Like her claim that screwing up Masonic Avenue to make bike lanes is about safety, Supervisor Breed's complaint about the shrinking black population in the city only shows her limitations. On Masonic Avenue, all she had to do to was read the city's study on the street to know her statement was wrong. On the city's black population, she didn't have to read anything. She---or one of her overpaid assistants---only had to do a little thinking.
Is the city's black population declining because of anti-black racism? Breed isn't claiming that because obviously the cause is economic: many black people can no longer afford to live here. But wait: isn't that true of every other ethnic category? The Examiner story cites some income numbers:
The [Budget and Finance]committee also discussed data suggesting that the median income of black households in San Francisco is $30,840, whereas it exceeds $50,000 for all other racial groups.
But apparently no one is keeping score on the number of white, Hispanic, Asian or people from other groups that have left the city because they can no longer afford it. I bet those numbers are just as dramatic as those on black people. In other words, it's a class issue, not a racial issue at all. Poor people and working people of all ethnic groups are increasingly finding San Francisco too expensive and are leaving.
Comparing percentages of ethnic groups in the city is beside the point:
The population of all other races increased during that same time frame. San Francisco's Asian population grew by 58,497, to 266,398, and the Latino population increased by 27,367 residents, to 121,744.
But how many Asian and Latino people have left the city because they can't afford it? It's not credible that that doesn't happen. It's just as likely that, as gentrification accelerates, the current population of Asians simply replaced the previous members of their group that couldn't afford to live here anymore.
Like her claim about Masonic Avenue, this is an intellectual failure. On other issues---like Masonic Avenue and the Fell/Oak bike lanes---Breed simply follows the conventional wisdom in City Hall, which means she gets things wrong because City Hall often gets things wrong.
When she strikes out on her own, like on the black population issue, she gets it wrong on her own.
Labels: District 5, London Breed, Masonic Avenue