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Funktown, which is near Lake Merritt, is rapidly being gentrified. You can still find “Funktown” scribbled on sidewalks here and there when the concrete was fresh. But economic cleansing has taken its toll on the hood. It’s just not the same any more. As the renters of Oakland are being terrorized by skyrocketing rents and greedy landlords evicting them by the thousands, city officials have mostly turned a blind eye to the economic cleansing taking place on their watch.
Under the block-long "Welcome 2 AfrikaTown" mural painted last year on the Qilombo community center, 2313 San Pablo at West Grant, a dozen garden beds are now bursting with food and people are always there. On March 26, a bulldozer and cops arrived to destroy the garden, but supporters blocked them. On April 3, AfrikaTown won a reprieve to negotiate purchase of the land.
On July 29, the Oakland City Council surprised observers by postponing a final vote on the West Oakland Specific Plan (WOSP) without setting a new date. WOSP is a massive redevelopment scheme spearheaded by some wealthy investors planning to gentrify the old Oakland Army Base and major portions of West Oakland that are cynically being called Opportunity Sites, and at first reading on July 15, the City Council voted 7-0 to approve it, with only Desley Brooks abstaining.