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Black population drops to 3.9% in San Francisco

February 4, 2011

Join the discussion on ‘The State of Black San Francisco’ – screening of ‘Straight Outta Hunters Point’ and panel discussions – at Bayview Opera House, 4705 Third St., SF, Sunday, Feb. 13, 2-5 p.m., child care provided

by Macio Lyons

Members of the Osiris Coalition celebrate at City Hall after the historic passage of the Construction Local Hiring ordinance – from left, Carl Augustine, Macio Lyons, Ed Donaldson, Greg Doxey and Omar Khalif. Good jobs are essential to stop the hemorrhaging of Blacks from San Francisco.
Well, folks, I just heard another disturbing percentage as it pertains to Black people in the city of San Francisco the other day. Preliminary numbers are in from the 2010 Census.

Estimates put the remaining African American population for the city of San Francisco at around 3.9 percent! I hope that is just a low-ball estimate and those numbers will be revised upward, but still, my question is how did we get to this point?

Why are we leaving this city in such droves? Why isn’t City Hall doing more to stop the mass exodus of African Americans from this city? There was “The African American Out-Migration Report” commissioned in 2009 by Mayor Gavin Newsom’s office and the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, but there has been little in the way of policies by either of the two to stem the tide. If this was taking place with any other ethnic group, a citywide state of emergency would have been declared.

When I heard those numbers, I immediately put up a post on Facebook declaring my frustration. From there a great conversation started. Many people began to weigh in on what the problems were and what some of the solutions could be.

Mr. Kip Fuller, a Western Addition resident who owns an insurance business that offers State Farm Insurance, touted the importance of Blacks patronizing Black-owned businesses. He pointed to the Chinese community and their successful model and how as a group they have grown and thrived in this city.

He also made the assertion that many Black professionals sold their homes in San Francisco and relocated to places like Antioch, where they thought they were getting more house for their money. This is also true, but I think it is a lot more complex than just that.

While many Black homeowners made the move to other cities willingly, they weren’t the majority of our population. Historically, a very large percentage of our numbers have been based in public housing. As it stands now, about 50 percent of those who remain live in public housing.

The Osiris Coalition and allies hold a press conference at Third Street and Oakdale to launch the Student First initiative, which will be on the November ballot. Among the crowd are Malia Cohen, Calvin Louie, Teresa Duque, Omar Khalif, Greg Doxey, Ed Donaldson, Macio Lyons and Geoffrea Simpson-Morris.
Seeing that the housing projects in San Francisco are going the way of the dinosaur, what does that mean for our people who live there? The powers that be have had a long standing practice of systematic gentrification – i.e., dismantling public housing and only allowing a small number to return once the new units are built.

One of the tactics was making the re-entry requirements too stringent for them to return. Another practice of the City and the Housing Authority was to dangle the Section 8 carrot in front of people. Who could resist the opportunity to move to the suburbs and live in a 2,000 square foot house for $150 a month? There’s only a limited amount of affordable housing in San Francisco, and 80 percent of landlords don’t want anything to do with Section 8. Thus we have flight to places like Antioch, Pittsburg, Vallejo, Fairfield, Stockton etc.

While many Black homeowners made the move to other cities willingly, they weren’t the majority of our population.

Another tactic that is now being employed is gang injunctions. This in many cases breaks up families, and if the tenants are found to be in violation of the injunction, they themselves will be evicted.

There have also been many complaints of frivolous eviction policies by the SFHA for some of the most trivial reasons. Right now there is a very important piece of legislation about to come to a vote before the Board of Supervisors that will address this disturbing practice. The proposed bill is known as “The Right to Remain” and was shaped in large part by Osiris Coalition members and sponsored by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi. This law will add many protections for the current residents and ensure their return as long as they left in “good standing,” and we are still working to make sure that bar isn’t set prohibitively high for most current tenants.

The Osiris Coalition – Omar Khalif, Ed Donaldson, Macio Lyons and Greg Doxey – meets with the Allen Group to discuss private workforce opportunities for the community.
According to some other disturbing numbers, we have close to 1,800 people returning from prison to Bayview Hunters Point every year. Where are they going to live? In many cases they can’t return to public housing because there are certain restrictions against people with felonies living in HUD-subsidized housing.

Some are also under these gang injunctions. Many of their relatives run the risk and have been evicted for allowing former prisoners to stay with them.

It is understandable that authorities want to stop the violence, but to ban someone from one area without addressing their issues only makes them someone else’s problem where they land. Look at the rising crime and murder rates for the suburban Bay Area cities that have received many of our former residents because of gentrification and recolonization.

Of these 1,800 or so parolees, 71 percent – 1,278 – will return to prison within a year of being released! This is due to the lack of economic opportunities. And that is one of the reasons the new Construction Local Hiring legislation is so important.

It will be imperative that we stay on top of City Hall and insist that the community remains a part of the equation in seeing that the new law is implemented fairly and correctly. Our community-based organizations need to step up to the plate in linking this population with services and job readiness training or they WILL re-offend!

BVHP gets around $110 million a year in funding for community-based organizations (CBOs), but, I ask, what is the impact? There is also a need to make sure that the community benefits agreement between the Alliance for District 10 and Lennar (AD-10 Lennar CBA) money earmarked for job training, affordable housing, and other community benefits is not squandered on misguided ventures like land trusts – look at the failure of Oakland’s land trust experiment! – or put in the hands of the usual suspects with no measurable accountability or outcomes.

With all of this talk about Gov. Brown dissolving the Redevelopment Agency in its current form, I think there is a great opportunity for the City of San Francisco to re-create the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency into an entity that is geared towards creating the benefits it was supposed to bring to the residents of the project areas it targets.

The Osiris Coalition and allies turn in the signatures at City Hall for placing the Students First for Quality Neighborhood Schools initiative on the November ballot.
Isn’t that what a redevelopment agency is supposed to do: Revitalize and rebuild the project area to stimulate economic activity and create workforce and business opportunities for those in the project area? Is that what we saw in the Fillmore? Yes, but for who? Was it for the benefit of those who lived there, or was it a land grab while the Black population was scattered to the four winds?

Bayview Hunters Point is the largest redevelopment area in San Francisco, and if the SFRA was revamped and put under City jurisdiction and was accountable to us, then all of the redevelopment going on in this area would fall under the 50 percent Construction Local Hiring Law. One of the biggest misconceptions is that the 50 percent mandate covers everything that is going on over here, but the fact is it doesn’t!

The redevelopment projects are exempt from the 50 percent mandate. While the SFRA does have a 50 percent Local Hire goal, it is based on “good faith.” Well, we see how that “good faith” is working out for us, right? I think that a locally accountable and controlled redevelopment agency is definitely worth exploring.

The lack of public safety is another great concern. Who wants to spend $450,000 on a house then have to worry about someone doing an armed home invasion or catching a stray bullet? The police’s response to the crime problem has been cookie-cutter and does nothing in the way of preventive solutions. Their answer has been to “lock ‘em up.” They come in to pick up the bodies after it’s over.

There is a strong belief in some circles that the rampant violence and lawlessness that went on during the mid ‘80s up until recently was allowed to continue unchecked by the “powers that be” so that we would remove OURSELVES from this city. Many of our population fled San Francisco to escape the violence and heartache of the loss of loved ones to street violence.

The last item that I want to mention, which probably should have been mentioned first, since this is what it all begins with, is education, or should I say the lack of quality public education in this city. Bayview Hunters Point has some of the worst performing schools in the City. This is due in large part to lack of proper funding. So what has the SFUSD’s response been? Bus our young residents all over the City to so-called “better” schools. This policy creates a number of problems:

Macio Lyons of the Osiris Coalition and the Southeast Community Development Corp., far right, Joshua Arce of the Brightline Defense Project, left, and Vincent Pan and another representative from Chinese for Affirmative Action hold a press conference at CAA headquarters for the unveiling of the telling report, “The Failure of Good Faith,” which made the case for local hire.
1. People from other parts of the city don’t want our kids coming into their neighborhoods and schools, so this creates an environment of mistrust and suspicion. The moment our kids do anything wrong, they are dealt with very heavy-handedly, and in many cases are criminalized.

2. If a child’s school is all the way on the other side of town, it creates a hardship for low-income parents to go up to the school and be hands-on in their child’s education. It is also very difficult for concerned parents to stay engaged and, if need be, hold their child’s teachers and school administrators accountable. The SFUSD’s school assignment system is one of the most confusing in the country to navigate.

3. While schools are to some extent tied to the property tax rolls, the money follows the children! So wherever that child goes to school, the money allocated for their education will go with them. This means that the money is following our children out of our neighborhood schools, where it is desperately needed. And it leads back to a very important question: Why can’t every neighborhood have their own quality neighborhood schools? Schools in close proximity to students’ homes will foster more parental involvement and reduce excessive absences and truancy. It may even reduce some of the gang violence and “set trippin’” over time, because these kids will be around each other. It’s a lot easier for them to hurt someone they don’t know, even if he only lives around the corner. Once upon a time they would’ve gone to the same school, but that’s not necessarily true anymore with the current school assignment procedures in place.

Osiris Coalition members were instrumental in helping to get the “Students First for Quality Neighborhood Schools” initiative introduced and on the ballot for this coming November. This bill, if passed, will give back to San Francisco parents more control in school choice for their children and put quality schools back in their own neighborhood. This is imperative for Bayview Hunters Point children, because they are suffering the most. Just look at our dismal truancy, special education and high school graduation rates.

There are so many variables to the problems we are facing in this city. We have to come together and find solutions to these problems because only WE can save ourselves! We need to focus on identifying all of the variables in order to counter them to preserve the remaining population, and create a situation that will make it attractive enough for many of those who left to return. Our mission is to push a political agenda that will benefit African Americans in this city.

Get involved

On Sunday, Feb. 13, 2-5 p.m. at the Bayview Opera House, 4705 Third St., San Francisco, the Osiris Coalition will be hosting “The State of Black San Francisco 2011.” This is an annual event that we started hosting about three years ago that explores some of the pressing issues affecting our remaining population. We will feature noted moderators and keynote speakers and there will be two discussion panels – one titled “Economic Equity in the New San Francisco” and the other called “Organizing for the Future.” You can log onto Facebook or Google Docs for more information. We hope to see you all there so we can pick up the discussion.

Macio Lyons is director of the SouthEast Community Development Corp., (415) 524-5861, southeastcdcorp@gmail.com, http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=134575429909950&ref=ts.

27 thoughts on “Black population drops to 3.9% in San Francisco

    1. Blax under fire

      Policelink.com is a law enforcement related website. Police related stories are posted on this site. members who are mostly cops can comment on the stories. They can also post in forums. Looking through this site finds the members making all kinds of racial and hateful comments.

      One example is the following thread entitled Gary Coleman's Casket… http://policelink.monster.com/topics/75251-gary-c….

      Reply
      1. Blax under fire

        policelink members also post racially pathetic comments about blacks in these comments about OJ Simpson. One member who is especially racist goes by the name of Robocop33. These are his comments
        http://policelink.monster.com/topics/80435-oj-sim

        OJ is a criminal and IMHO committed a double homicide. Why the jury decided to let him off is beyond me but that's the way it goes. I hope the OJ WAS beaten to within an inch of his life, it would serve him right. I also think OJ is a bigot. He will only date White females who are blond, go figure. Is this a slam against his own race? Why won't he consider a Black woman? There are some very beautiful Black women out there as well but he won't give them the time of day. That to me is a bigot. I think it could be his way of 'getting back at the white man' by 'taking his women'. Who knows what this idiot has in his warped mind. Bottom line is he is an a$$ and because of it is finally getting his just rewards by being sent to prison and getting his butt whipped up on. Doesn't matter what his skin colour is to me.

        Reply
        1. Blax under fire

          Tell policelink what you think about this racist crap…This site is a police social site. Send them an email at info@policelink.com.

          Send robocop33 a message and tell him what you think about hia racist comments

          Reply
          1. Blax under fire

            In the same forum discussion, a member called uncledennis1 makes these comments
            about OJ. Uncledennis1 even posts his photo in police uniform next to his comments.

            "If true he is paying the piper. Paying his dues. He is an attention hungry piece of shit. Scumbag."

            Again let's all tell policelink what we think.

  1. Seamus McDougle

    I see…
    SF expensive
    If 50% of a set live in public housing, then set (as whole) doesn't have lots of income for housing (most probably).
    Housing affected by behavior of prices where demand drives.
    Suggest most affective force in above-mentioned migration is econ/prop prices.
    (small fyi, I wish I could afford to live in SF too.)

    Reply
  2. John Mulligan

    I hope things work out, I really do. I hope that black communities become places where people have wealth and safety. I hope that kids get a great education. I hope that tourists come to SF just to go to those places. For that to happen, you have to make it happen. Don't think for a second that money from the government will do it. The city is bankrupt, so is the state. Hell, the federal government is broke. It's the Republican's fault, no argument there, but the money is gone all the same. Things are only going to get tighter, and as great as Obama is, he can't change that.

    Want to make a difference? Fix your house even though you don't own it. Save money to buy the house, don't buy a car, jewelry or nice shoes. Follow your kids to school. If the teacher calls you, believe the teacher, not your kid. Help the teacher, be at that school whenever you can. If you see a crime, call the police. Help the police whenever you can. Don't make excuses for the guy with the knife who just got shot by the cop. Be happy when someone gets arrested. Study math, not African studies. Find a job no matter how crappy, work that job no matter how crappy. Don't litter. Pay for what you want, don't steal. If you find yourself standing on a corner all day and all night, you're the problem. It's a question of discipline. Pride comes from understanding shame.

    Reply
  3. Kip Fuller

    Anyone who says its complicated is definitely right. There were entire neighborhoods of tenants who also lived in houses and apartments and left SF. Combine them with homeowners and you have a very large portion of Black San Franciscans who left SF by choice. It is debatable whether or not the choice was good. Many left rent controlled housing in SF only to have rents and gas prices increase beyond the cost of living they left behind. Homeowners who left the ghetto are finding the ghetto increasingly moving in next door as section 8 occupancy levels increase and their home values decrease. Vallejo, Antioch, Vacaville….its all the same.

    Don't take a loss in this economy. How would the loss of your income impact your loved ones? Do you have points on your record – are you paying too much for insurance? Join dozens of Osiris Coalition members and click the link below for a free insurance quote.

    Kip Fuller http://www.kipfullerinsurancesf.com

    Reply
  4. sfbayview

    In the past, I've deleted very few comments – usually just those that contained death threats. But that may change. Your comment was the height of white supremacy – extremely disrespectful. That's not the purpose of this website or our newspaper. The comments sections here are an opportunity for frank but respectful dialog on where we go from here. Your apparent hatred for Black people does not belong on this site. It must be eating you up inside. I hope you can figure out what you're afraid of. And I hope you can find redemption … and another website for your comments.

    Mary Ratcliff, editor
    SF Bay View

    Reply
  5. John Mulligan

    Dear Ms. Ratcliff,

    Nonsense. This was the second part of my posting, unfortunately I didn't save the first:

    "I hope things work out, I really do. I hope that black communities become places where people have wealth and safety. I hope that kids get a great education. I hope that tourists come to SF just to go to those places. For that to happen, you have to make it happen. Don't think for a second that money from the government will do it. The city is bankrupt, so is the state. Hell, the federal government is broke. It's the Republican's fault, no argument there, but the money is gone all the same. Things are only going to get tighter, and as great as Obama is, he can't change that.

    Want to make a difference? Fix your house even though you don't own it. Save money to buy the house, don't buy a car, jewelry or nice shoes. Follow your kids to school. If the teacher calls you, believe the teacher, not your kid. Help the teacher, be at that school whenever you can. If you see a crime, call the police. Help the police whenever you can. Don't make excuses for the guy with the knife who just got shot by the cop. Be happy when someone gets arrested. Study math, not African studies. Find a job no matter how crappy, work that job no matter how crappy. Don't litter. Pay for what you want, don't steal. If you find yourself standing on a corner all day and all night, you're the problem. It's a question of discipline. Pride comes from understanding shame."

    Nothing racist about that. The gist of the first part of my post was simple, why should taxpayers pay to keep black people in SF? Isn't that actual racism?

    Reply
  6. Joe Schiavo

    Next up is removing the other undesierable so this can be a peaceful upscale pleasant city for US, yeah you know who the us is :)

    Reply
  7. NoSugarCoating

    Oh I forgot… The intentional deindustrialization of the United States, and the shipping of jobs over seas or Mexico for slave labor is another factor.

    Reply
  8. NoSugarCoating

    (Re-post)

    The migration back to the south is partly do to the economic eviction (gentrification) and the ongoing plot to turn red states blue, being that Black folks are enslaved to socialism and the democratic party.

    The continued Southern migration of Blacks, who tend to vote Democratic, could have political implications as they flow into mostly Republican-leaning states. In 2008, Democrat Barack Obama was able to win in traditionally GOP-leaning states such as Virginia, North Carolina and Florida after a jump in black voter turnout.

    While much attention is currently given to Hispanic and Asian immigration to new parts of the South, the return migration of African-Americans seems to have flown under the radar. It’s a factor which should not go unnoticed by politicians and those creating new congressional districts in growing parts of the South.

    Reply
  9. NoSugarCoating

    The social engineers and economist are taking full advantage of our predilection towards Bolshevism and socialist dependence on the white controlled democratic party. The Black mass migration back to the south is partly do to the economic eviction (gentrification) and the ongoing plot to turn red states blue, being that Black folks are enslaved to white socialism and the white democratic party.

    The continued Southern migration of Blacks, who tend to vote Democratic, could have political implications as they flow into mostly Republican-leaning states. In 2008, Democrat Barack Obama was able to win in traditionally GOP-leaning states such as Virginia, North Carolina and Florida after a jump in black voter turnout. While much attention is currently given to Hispanic and Asian immigration to new parts of the South, the return migration of African-Americans seems to have flown under the radar. It’s a factor which should not go unnoticed by politicians and those creating new congressional districts in growing parts of the South.

    Reply
  10. Robin

    No, there is a lot higher than 3.9% of black people in the Bay Area. This is BS. There is an entire jungle downtown with mainly black people. There are communities like the Fillmore where there are predominantly African American populations. I don't know where these facts or figures came from but there are diverse neighborhoods like the Mission where many colors of skin live together and work together. Somebody needs to re-do this census. It can't be any lower than 20%. Every single place where I have been an employee includes at least a few black people (departmentally). Corporate office jobs give jobs to black people. There's something over-dramatic about this situation and I don't get it. Weird. Somebody needs to re-count heads.

    Reply
  11. robin

    maybe they do not count the people on the sidewalk or the homeless. There's got to be at least 20 – 25 % with "those" included. That's ridiculous. Maybe they're not counting mixed race black / other. I don't get it. That's just ridiculous.

    Reply
    1. oliver

      all over the world, their number are much higher, the statistics say 5 or 10 % when the reality is 20 %

      no one know what are their population, they migrate when they want to , the government backs them.

      in europe they are all over, and they now want to migrate to austalia and canada. every where the whites are , they wana go.

      Reply
  12. cgr

    This estimate is off (and what's the source?). As of 2010, SF was 7% black (about 57,000 residents) according to the US census. SF's black population is shrinking and has been since the 70s when the black population was around 100,000, but there's no way it was cut in half in just one year.

    Reply
  13. barker's

    "Bayview Hunters Point has some of the worst performing schools in the City. This is due in large part to lack of proper funding."

    This is the only point I disagree with. There is a misappropriation of funding, but not a "lack of proper funding". There is plenty. It just needs to be spent on the resources that are not wasteful…It needs streamlined to the resources that directly affect students…..computers, NEW textbooks, vocational programs etc…..not construction, destroying perfectly good buildings to rebuild new ones or overpaying all the wrong people, filtering the cash through a huge bureaucracy.

    Reply

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