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Brothers Liquor closure is a sign of the ‘yuppie-rule’ times

L. Dawud Said Berkeley
Saturday January 19, 2002


I am contemporaneously classified as an African American. The above address (taken out in concern for the writer’s privacy) is my family’s home house, where we have resided since 1958 – four years after the passage of the Byron Rumford Fair Housing Act.  

Our home is located within a two and one-half block radius of Brother’s Liquor Store. Incidentally, there was a time when we were not allowed to live east of Shattuck Avenue.  

I attended elementary school at C. Village, which is now a part of the Cal student housing complex in Albany, when it was a reservation for people of color and poor whites. I attended Burbank Junior High, Berkeley High, and have a degree from Cal. All that is to say that I am a conscious, long-time Berkeley resident. 

I will come straight to the point. Over the years, I have seen the complexion of this community change, but, nothing like what is happening now.  

It appears that the City of Berkeley, which was essentially founded by the University of California, is being invaded by Yuppies who are economic refugees seeking relief and/or by those seeking refuge from the violence in San Francisco, i.e., the Yuppie Eradication Program in the Mission.  

I have been witnessing what now seems to be a wave of hatemongering Yuppies (Xenophobes) infiltrating the neighborhood and now the neighborhood is in turmoil. These hordes of well-heeled immigrants are gentrifying the neighborhood, forming what looks like little gentrification terrorist cells (community groups like PALE or PAIN or whatever they call themselves, it means the same thing). The modus operandi is reminiscent of those of the infamous White Citizens Councils, the systematic removal of people from their homes and businesses. In fact, in San Francisco, some say that the gentrification process is essentially a form of racial cleansing to make room for more white people. We do know what happened to the Native Americans. 

I only mention the above because I have seen the maladies of Yuppie Cancer and hope and pray that this is not what is happening. The unfounded and unproved allegations lodged against Brother’s Liquor Store will not stand up in High Court.  

What I witnessed at one of the Public Hearings, held in the Old City Hall, was nothing less that a travesty of the law and governing body of the City. The Berkeley Police Department was used or manipulated to set up sting operations to use sting statistics to justify the newcomer’s nefarious paranoia. These tactics are not new in the waging of gentrification wars. The new immigrants even used their little children, making them carry pickets up and down the aisle at the beginning of the meeting. 

As you are well aware, Berkeley is known for its multicultural ethnicity, if you will. I would not like to see us regress to the pre-Byron Rumford Fair Housing issues, or not to have the right to engage in legitimate business where you will, because of the so-called wages of white skin. The issue at hand just may be greater than the Brother’s Liquor Store issue. If the City of Berkeley, in all of its wisdom, allows itself to be used by self-interest groups to close legitimate business or to do whatever, by what ever means (influencing or manipulating by deception, BPD or City Council), we might as well fly the Stars and Bars. 

For the Record, my interest is in the re-establishment of peace and harmony in my community. There must be an amicable meeting of the minds of all the residents for the benefit of all. If the resolution of the issues surrounding Brother’s Liquor Store are not forthcoming, indeed, if they are at an impasse, then, we may need to take all issues to a higher level of adjudication. 


L. Dawud Said 



cc: Chief "Dash" Butler 

Mr. Weldon Rucker, City Manager