Naomi S.
I was born and raised in San Francisco. I grew up in the outer Sunset; then Noe Valley, and attended public school all the way through: New Traditions, Presidio, School of the Arts. My parents are visual artists, and I feel blessed to have grown up surrounded by art, culture, loving family and friends and such diversity - of experiences, cultures, languages, ethnicities. All this made me who I am today. After I went away to college in '92 I started noticing changes. I'd come home during break and the former neighborhood bar was now a gym; the corner store a nail salon. Noe Valley was moving from working- to upper-middle class. In 2000 I moved to Oakland because I could no longer afford SF. I've been on this side of the Bay since. I love it here. I'm in Berkeley now with a family. Berkeley now reminds reminds me of the SF I grew up in. But I am seeing the same thing start to happen here. Change is the only constant in life, I get that. But it saddens me that this area has become so unaffordable for the average working family. Three-quarters of a million dollars for a two bedroom bungalow is not the American dream. My folks were able to raise a family of four in San Francisco on part-time art teachers' salaries. That would not be possible today. Unless we look seriously at inclusive solutions, I fear that income inequality and lack of affordable housing will decimate the very things that give the Bay Area its character: art, diversity (race, class, ethnicity) and culture.