentrification is preserving and protecting

Speaker 1: (00:41)

How urban development is pushing people out of their communities and the ideas on how neighborhoods can grow without displacement that's ahead on midday edition

Speaker 1: (01:02)

Is one of the most complex issues currently facing American cities. For some, it brings revitalization, but for others it means displacement. K PBS took on this controversy last night in a community form called fighting erasure, a community conversation on gentrification and displacement in San Diego, K PBS race and equity reporter, Christina cam moderated a panel discussion about the consequences of gentrification and what steps need to be taken to make sure urban development is equitable. The panel included Isaac Martin, professor of urban studies and planning at UC San Diego, Julie Carras, a policy advocate for the environment, health coalition and Tahu Baraka activist and owner of Imperial barbershop in San Diego's in Canto neighborhood. Christina Kim starts the form with a comment from Josephine, tele Montez, an activist historian, and one of the founders of Chicano park who lays out what's at stake. When gentrification happened,

Speaker 4: (02:04)

There are those, uh, in the spectrum that say no gentrification at all. And there are those that are saying let's, let's improve the community. Let's let's make it better, but yet let's, let's make it safe and let's make it improve so that the residents can stay here and benefit from the approve, the, you know, the improvements rather than improve. And then the residents are kicked out that, you know that why, why that's then we turn into another gas lab district. We don't wanna be a gas lab district. We don't wanna be little Italy. We wanna be our residents that live here. We wanna protect the historical nature, a, a body of Logan. And we also want our small businesses to, to, to advance. And we want industry to continue to do what it does for the nation. Julie, I'm gonna turn to you first. I know that you live in Barrio Logan,

Speaker 5: (02:59)

A place that's really become synonymous with this word, gentrification, this process, but I also wanna make sure we're all on the same page, cuz I think gentrification, we are all talking about it, but what are we really talking about? So Julie, how do you define and talk about gentrification, especially in your neighborhood? First of

Speaker 3: (03:15)

All, I gotta say, I love Josie it's side and her mind. She's incredible. Um, and, and uh, but, but gentrification to me, and the way I see it is, is really at the, like at the heart of it, I wouldn't say the root at the heart of it is loss of culture. You know, like people that, you know, your neighbors leave, the places that you love to go like to visit are gone. And I think that us, what makes it devastating, right? Because people move right. Things shift, uh, infrastructure changes, but what makes it devastating is the loss of culture. And that's really where I kind of center. Um, my conversations and my advocacy around gentrification is preserving and

Speaker 5: (03:54)

Protecting, right? So it's not necessarily about opposing change, but really about preservation. Tell, I know you, this is gentrification is a huge topic at your barbershop. We've talked about that. That is what people are talking about. So you're seeing it right on Imperial avenue and 65th. So how do you define gentrification and how are you seeing it play out in your daily life?

Speaker 2: (04:14)

I see gentrification as a double edged sword. I think everybody wants change. We have to evolve eventually, but we want to evolve with having our culture still intact. And unfortunately, sometimes with gentrification, the culture aspect of what has already been leaves the community. And uh, and then you have new people here. That's gonna, uh, go take over the community. And that just, it kinda peels off what we are trying to plan, what we would like to see happen with the change with going through this evolution. So gentrification is a good and a bad thing. So, um, I'm ready for this conversation tonight.

Speaker 5: (04:51)

Well, I gotta ask Isaac as well. I mean, you teach gentrification, so that's a little different, you're really actively trying to define it. So when you are teaching gender, how are you describing it, especially for maybe students who don't live in neighborhoods that are experiencing this process?

Speaker 6: (05:08)

Sure. Well, first I wanna say, I teach about gentrification. I don't teach about do gentrification verification, but, but uh, just for, for, for clarification, but, um, gentrification, uh, the word means that the Gentry you're coming to the neighborhood and that's a, of course, a word from England that means, uh, that you know, that social class right below the nobility. So there's a couple ideas baked in there in the word. One is the idea that new people are coming into the neighborhood. Another is that the idea that those people have more resources, more money in particular, but also, you know, more of other kinds of social class related status, uh, access to opportunity than people in the neighborhood have. Um, and the third is this idea that, that when these newcomers, the Gentry come into the neighborhood, they're bringing those resources with them and, and they're bringing new investment into the neighborhood.

Speaker 6: (05:55)

Part of, part of, I think what I see as the double-edged sword that OU described is this idea that gentrification can come in. And, uh, it happens in places often that are really starved of investments sometimes that were quite deliberately starved of investment. And that really need a, a new infusion of resources, but it also can have the effect that Julie described, where when newcomers come in, that prices out, people who've lived there for a long time and then can displace community institutions can, uh, change the whole feeling of a place in a way that makes it so that, you know, when you go home, it it's not home anymore.

Speaker 5: (06:28)

Hmm. And these are processes we're seeing statewide, but as we mentioned, San Diego, according to a 2020 study is the 14th, most intensely gentrifying Metro in the country. So what does that really mean, Isaac? And, and how did we get here? How does San Diego, the Metro area, the neighborhoods we're talking about get to be so ripe for this process of gentrification.

Speaker 6: (06:51)

There are, of course, a lot of things going on. I think that the, the big process here is much bigger than any individual neighborhood and much bigger than any individual city, uh, gentrification is happening, um, all across the us. Um, I wouldn't swear to that ranking that we're 14th. I don't know if we're higher. I dunno if we're lower. Um, but, but, uh, but it's, it's a familiar conversation that's happening, um, all over and it's happening in part because in, in major metros, especially in California, um, uh, rent is going up, uh, because, uh, more people wanna move here and, uh, faster than housing is being built to house them. Part of what that means then is, is middle and upper income people coming into San Diego or moving from other parts of San Diego end up, uh, moving in to neighborhoods where they're, they're pricing out, potentially people who've lived there for a long time. Um, so, uh, so it has an incredible amount to do just with the, the basic dynamics of the, the housing market.

Speaker 3: (07:49)

But Isaac say, don't you think that it also has to do with, um, you know, redlining, right? These old, like historic racist land use policies that set us up to be here. And I, I see this big link to like white flight and now like this re urbanization of white folks trying to, trying to get back in. Right. Because for whatever reasons. Right. Um, but they're, they're coming back into the urban core. That's that's been neglected. So do you, do you think that's a component? Do you see that phenomena hap like as part

Speaker 6: (08:15)

Of it? I, I absolutely. So, so redlining, right. We're talking about this process where, where, um, first, uh, realtors and then the federal government drew literally drew red lines around certain neighborhoods, including Vaya Logan back in the day in the 1930s, mm-hmm , um, and said, you know, this place, not a great place for investments, so we're not gonna underwrite loans here. Um, and did this for explicitly racist reasons, among other reasons that process is part of why Barrio Logan among other neighborhoods was so starve for resources for so long. And the cruel irony, right, is that, um, the fact that that Redlin is no longer happening that Barrio Logan is no longer seen as off limits for investment means that when the investment comes in, it's coming in, in the hands of now, uh, often, um, white people who in whose favor used there used to be discrimination in the past, in, in their favor, right? So it's, it's a really cruel irony.

Speaker 5: (09:07)

Julie, I wanna jump in there because, you know, as we just said, fat Logan was formally redlined only then to have free tear it through and really kind of be the symbol of environmental racism across the, you know, across the state, across the country. But as you're seeing investment come in, how are you seeing gentrification really at work in Baro? How do you see it? And what are the stories you're hearing from the people that live there?

Speaker 3: (09:33)

The status part is, is that the community's been working for decades, decades, and decades to, to make bar Logan healthy, to clean up the air, to create more parks, to mitigate all that toxic pollution from the environmental racism. And now we're seeing that folks aren't around to reap the benefits of it, right? Like we are seeing folks have to leave. Um, we had a, a member of our community planning group, um, et who was amazing. I mean, super involved have been fighting with environmental health coalition for decades to, to make change. And he got priced out right before, you know, we got our CLT right before we got our new park right before we, you know, the port passed, um, the, the policies that they're working on to clean up the air. So we're seeing this happen over and over. People are, are, are being forced to leave before they really get to reap the benefits. We see it again in the loss of culture. Um, a lot of, uh, businesses that we love, uh, restaurants, oh, the art, the art is leaving. There's, there's hardly any independent autonomous art galleries left in the body. Um, and it's, it's devastating. It's hurts. It's not the same. Even from five years ago, it's the feel is different and it might be more palpable to outsiders, but it, you know, we're losing our flavor for it. And it's, it's sad.

Speaker 5: (10:49)

TA I wanna bring you in here. Can you tell us a little bit of about Encanto and skyline, these areas where the rent is all of a sudden increasing, what are you seeing in terms of changes?

Speaker 2: (11:00)

Well, skyline and an encounter. I grew up in skyline. I've been here basically all my life, and I have a business in cancel. And, uh, what you're seeing now with this high rent is that well, high leasing and even a, a home purchase are young, Caucasian, uh, people, uh, lot, a lot of mill also, and upper, some type of some upper middle class. Also, I'm starting to see a, kind of a change in my barbershop, also with the clientele, you know, I'm going from mainly cutting Hispanic and, uh, African American here to now, I'm cutting Caucasian here and I'm cutting a Asian here. We all, we do have an Asian popul in this area, but you can actually see the change and you can see who the new home buyers are in this community. Uh, as you, as these people walk down the street, as you see them in the store, or you may even bump bump into 'em at the gas station. So it is a change. And, uh, and the changes happen pretty rapidly as we speak Julie,

Speaker 5: (11:57)

How, yeah. I mean, what is it, what do you stand to lose when you start to see those changing faces, you start to see businesses lose, like how does a community respond to that?

Speaker 3: (12:10)

You know, it's funny. I, I remember years ago, San Rodriguez, I believe her name was, she was a, a longtime activist that would like knock on doors, helped David Olivers get elected. I mean, like she was a pillar in the community. She lived on, uh, what is that like nine 20th and like Imperial the full house right across the street from the Mai school place called Ceto. Everybody knew her. And, uh, some about her else. Somebody bought her house and she had lived there 30, 40 years. And the community gathered, we had meetings in the back of OTO. What can we do? How can we raise money? Community leaders showed up. We were, you know, reaching out to the, to the seller, to the, you know, the new buyer can, can we try to get money together for her to, to buy her property? And it didn't happen, right?

Speaker 3: (12:51)

It did. There's, there's no policies in place to people, uh, like to know. And so she, she lost her, she lost her place to live. And she moved out to like, you know, I think it was lemon Grove or something. Um, so, you know, we're, these are the types of things that, that we're seeing and it, and it hurts. So we're not only losing, you know, we're losing community members, but we're losing pillars. We're losing, you know, political power. She was a powerhouse, right. We're losing, um, you know, artists, um, it's, it's, we're losing the future generation of, of folks who are gonna care for 10 for Chicano park. Um, so, uh, it's, it's definitely scary. It's, we're, we're fighting, we're in, we're in the struggle. It

Speaker 5: (13:32)

Almost starts to think. And I know we've chatted at a, out this, this idea of like gentrification kind of leading to a process of diaspora. So if your community pillars can no longer live in body Logan in, in Canto and they're being pushed out. And I mean, I wanna talk about in San Diego, black renters are the most cost burden in the entire country. That's according to a Zillow study, meaning that like black renters here pay more for rent out of their income than anywhere else. So when we're thinking about communities being pushed out, you know, to spring valley, to LA Mesa, to lemon Grove, how do you think about that is people who are working within the community to keep a core. Do you think of gentrification almost as like your center spreading or is it a complete loss?

Speaker 2: (14:20)

Wow. I, I, I, I don't, I wanna call it a complete loss, but we are, we, we are definitely pushing people out because of the pricing and, and the, uh, and the rent. It's, it's unfortunate that these things happen as we evolve especi through the gentrification price, uh, even with the businesses themselves here, you know, when you see that that gentrification process happen in these communities, you wish all of the investors and the people that are coming in to start this change would actually sit down with community and have something going forward together to where we can save a lot of these businesses. We can make sure that a lot of people aren't priced out, we can make sure that we're gonna have affordable housing within this community, to where people, if they have to move, they can still be part of this community and this culture that we have. So, you know, I, it is, it's very rough right now for people. I see a lot of my customers now they're moving to El Cajon city. They're moving to spring valley. They're driving from those places still to come here, because this was a base in which they used to live, but now they are also priced out of their own community, which they grew up in. Yeah,

Speaker 3: (15:30)

I think it, I see that too, uh, how I see that, you know, folks are forced to leave and they come back, they find ways to make their way back and you bump into at a restaurant or, you know, at a local bar or, you know, border ex or, or, you know, at the . Um, so, you know, people try to retain that connection, but, um, it's not as strong. And I think we do, you know, we, yes, we, we spread out, but we do lose a lot because, you know, especially, you know, in body Logan, it's, it's one of the only places where we have our history and our, our power and our politics just in front of our face all the time. Right. It's a, it's a, it's a school. The is a school for our youth because we don't get that knowledge in our education system and our public school system.

Speaker 3: (16:13)

We're not taught, um, you know, the, our, our struggle as a, as a people and in body Logan, you get that. So when you start pulling us away from our court, we lose our culture, we lose our history, we lose our roots. Um, you know, and, and, um, yeah, it's, it's definitely a blow. It, it becomes a blow it's culturally and politic because, you know, we're stronger together. And that history informs our politics and says, we got, you know, it's, it becomes easier to assimilate and forget, you know, folks still in the struggle. So I think we lose a lot with being separated and, and spread apart we're survivors, right? Like, we're, we, we a, um, we find a way to, we, we find our erasure constantly. Um, but it becomes harder when our pillars, when our hubs are, are fractured

Speaker 1: (17:05)

Coming up, the K PBS community forum on gentrification continues, you're listening to K PBS midday did I'm Jade. Henman our discussion about gentrification and urban development continues in the K PBS community form fighting erasure KPBS reporter. Christina Kim is joined in this discussion by Julie Carras, a policy advocate for the environmental health coalition. Tahu Baraka, an activist, and the owner of Imperial barbershop in San Diego's and Canto neighborhood, along with UC San Diego professor, Isaac Martin, in this part of the discussion, Martin contextualizes, the recent history of gentrification in America, and why the issue has become as complicated as it is today.

Speaker 6: (17:52)

So this is, I mean, this isn't a way all of American urban history is, is people, uh, move around to where they can afford the rent. And I, I wanna note also in that, in that comment, it's a story of a person who's worried that they're, um, changing the character of a neighborhood by gentrifying it, but they're also telling a story about how their neighborhood was gentrified. Uh, and so it's, it's easy to think of, um, gentrification in Vaio, Logan, because it's such a, such a rich community history and such a specific place to think about it as, as, um, the ways in which it's, you know, affecting the, the cultural preservation of the Chicano community there and, and community institutions and all that. Um, but it's also the case notification is happens to white working class communities. It happens to, uh, uh, happen, has happened historically much less often to black working class communities only because investment has so rarely ever flowed there.

Speaker 6: (18:42)

Um, uh, uh, so, so, um, the, what this, uh, listener is describing right, is like a chain of gentrification where, where someone is priced out of one neighborhood then moves somewhere else because that's what they can afford. And I think that that is an enormous part of the story, uh, is, is as prices rise, people always in the housing market have limited options that are making choices among limited options. One of the things I just want to add on that is, and we can talk about this later when we talk about solutions, but one of the things I take away from stories like this is that the solutions to gentrification, uh, and the displacement that comes from gentrification, whatever solutions we find that can't just be solutions that happen in the places that are experiencing gentrification, because a lot of the causes are outside that neighborhood and are spilling into it. But I, I,

Speaker 3: (19:35)

I would like to add to that because this is where it gets a little touchy, right? And this is where, like, the uncomfortable conversations happens because you're right. Gentrification is happening everywhere. People are getting displaced everywhere, but there is the role of white privilege, right. And white supremacy that then, and then filters in, because, so for example, this person saying, you know, I can't afford to live in ocean beach. And so they're having to find another place. Okay. So where are you gonna go city Heights, Southeast Logan? Okay. You know, maybe you don't have a choice, but then what we see is folks come in with a mentality of, you know, this is my new neighborhood. I wanna see what I wanna see here. You know, I, I remember, you know, being in the LA and having family get together and folks, you know, some of the things that made my childhood, having these family parties and the kid falls asleep, these family parties, and, you know, the MBS going to one in the morning and the community that I live in, or that, you know, we're used to understands that.

Speaker 3: (20:27)

And then you see, you see, you know, different Gentry coming in and then you start, the cops start showing up. Right. And then you start, you know, we're walking, we're at the park and the cops start showing up because the youth is at the park. Right. Or we see, um, getting complaints cuz we got, you know, new landlords and yeah, they let you stay. Right. They, if you're lucky and they don't kick you out to renovate, then they, you start getting complaints from their new neighbors that, you know, don't like your kids outside in a diaper, you know, or whatever it is, these things. So that's where, where the white supremacy and the white privilege comes in. And so, and it's, it's difficult to talk about and I know it's uncomfortable, but I think it has to be said if, if you have no option, but to move to the hood, to move to the Barrio, you know, approach it with this, I'm, I'm the outsider here, right? Like assimilate to that community and contribute, you know, don't go to the, to the new eatery where you feel comfortable at frequent the restaurants that have been there for 20 years so they can stay open. Right. So, so, so all that to say that yes, white people are being displaced too, but when you make the conscious choice to move into a black or brown neighborhood, you have to take into account that you could disrupt it in a, in a very serious way. And, and to make a conscious effort, not to Isaac

Speaker 5: (21:34)

Actually, uh, testified at the California task force for reparations yesterday. And this was a topic of conversation. Isaac, would you just share a little bit more, I know one of the issues that came up is that in an area that is gender or in an area that is adjacent to an area that's gentrifying, you actually see an increase in police calls as well as interactions. Can you just share a little bit about that aspect of gentrification and policing?

Speaker 6: (22:01)

Sure. So the, this phenomenon that Julia's described where, you know, new neighbors come in and then they're, they they're so unfamiliar and so disrespectful of, um, the kind of traditions and, and ways of the neighborhood, um, that they might call the cops on people for things that everybody who has been living there for a long time knows are just, it's not a nuisance, it's part of the culture of the place. Um, that, uh, that story, uh, is, is, you know, unique to audio Logan it's, it's heard in many other communities of color that are, that are undergoing this, this, um, experience. Um, there has been some research to try to quantify, right, is how much do police calls increase when you're, when you're adjacent to a gentrifying area, we don't have enough studies of it yet. And I would love to see more research on that in, in San Diego to really put numbers on how much this happens.

Speaker 6: (22:50)

Mm-hmm . Um, but there are a couple different things that, that, uh, have been documented here. One is the new neighbors come in and, uh, and, uh, as Julie was described describing, they might even call the cops on their, on the, the long standing neighbors who, who made the neighborhood, what it is. Um, a second process that, that also has been documented is sometimes it's, uh, police taking initiative and doing stuff preemptively adjacent to a gentrifying neighborhood out of some idea that they're gonna somehow, uh, um, a attract investment to a place. And, and so this has been documented. There's a very good study of New York city that showed that in, in some neighborhoods, it seemed like the police had, um, had some idea you about where the, where the Gentry were gonna go next. And even before the, the gentrification started, they were in there making more arrests to, um, to try to make it feel safer for people who didn't actually belong to the neighborhood. Yet, I have a

Speaker 5: (23:44)

Community question actually from Enrique, which I think really showcases another dynamic, which is like young professionals and students who maybe come into a community. So he asked where should students and

Speaker 3: (23:56)

Emerging professionals live if they can't afford areas like Claremont, but don't wanna contribute to gentrification, should they just stay in expensive areas in order or to protect towel?

Speaker 2: (24:08)

I would, I would say, I would say, you know, we'll welcome. You it'll be welcome if they, if they could, if they want to come to Southeast San Diego or in cancel, if they, but if they come be a part or try to be part of the fabric of the culture, when you do get here, you know, um, we love young, intelligent minds coming into our communities, but we would also like you to be coming, be part of that fabric also of coming here, understanding the culture, respecting the culture and being a part of it yourself.

Speaker 3: (24:38)

Yeah. I mean, I, I think that that's such a difficult question, right? Because, um, you know, nobody deserves to be rent, burdened, um, you know, communities and, and, you know, gentrifying locations, black and black communities are especially rent burdened. Um, so is it like, oh, you know, you don't have to be rent burdened cuz you can come over here and then where do we go? Right. So there's all these like nuances to it. But I, I agree with, with, with, um, Al said, if, if you are coming, you know, be prepared to be part of that fabric and to contribute in real ways. I mean, there's, there's, you know, a, a white, more affluent person has political power that some of our folks know, right. Like you come with true privilege. So then use that to advance, uh, to, to get involved in community issues, to get involved in community organizations, to support local businesses and use that power improvements to protect and preserve the community. And I might be asking a lot, you know, that's, that's, that's a whole, you know, M shift, whatever, right? Like you're thinking about things differently. But, um, that, I think that's an amazing question that it's even being asked because you can, you can have that conversation. Yeah. You can be an ally, right. Come as an ally. That's right.

Speaker 5: (25:45)

Come as an ally. But I wanna flip it a little bit. Sometimes the gentrification isn't coming from the outside, it can be coming from the inside. It's something that we're hearing a lot about ation, this idea of like all of a sudden, maybe you grew up in a neighborhood, but you are now part of a different economic class. Maybe you went to college, you got that good job and you have money. You have investment, you have to different political capital. But one of our listeners shared a thought on this, this emerging term. Um, this comes from he's a realtor who lives in Sherman Heights who expressed some cynicism about their notion of performative ation. Let's take a listen.

Speaker 7: (26:24)

It depends on how you define ation and kind of what come with he, if it's just a, you know, a minority person of color owned business in a community. I, I don't know that that's enough for it to be an absolute benefit, but if there's kind of a, an expectation that it's somebody who's gonna come back and, and really try to contribute to the community, that's been there for decades. Um, you know, then I think that that type of ation could, could flow the flow, the dominoes from falling so fast and, and try to save a few from falling over

Speaker 5: (26:56)

Julie. I know ation is on your mind and not just because of shows like Vita and ified, all I can always think about is like that one scene where they're playing like Laia and it's like hipster Laia, but what do we, what do we mean when we say ation? How are you defining it? And how are you seeing it?

Speaker 3: (27:14)

I love those shows by the way. Me too, me too. um, you know, that's, that's such a juicy, meaty question because for me it's around like who's allowed to profit off of our culture, you know, because they've been selling our Guda in old town for a long time and we weren't owning those shops. Right. So there is something beautiful about us being able to profit off of our own Guha, our own products, um, and being able to sustain our families. Right. And to be able to stay in our neighborhoods because we're, we're able to, to pay rents, um, and, and, and keep that money for ourselves. But, um, there, it's funny because even within the VA, even with our own circles, there's this divide, you know, these like folks are like, you're harming the community and like, wait a minute, we're promoting the community.

Speaker 3: (27:56)

We're giving folks opportunity and that's always a discussion, but you know, when we've seen gentrification hurt us. Yeah. It's people coming in. Right. And, and, and, and bringing in, um, different folks and, and that wanna then live here. Right. Um, and not providing that education component. And I think Tahoe on the nail, it's like these businesses have to, um, think about their impact, uh, people, if it's an organization that I'm, I'm part of was very active in prior to joining EHC, we, we created a list of like, what does it mean to be a gentrifying business? Right. And like, the number one was like, you're not com contributing to community. Uh, actually the number one was the number one point was, do you serve the current community? Do your products, do your services, do your food. Are they for the, the people here or as no one here gonna shop there.

Speaker 3: (28:48)

So number one, okay. If you're taking care of us and we want your product in the community, then okay. Let's let other folks come into and enjoy it. Are you giving back to the community, uh, as you're getting successful, are you donating to the community garden? Are you, you know, helping the youth, are you hiring locally? Right. So they're is things that these businesses can do to, um, to help the community and to really like it impede gentrification. Right. Um, but I, I would like to add this because we've seen this happen in the there's amazing Chicanos that do great things for the neighborhood. They bring artists, they've brought, they've brought a whole, a whole space, a whole, um, Renaissance to the neighborhood and they give other people opportunities and jobs and, you know, artists platforms. And then they're so successful that the landlords say, okay, well, I can rent this out for four times the rent now. So it's, it's your time to leave. So I think, you know, we, we focus on the, he ator, I guess that's the word, right? The person that's that, the business owner, but it's not them at the end of the day. It's the landlord. It's a landlord who chooses to raise the rent. It's the landlord who choose chooses to harvest all that they didn't. So I think we have to reframe that conversation. We're talking about he, because it's not the business owners who, who are doing something wrong, it's the landlords,

Speaker 5: (30:06)

How do you wanna weigh in here? I know you've said gentrification is a double-edged sword. And I think Julie's really highlighted the way that this idea of even investing in your community can be a double edged sword. If the, if the realtor developers or the landlords are then going to, so the, a profit of the work you're doing, how do you then strike that balance?

Speaker 2: (30:25)

I agree, 100% with Julie, she was right on point. Uh, I I'm seeing that right now in Southeast San Diego, we are actually seeing a, a price hike in these landlords going up on a lot of these businesses and a lot of businesses aren't able to survive, especially after this coal of it thing. It's unfortunate that we have to go through this route. Uh, uh, I believe land, a lot of these landlords are preparing for the gentrification process without pricing. These people preparing their property now to be sold by other to other investors or whatever. I'm, I'm, I'm just seeing a whole bunch of disarray in my community to where I'm still myself trying to figure out where I may lie within the, within the premise of this whole entire scheme too. So, um, uh, it's unfortunate that we're seeing this, but it's, it's a, it's a reality that we must face.

Speaker 2: (31:15)

I, like I said, I would like to see those who are bringing these new developments in these new things or these new resources and everything to actually come to the community. And let's do a, just a, a sit down and a overview of what's here. Why is this thing so important to us culturally? And what can we do to preserve what we have? And, you know, even the, the people that, where we priced out, let's see where we can try to do things to make certain things better. I, I don't have the, the, the, the answers to everything, but I know just, uh, it's, it's free to be fair. And unfortunately we don't have people out there trying to be fair with this process in mind,

Speaker 1: (31:53)

Still ahead, the conclusion of the K PBS community forum on gentrification in San Diego, you're listening to K P B S midday edition. I Jade Henman in the final part of the K PBS community forum on gentrification host. Christina Kim asks her panelist, Isaac Martin, Julie koalas, and TA Baraka to identify solutions for communities at grips. With gentrification. We start with TA

Speaker 2: (32:21)

I think pretty much the only solution for that is, like I said, we have to go head to head with the people that are bringing these investments in to PO to possibly grow this area. We need to sit down at the table and make sure that everybody is accounted for at that table, uh, through conversation through, by any means actually. And, um, uh, like I said, unfortunately, past history shows that those types of things never happened through the gentrification process, which always push people out. So where do we stand? Do we have a place, but the society to where we can stand a little, little stronger than we've had in the past, looking at current past history, uh, of the, of the displacement, especially of our elders right now, mm-hmm . So I I'm, you know, I, I, I, I don't know if there's a true solution for this at all, except for discussing, because money is power. Power is money, unfortunately, and its society. And when the, and when people come in with that type of money, resources, and power, uh, a lot of them don't want to hear from what they, they may consider us as peasants. They don't want to hear from the past culture or the people that has preserved the culture over here. They're just trying to see change in the bottom line is the dollar bill. So I don't, I don't know where to go we're with

Speaker 5: (33:40)

That. Isaac, can you weigh in here a little bit in terms of not of, not of solutions, but just of just gentrification, always lead to displacement, are those two things, so interwoven, or are there ways that, and examples that other cities have somehow combated that allowed for investment that doesn't allow for, or cultural loss

Speaker 6: (34:01)

Gentrification certainly doesn't need to, uh, cause, uh, displacement directly. And I think that it's useful here to think about a couple different, um, ways that displacement happens. So one we've been talking about eviction, um, and California has moved in the direction of better protections for renters. Um, so, uh, the, the state just cause eviction law step in the right direction, more protections for, for, for renters will kind of help mitigate the risk of people actually getting kicked out to make way for, for, um, you know, people who can afford more. But there's another more subtle process that happens, which is people, people move for all kinds of reasons at, in, in their lives, right. And part of whats gentrification can do is make it when you move, make it so that you can't find another foothold in the same neighborhood. So you're not moving because the Gentry moved in, you're moving because your family's growing or you're going to school, or you lost your job and you can't afford the rent in your current place.

Speaker 6: (34:55)

Um, but, uh, but when you move the next place you find isn't gonna be as close to home as it would've been, um, because the places close to home, uh, are no longer affordable to you. Um, that's harder to fight. And the, the key things there, I, I want to highlight a couple things that, um, I think are important. One is so much of this is about, uh, people's incomes and just, um, raising the floor in incomes and making it so that people can afford to can afford, uh, better, more options in the housing market, um, is absolutely absolutely critical. Um, a big part of this placement happens when people lose a job. For example, a second thing is, uh, I just, it seems to me that a part of the solution, and this is, this is gonna sounds perhaps strange or counterintuitive. Um, but we have to build more housing for the Gentry in already gentrified places.

Speaker 6: (35:53)

Um, and, and, uh, and, uh, part of what happens is people spill out of those places cuz they can't afford them anymore, but they can afford much more than the people in the neighborhoods they're moving into. Um, and I think if we wanna prevent that kind of, uh, cereal, that ripple effect displacement, part of the solution to gentrification and body Logan is gonna have to happen outside of body. Logan. Part of the solution to gentrification in the east is gonna have to happen outside in Canto. It's gonna have to happen in, in places far away where, where in higher income places to keep higher income people there , uh, uh, so that they don't come flooding into to places where though this place others,

Speaker 5: (36:32)

I'm gonna, I'm gonna jump to Julie, but there is one question I wanna put out there is like, how do you achieve without then embedding segregation and not having mixed income communities?

Speaker 6: (36:43)

I uh, think that the key thing here is not to keep people out of neighborhoods or force people to live in neighborhoods. They don't want to be in. It's true that gentrification sometimes can have the effect of integrating a neighborhood that's gentrifying and, and then it segregates again as the, the low or income people of color get forced out. So I think a, you know, a solution for stability would give everyone more options rather than this kind of ripple effect that we have.

Speaker 5: (37:06)

So Julie's been instrumental in actually driving forth the BI Logan community plan, which past city council just yesterday and is the first community plan in San Diego to actually have measures that are anti-displacement to address the gentrification. So Julie you're in it, you are working this. So what are some policies or solutions that you are seeing that are really focused on antis displacement from within Maria, Logan, from within the area that is gentrifying. Thanks

Speaker 3: (37:33)

So much, Christina, for bringing that up because you know, I feel you TA like people say that all the of time and it's heartbreaking. It's hopeless. There's nothing we can do. And there is, you know, people don't like to hear this, but, but gentrification is policy created it's policy that redlined it's policy that divested, you know, I think it's like 5% of all Diffy since the 1980s have come south of the eight. I mean, it's ridiculous. Like we're not getting any infrastructure investments. This is all policy policy can fix it. It's just so like, this knowledge is so is Soter. And it's like so far away from people and it's like, that's, that's why I love environmental health coalition because we work to like bring it to the community, like, come on, y'all, let's sit around, like, like to said, let's sit around the table and let's talk about solutions and not in some crazy technical way.

Speaker 3: (38:16)

Like let's like nuts and bolts. Like let's, let's make this successful. And they're all policies that can do that in the Bario Logan plan. For example, um, we increased the, um, we worked really hard. We wanted more, but, um, we were able to increase the required, uh, amount of affordable units that a developer has to build a new development from. So citywide it's 10%. And right now we're not even there quite yet. Cuz there there's some tiering going on, but citywide policy, 10% of new units have to be affordable units in bio Logan it'll now have to be 15% and there was also some great anti displacement policies put in there where like if someone has to move because of new development, they get some very robust financial, um, help to find a place and landlords, uh, and developers are required to help them find it.

Speaker 3: (39:01)

You can't say here's the money and get out. You have to help them find homes. You cannot begin construction until they're relocated. It also gives right a first refusal to the people that were displaced to move back to the affordable units. And it reserves 75% of all affordable units for folks that live in the community. So these are the kind of like innovative type of things. That'll help folks stay. But I totally, I, I, 100% agree with what Isaac is saying. You have to have, you know, that, that those different levels of affordability, even in Barrio because those young professionals that are coming back, right, those Chicanos that wanna be in Barrio, but you know, they have a great degree and they're, they, you know, they have a great job, but they be among where are they gonna live? Are they gonna take, you know, the single moms, you know, naturally occurring, affordable housing?

Speaker 3: (39:41)

No let's build for them too. Um, just make sure that, because as you build market rate, the comparable rates, uh, rents around it are gonna rise because, and I'm just gonna drop y'all some knowledge right now, if you're listening, pay attention to the rent gap, right? Like the rent gap. So what if, uh, if, uh, if my, my house where I live right now, two bedroom, right? I'm paying 2000, but if somebody builds a new two bed, three bedroom, right next door to me and they're rent that out for 4,000, that's a $2,000 rent gap. And so developers are gonna be like, oh, I can get like, look at that. That's like, that's all, you know, I can come up. That's so the higher, the rent gap, the more, um, the more enticing it is for folks to come in and take over the naturally occurring, affordable housing, you know, the little, the little houses where I live at, right where we live at and make them make them new because they can, they can, you know, close that gap, right?

Speaker 3: (40:28)

Control has been proven effective and people go rent control, doesn't solve the housing crisis. It's not meant to, right. We're passing all these laws to encourage building, which is right. We need that. But rent control is not meant to stop the housing crisis. It's meant to stop displacement and for what it's supposed to do, it's very successful. We need rent control and we need it at 2%, right? We need low rent control. Not the what's in right now with AP 1482, it can be up to 10% every year. You know, if you're, if you're, if you're paying a thousand dollars, that's $300 in three years, that's still displacement rates. So we need better rent, control and policies to allow people to build. And then you, you bounce that out, right? You, you build housing for people that are coming in for all the different kinds of Gentry and you're building affordable for folks to stay.

Speaker 3: (41:15)

If they wanna stay, you're helping them stay. Um, so those policies are important. What we don't have in the plan is policies against house flipping. Cuz we see this in, in the, in the Bodis and in the hoods, this is how they do it. They come in and they close that rep gap, right? They kick you out of your apartment, they renovate it real pretty. And then you see it on Craig's list for like five, $600 more than you were paying. Right. Um, that is a business model and you know, it's, it's completely legal, but should it be right? There's there's and San Francisco and Oakland. And even in LA, there are laws that, that prohibit that where say, if you're gonna, if you're gonna renovate this house as responsible landlord, you have to show that the repairs are needed and you have to house the person that the people that are living there while you make those repairs, and then you gotta let 'em back. No,

Speaker 5: (42:02)

Julie, that was really helpful. And I, and I think you're really outlining two points of view, right? Like we often focus on home owners and home ownership, but I think what you're really bringing to the table is when thinking about displacement, we have to think renters and how many of our different community members are actually renters. I do wanna bring in some of our community comments, one, it's definitely resonating with folks. You know, we've got Tim who says we need home ownership opportunities at all levels, $800,000 for a median price is insane. Um, but we also have some questions. So we got someone from YouTube saying realistically, could communities take steps to encourage home sellers to consider more than just the highest bidder when it comes to deciding who to sell to,

Speaker 6: (42:44)

Uh, I'm I'd frankly, be worried about a policy like that, to the extent that it opens the door for, uh, sellers to, for example, um, discriminate based on race, uh, which is the ugly hit history of American housing markets. I think we need really robust civil rights enforcement. Um, and, uh, and um, so figuring out how to thread that needle would be, would be tough. I do think, um, uh, a policy that could be very much part of a solution is something called a community land trust where, uh, when people, um, creates opportunities for people to purchase a home, um, with a long term lease. Uh, but the land itself is held in a, not for profit, uh, uh, um, organization that's accountable to a community board. And that holds the land in perpetuity so that when that person leaves, they don't then go and flip the house and sell it to the highest bid or from outside the community that they, that they, um, there is some constraint on the, on the prices they, they sell at. And, uh, and something like a community land trust could be effective. I I'd, I'd be interested in, in, in seeing more of that. Uh, it's a challenging thing to do, but, um, but there's a lot of sort of models of it. So

Speaker 5: (43:55)

I wanna also bring in another question that hearkens back to something we were speaking to earlier, Darlene Newcomb says, how do we F so she's really asking something based on maybe moving into a gentrifying area from a place where she's not part of that community. And she says, how do we foster and encourage being part of the fabric of a culture of a neighborhood? So what are ways that we can foster that kind of dialogue, even if it is an uncomfortable conversation, how do people engage with that?

Speaker 2: (44:22)

I, I would say, you know, come to find out what organizations are doing, what in the community, see exactly where she fits in at and, uh, and try her best foot at that shoe. And, uh, hopefully she can, you know, she can be able to, uh, you know, foster what's actually going on over here. Uh, we, we, we, we, we not, we're not telling everybody that we don't want you over here, but we all, but, but, but when you do come and if you do come, you have to be part of this fabric. You have to be part of the culture. You have to get involved with what's going on in the community, whether it's the little sports leagues, whether it's, uh, these things that we're talking about here with the gentrification and or all the stuff with the schools too. So, um, just think about truly, uh, what do you want to where, where you want be when you do move in these communities, where do you wanna stand and how do you want people to perceive you when you do come over here? Cause we would like you to be part of this culture and community. If you do come,

Speaker 1: (45:28)

Thanks for joining this special midday edition B past of the K PBS community forum fighting erasure, a community conversation on gentrification and displacement in San Diego. The discussion was moderated by K PBS race and equity reporter. Christina Kim panelists include Isaac Martin, a professor of urban studies and planning at UC San Diego, Julie Carras, a a policy advocate for the environmental health coalition and to Baracka an activist and the owner of Imperial barbershop in San Diego's and Canto neighborhood. The show was produced by Harrison Patino for additional resources, visit

Speaker 8: (46:12)


Gentrification is one of the major issues facing urban cities in the 21st century, and San Diego is no different. KPBS's Racial Justice and Social Equity Reporter Cristina Kim moderated a KPBS panel Wednesday on gentrification and how this process is unfolding in San Diego.