There is an update to an earlier post in this space, “The capitalist god is still getting its human sacrifice.”
There is a new blog post entitled, “How many times must it be explained that the Civil War was about the preservation of slavery?” I mean, seriously, this is getting tiresome.
Marc Fisher, “Confederate statues: In 2020, a renewed battle in America’s enduring Civil War,” Washington Post, June 11, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2020/06/11/confederate-statues-attacked-protesters-george-floyd/
San Jose Mercury News, “CPUC rules Uber, Lyft drivers are company employees,” Sacramento Bee, June 11, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/business/article243464631.html
Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto has truly been a jackass on Twitter, uttering disgraceful banalities in response to the protests that have sprung up in response to the police murder of George Floyd and I and others have been reaming his ass about the grievances Blacks have in Pittsburgh. (I quoted one of these tweets and part of my response to it in a since updated blog post.)
In a way, it’s understandable. You grow up with a situation, pretty much as I did in the San Francisco Bay Area, and you don’t question it. It simply is, like the fog creeping over Twin Peaks or the rustle of a breeze in the eucalyptus leaves. Certainly I saw poorer neighborhoods there. But coming here, what I’ve seen is generally worse—the worst of the housing projects have now mostly been torn down around San Francisco but are plentiful around Pittsburgh.
I can think of only one comparable situation to the neighborhoods I see here today and I can remember it from my childhood: As I recall, it was mostly along Post and Sutter Streets, between about Lyon and Steiner Streets, where all the houses had been boarded up and stencil-painted with warnings that they had been condemned for rodent infestations. That housing was never torn down but has since all been gentrified (I’m guessing about thirty years ago, forty at the most) in merely one example of what makes me doubt the claim that Pittsburgh is more heavily gentrified than San Francisco.
You’re entitled to critique the comparison: Here what I see is often lots of abandoned homes mixed with houses still being occupied, often not looking much better. This is neglect and disinvestment. What I saw in the Western Addition in San Francisco, I still don’t understand, and always thought stunk to high heaven: How could it have been that all those houses had rat infestations, while houses a couple blocks away, even on Bush Street, certainly on Pine, remained safe for occupancy? (As you proceed in this direction, you get closer to Pacific Heights, a very wealthy neighborhood.)
Peduto hasn’t replied directly to my tweets. But he did release a statement yesterday that, if words translate to action, seems to be a beginning. We’ll see.
Teghan Simonton, “Peduto gives statement on George Floyd and Black Lives Matter movement,” Tribune-Review, June 11, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/peduto-gives-statement-on-george-floyd-and-black-lives-matter-movement/
- David Benfell, “The reason the status quo is not the answer is that the status quo cannot be the answer,” Not Housebroken, June 4, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/06/01/the-reason-the-status-quo-is-not-the-answer-is-that-the-status-quo-cannot-be-the-answer/↩
- Ryan Deto, “Pittsburgh is one of the most gentrified cities in the U.S.,” Pittsburgh City Paper, April 4, 2019, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/pittsburgh-is-one-of-the-most-gentrified-cities-in-the-us/Content?oid=14381722↩
- Teghan Simonton, “Peduto gives statement on George Floyd and Black Lives Matter movement,” Tribune-Review, June 11, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/peduto-gives-statement-on-george-floyd-and-black-lives-matter-movement/↩