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South Berkeley is not ruled by yuppies

R. Walker, South Berkeley Resident *All quotations L. Dawud Said
Tuesday January 22, 2002



L. Dawud Said (”Brothers Liquor closure is a sign of the ‘yuppies rule’ time,” in Forum, 1/19/02) writes that “Berkeley is being invaded by Yuppies.” 

If Said truly paid attention to what’s going on she’d see there’s been an exodus of such professionals since the dot-bomb. What’s left in their wake is a skeleton crew of families and working class people, like the neighbors of Brothers Liquor, who have lived here for decades.  

My South Berkeley neighborhood is rich only in diversity. We have few trees and the air is heavy with car exhaust. Neighbors have various-paying jobs; many are retired, unemployed and disabled. My family doesn’t belong to PAIN (“PALE,” as Said calls it), but we are grateful the city realizes the increased burden Brothers has placed on us.  

The motivating factor to close Brothers is this: Most residents, regardless of skin color, don’t want a neighborhood where selling drugs, prostitution and murder is the norm. Those from the “gentrification terrorist cells” don’t want our kids to be offered pornography or crack cocaine when they go to a cornerstore for candy. Many of the people who feel this way, who Said describes as “well-heeled immigrants’ infiltrating the neighborhood,” are third-generation families who have been battling Brothers for years.  

People who live in close vicinity of Brothers (unlike Said who lives blocks away), citizens who s/he calls “self-interest groups,” are woken at night by screaming people and screeching tires all related to sales of drugs and sex. Gunfire is not unusual. 

Like many of Said’s “Hatemongering Yuppies” on my block, prior to the crackdown on Brothers I had a special morning ritual that befit my posh lifestyle: Before I walked my child to Malcolm X, I’d go in the yard and pick up used condoms, syringes, human feces, broken liquor bottles, and beer cans in brown bags. Is it my hosing of a drunk’s vomit off the sidewalk that Said calls a “modus operandi a form of racial cleansing to make room for more white people?” 

Said writes that “the Berkeley Police Department was used or manipulated “to justify the newcomers nefarious paranoia.” My neighbor said the last time she was in Brothers the cashier asked her to sign a petition protesting the illegal activities occurring on the store premises. This petition was in truth presented to the Berkeley City Council as a list of Brothers’ supporters. Said defends a business that operates “by whatever means (influencing or manipulating by deception).” 



R. Walker, 

South Berkeley Resident 

*All quotations L. Dawud Said