March 28, 2007

I like the grit of Oakland a lot. It reminds me of my hometown Detroit quite a bit. In fact there are a good many apt comparisons that could be made: industrial centers with a dying core, a string of mayors who focus on downtown development rather than neighborhoods, inept public education, etc. . . .

But Oakland swaggers the underlying anger and desperation a little bit differently.

Maybe it's this subtle difference that convinces politicians that Oakland could be a "model city." Sure, Oakland is a political proving ground, but Oakland has born the brunt of far too many social experiments aiming to change the way we think about blighted cities. While well meaning, the results have often fallen so far flat as to illicit parody.


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